Hot Sun Foundation

Vision of Hot Sun Foundation: Social transformation through art and media. Mission: Identify and develop youth talent in East African slums to tell their stories on film. Rapid urbanization in East Africa and lack of options leads to wasted talent and frustration among the youth. Training in filmmaking enhances their creative potential, creating role models and cultural leaders from within their communities.
Oct 7, 2014

Fail Forward: filmmaking training in East Africa

Hot Sun Foundation graduates training others
Hot Sun Foundation graduates training others

 In 2009, when Hot Sun Foundation contemplated moving from a program based in Kibera, (a slum in Nairobi, Kenya), offering film screenings, short term training, workshops, special events and street theatre to providing comprehensive hands-on training in filmmaking, our first thought was to involved local professionals from film and media. Hands-on filmmaking training was seldom practiced in training institutes in East Africa. Most of the training was theoretical. We were determined to be different. Not just because we were working with youth in slums, but also because we wanted to offer quality filmmaking training that would equip youths to make films.

 We invited film and media professionals to our very modest office and training centre. To our great satisfaction, many well-known professionals came to our orientation meeting and said they embraced the concept.

 Yes, they embraced the concept, but putting it into practice was another issue. We called professionals from film and media to teach specific classes on specific days at specific times. Very few of them had had any past teaching experience. Very few of them had worked in urban slum settings with youth with limited formal education.

 Professionals would agree to a certain class but then at the last minute could not show up. Usually because they had a paying gig. Most professionals in film and media in Kenya are self-employed and/or work on a project basis. If a project comes up, they have to take it to survive.  Our filmmaking training paid a very minimum wage plus they had to travel to the urban slum plus they had to work with urban slum youth plus they had to try to familiarize themselves with our curriculum. That was asking a lot. Perhaps too much.

 So what happened? Over time as we trained urban youth in filmmaking, most of whom got jobs or projects in the mainstream media in Kenya, some of the graduates of our Foundation in Filmmaking program became the core of our trainers.

 We still reach out to industry professionals, but now more as mentors. Our core trainers are our graduates who are willing and able to return to teach others.

 Unfortunately, this virtuous cycle may come to an end in 2014. Our major grant is ending. It costs about USD$395 per month per trainee for our four month Foundation in Filmmaking program.

 With your support, we will be able to continue.

 The very BEST time to donate would be Bonus Day (Wed. 15 October) when your contribution will be matched 30%.

Mark your calendars and don't forget to donate on Bonus Day Wed. 15 October. 

 BUT ANY TIME and ANY AMOUNT is a good time to donate.

To keep young filmmakers training urban slum youth in Kenya, donate at http://goto.gg/3632

 Your support is  always appreciated.

Thank you.

Links:

Sep 9, 2014

Movie Madness Part 2: Denis comes to Nairobi

Denis preparing for filming
Denis preparing for filming

Movie Madness Part 2: Denis comes to Nairobi

When I told my mother I wanted to move to Nairobi from the small town of Muranga’a to become a filmmaker she was very upset. She was scared and worried that something would happen to me and that I was going to get lost in the big city just by myself.

I was the only son still at home, the youngest, too. But I really wanted to join the Hot Sun Foundation Film school, so she called her aunt to organize a place for me to stay. I live in Kaloleni now with my uncle. I’ve never met him before but we get along very well. My mum and I talk on the telephone almost every day. She got used to the idea that I live in Nairobi now and she is proud of what I’m doing.

I want to try to change the mentality of people in this country. I don’t like it. Everything is just about money. It’s sometimes a very selfish society.

I’d like to hit topics with my films that manage to open people’s eyes. That’s why I am mostly interested in scriptwriting and editing. Scriptwriting gives me control about the theme, the idea and the words that are used in the movie. And editing gives me the opportunity to put the idea I had in mind into vision.

Your support makes it possible for youth like Denis to learn filmmaking at the only hands-on filmmaking training centre for youth who have the talent but not the funds to learn filmmaking. 

 Over 75 youth have learned filmmaking at Hot Sun Foundation and are working in the Kenya media industry.

 Our major grant ends this year.  We need your support to keep our doors open. 

*  *   *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Don’t Miss This Special Opportunity:

 All recurring donations made by 10 September WEDNESDAY will be DOUBLED.

Sign up to make a donation of any amount, once a month for at least four months, and it will be DOUBLED.

 For example, if you donate $25 for four months (or $100), Hot Sun Foundation will receive $200!

Donate today at    http://www.goto.gg/3632

THANKS for all you do!

Denis with filmmaker Wilfred a former graduate
Denis with filmmaker Wilfred a former graduate
Hot Sun Film trainees with Heinz Hermanns, Berlin
Hot Sun Film trainees with Heinz Hermanns, Berlin

Links:

Aug 11, 2014

Movie Madness

Denis, trainee at Hot Sun Foundation
Denis, trainee at Hot Sun Foundation

Denis

I’ve always loved watching movies. I still do. You could even say that I was kind of obsessed with movies when I was a child. When I was about six or seven years old, my older brothers brought movies to our house. I would stop my homework then and I refused to continue because I wanted to watch the movies. At some point, my parents forbid my brothers to bring home any more movies. They thought the problem was solved. But it actually got worse. I started to go to movie shops to buy movies. But I didn’t have money, so I stole money from my parents. I won’t lie; I had a problem with stealing. But I only stole money to buy the movies. It was that bad with my addiction. It only stopped when my father decided to remove the TV. That meant no movies for anyone. At least I wasn’t stealing anymore. But it didn’t stop me from watching films.

In secondary school – I was fifteen – I decided to become a filmmaker. I realised that there were no action movies in Kenya, and the ones that are produced here are of very bad quality. But I loved action movies. So I thought I just had to do it myself.

There was a very difficult time in my life. I was born in Eastleigh, Nairobi, but when I was about ten my father died in a road accident. He had been the bread winner of our family and my mother didn’t know how to make a living in Nairobi without him. So my mother decided to move to Muranga’a with us. It’s a rural area where my father’s family lives.

My mother thought it was a good idea to move close to relatives. But instead of supporting us they tried to make my mother sell my father’s truck and get money. They thought she isn’t very smart and it would be easy to snatch money from her. But she refused. At this time my older brothers joined secondary school which made it even harder because my mother had to pay their school fees. She opened a little cereal shop and we managed to survive somehow.

Watch for the second part of Denis' story, when he comes to Nairobi to join Hot Sun Foundation to become a filmmaker. 

Your support makes it possible for youth like Denis to learn filmmaking at the only hands-on filmmaking training centre for youth who have the talent but not the funds to learn filmmaking. 

Over 70 youth have learned filmmaking at Hot Sun Foundation and are working in the Kenya media industry.

Our major grant ends this year.  We need your support to keep our doors open. 

Donate today at    http://www.goto.gg/3632

Thank you for all you do.

Denis, making films with trainees
Denis, making films with trainees

Links:

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