Gerald Langiri
March 15 / 2016

If the previous 2 award ceremonies are anything to go by, I wasn’t looking forward to the third Riverwood Academy award that took place on the 12th of March 2016. I really wasn’t and this is despite the fact that I was a 1st time nominee. Synonymous with its name, Riverwood has for a very long time painted its image as the place where “mashinani” film makers do their business. Low budget films, low budget tv series and to cap it all, crappy movies a majority of the “Hollywood brainwashed” Kenyan citizens would not enjoy watching.

The Riverwood Organizers and Team

I however have to bite my tongue moving forward from now on as to what Riverwood and more so, the Riverwood Ensemble and its award ceremony now stands for.  If you are looking for growth, one cannot look further than the story of how Riverwood has come of age.  Not even a “Hollywood brainwashed” Kenyan can deny giving credit where its due and a big round of applause to the organizers of the third Riverwood academy award. Not winning in my category notwithstanding, I felt like a winner by just being part of a very auspicious and prosperous event.

So what was different this time round? For starters, the change of venue from the open garden of Alliance Francaise to the private VIP feel of the Kenya National Museum Louise Leakey auditorium, gave the awards an “Oscar like” feel to it with every person  sited feeling very important.

The setup of the entrance with paparazzi welcoming the who’s who of the film industry, to the biting and cocktails going round to the stage set up, to the after party was  all well set up, organized and smoothly orchestrated. Credit has to be given to the CEO of the Kenya Film Classification Board for being the key sponsors of the award ceremony. ..and what do you get when a film body sponsors a film event? I’ll tell you what you won’t get, long speeches from CEOs of companies that know nothing about what goes on in the film industry.  The event therefore felt like it was indeed a Kenya film industry affair with not outside politics playing part.

Ezekiel Mutua

While many guests adhered to the red carpet dressing, I feel strict rules and regulations should be put next time to curb seeing someone walk on the red carpet with a pair of jeans. Emphasis on dressing is a must.

Last but not least, the nominations and winners; perhaps it is the plan of Riverwood to incorporate them into the main stream entertainment scene which is visible from the nominations that have occurred in last year’s awards and this year. Projects that would not previously have been classified as “Riverwoodish” have seen receiving nominations and even winning in some categories. Begging the question; does Riverwood aim to fill in the shoes of what Kalasha Film and Television Awards aim to achieve? Kalasha which has been seen as more incorporating of mainstream producers? What I can however say for certain is, Riverwood Awards has restored all the hope I had lost in Kenyan Awards.

One thing Riverwood failed to do however is give the public a chance to watch the nominated films before putting out a call for the public to vote for the nominees. I insist, it is hard for I as a nominee to start begging for votes from people yet they have no idea what they are voting for. A screening of the nominated films should have been organized.

Without further ado, here is the list of the 2016 (3rd) Riverwood Academy Awards:

PS: You can view all the pictures of what went down on the Riverwood Ensemble Fans Facebook page.

Brian Munene

1. Best Storytelling Scriptwriter: Brian Munene- Bait.

2. Best Editing: Albert Nyakundi- Ilaa.

3. Best Sound: Lawrence Magaya & Sarah Mwangi- Confession.

4. Best Original Score: Phoenix Recordz- Ilaa.

5. Best Production Design: The Team- New Beginnings.

6. Best Cinematography: Lucas Sakwa- Ilaa.

7. Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series: Pascal Tokodi- Pray & Prey.

8. Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series: Peris Wambui- Ngahiha Cia Wendo.

9. Best Lead Actor in a TV Series: Elly Yang Omukubi- Pray & Prey.

10. Best Lead Actress in a TV Series: Charity Wang'ondu- Gaterina.

Raymond Ofula and Kimathi Iceberg

11. Best Director in a TV Series: Kimathi Iceberg- Haiyaiya!

12. Best TV Series: Haiyaiya!

13. Best East African Film: Galz About Town (Uganda).

14. Best Vernacular Film: U-Turn Ya Ngai Ndi Matuu.

15. Best Vernacular TV Series: Ngahiha Cia Wendo.

16. Film Warrior Of The Year: Planet Media Cinemas.

17. Best Supporting Actress in Film: Millicent Ogutu- Bait.

18. Best Supporting Actor in Film: Jacob Otieno- Sibini.

Jacky Kaboi

19. Best Lead Actress in Film: Jackie Kaboi- Choices.

20. Best Lead Actor in Film: Samuel Ngunjiri- Confession.

21. Best Short Film: Bait.

22. Best Director in Film: Martin Githinji- Happy Anniversary.

23. Best Feature: Hidaya.

24. Living Legend and Lifetime achievement award: Oliver Litondo

Oliver Litondo Being awarded the Lifetime Achievement award

Congratulations to all the winners.

Article By Gerald Langiri.

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