The 27th European Film Festival opens tonight at the Michael Joseph Centre in Westlands with the Kenya premiere screening of the 2017 Irish film Sanctuary, directed by Len Collins.
This year’s festival will run from May 4th to the 27th and will be unprecedented on several levels.
First, there will be more participation by Kenyan filmmakers than ever before. Everyone from Jim Chuchu, to Tosh Gitonga, Mbithi Masya, Peter Gitau, Nick Njache, Kevin Njue, Ng’endo Mukii, Philippa Ndisi-Hermann and Maasai Mbili will be screening their respective films and taking part in question and answer sessions immediately after their movies are shown.
There will also be Kenyan short video makers on hand, including artistes Jackie Karuti, Longinos Nagila and Faith Wanjala as well the winners of the Smartphone competition run by Alliance Francaise.
And every weekend throughout the festival, the Kenya ScriptWriters Guild will be running workshops either at the Michael Joseph Centre, the National Museum or Alliance Francaise.
The other venues where the festival’s film screenings will take place are Goethe Institute, The Alchemist, The Metta and the August 7 Memorial Park.
Other local organisations taking part in the film fete include Chocolate City, Black Rhino, Association of Animation Artists of Kenya and Machawood.
Never before in the 26 previous EU film festivals have we seen so many Kenyan filmmakers participating and showing their works for everyone to see. Entry to the festival is free.
It will offer a marvellous opportunity to not only watch some of the best European movies made over the last decade but also local movies.
Viewers will have a chance to see films like Tosh Gitonga’s Disconnect, Kevin Njue’s 18 Hours, Jim Chuchu’s Let This Be a Warning, Jim Gitau’s The Cut and Nick Njache’s Kidnapped.
The 20 European countries that will be showing their films (up from six when the film festival first took off in 1991) include Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
A number of films will be child-friendly including several animations. But there will also be documentaries, dramas, comedies, mysteries, historical fiction, biographies and even a few thrillers.
So there will be films for everyone as well as plenty of interactive features to ensure this will possibly be the liveliest EU film festival to date.