Nairobi Set To Host 25th European Film Festival Next Week

The 25th European Film Festival opens next week on May 12, missing three of its European Union members but adding two new ones.

Video grab from the Kenya film  ‘‘Watatu .’’ PHOTO | COURTESY

Video grab from the Kenya film ‘‘Watatu .’’ PHOTO | COURTESY

For the first time, Austria, Denmark and Italy are not presenting films at the festival despite the festival’s theme being ‘Integration’.

It’s especially unfortunate as Italy’s film ‘Fire at Sea’ won the prestigious Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival, but Kenyan audiences will not have the opportunity to see it this time round.

Each of the three countries has its reasons for pulling out of the festival, be they financial, staff-related or political. The countries presenting films for the first time this year are Ireland, which brings the one animated film to this year’s fete and Romania.

Otherwise, 16 EU countries are committed to showing their new films this year.

However, there will be 17 films shown as well as two ACP-EU-funded films and one Kenyan film since 2016 will be the first year that the ‘host country’ will screen its own independent film, entitled ‘Watatu’, which is a Sponsored Arts for Education production.

‘Watatu’ will also be one of the few films at this year’s fete (which will run from May 11th when there will be an invitation-only opening through May 28th) to be on the Cine-Café programme.

That means that following the film’s screening on May 23rd, there will be a Q & A in which the film’s director, the award-winning British actor, Nick Reding, and one of ‘Watatu’s’ lead actors will be present to discuss among other things, the provocative theme of the film which is ‘radicalisation of the unemployed’.

Filmed entirely at the Coast, the film explores both causal factors contributing to the problem as well as possibilities for de-radicalising the youth.

The other countries that are showing some of their finest films this year are Belgium (Come as you are and Two Days and One Night), Czech Republic (The Way Out), Finland (Leaving Africa’), France ( Fatima), Germany (Welcome to Germany), Hungary (Son of Saul), Ireland (Secret of Kells), Netherlands (Paradise Suite), Portugal (Triangle), Romania (Morgen), Serbia (Chasing a Dream), Slovak Republic (Gypsy), Spain (China Take-Away), Sweden (We are the Best), Switzerland (More than Honey), United Kingdom (All Night Long), Guinea Bissau (an EU-ACP-funded film, Nha Fala), South African (a second EU-ACP-funded film, Kini and Adama) and Kenya (Watatu).

All the films will either be in English or with English sub-titles.

One that is striking about this year’s film selections is that most of the film are rated as either recommending ‘Parental Guidance’ or suggesting that viewers should be either ‘over 18’, ‘over 16’, or ‘over 12’.

Only the Irish animated film, is especially designed for children while only the Swiss and South African films are rated for a general audience and several haven’t yet been rated.

– Business Daily