The grand ballroom at the Sarova Stanley was packed last Thursday night as people representing all aspects of Kenya’s burgeoning film industry were on hand to witness the country’s inaugural National Scriptwriting Competition gala night.
It was definitely a “milestone moment” for the local film industry as no one had ever seen such a productive collaboration as the one that orchestrated this ‘first’ in Kenyan film. Never before had the Kenya Film Commission (KFC) teamed up with Kenya Film School and the ministry of Information, Communication and Technology to establish such a scriptwriting competition.
A fundraiser was able to net Sh2 million in prize money for the winning scripts.
The competition itself was announced early this year, attracting a total of 549 submissions from all over the country. Judged by a jury of seven, all of whom are active participants in the film industry, (either as lecturers, producers, screen writers or cinematographers), the shortlisting whittled the number to 20.
It was those 20 who were given VIP seating at the Stanley on August 29 as no one had leaked who the winners would ultimately be. What was known beforehand was that the winner would receive a cool Sh1 million, the first runner- up Sh500,000 and the second runner up Sh300,000.
The Government, represented that night by the ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, was clearly behind the project.
Announcing the winners of the competition was Victoria Goro, Deputy Director of the Kenya Film School.
Second runner up was Ken Nderitu for his film Crossing the Tsavo while the first runner-up was Cyrus Kilavu for ‘Ndundi’. Kenya’s first million-shilling winning scriptwriter was Benjamin Odiwour for Dust in my Eyes.