Transform Lives of African Youth by Making Films

 
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Oct 15, 2014

Deleted Photos, Ongoing Passion

Charles, Hot Sun Foundation filmmaking trainee
Charles, Hot Sun Foundation filmmaking trainee

My name is Charles. I live in Majengo, Nairobi, Kenya. (Editor’s note: Majengo is a large urban slum). My interest in cameras lead to my journey in filmmaking.

 My first experience with a professional camera was when my sponsors from the UK, who were paying my high school fees, came for a visit to Kenya. We took a trip to Mombasa (on the coast) and they were taking photos the whole time. I asked to view their pictures, but by accident I was so curious about the camera’s functions that I clicked around and accidentally deleted all their photos. They were very angry with me. 

 The next morning, I woke up early to take photos of beach activities and capture the sun rising. This remedied the situation because they told me my photography was surprisingly good. I guess I have a natural ability to compose pictures.

 After high school, I joined Hot Sun Film School. I could only manage to attend classes for one month. As an orphan, I have to take care of myself, and my income as a second hand clothes trader was not enough.

 However, I continued my filmmaking learning via tutorials on Youtube. I also attended various art and film workshops.  I have stayed in touch with my former classmates and participated in their projects.

 Now I am back at Hot Sun Foundation learning about film production.

 Training at Hot Sun Foundation is quite engaging. I love interacting with other students who are full of big ideas and have as much energy for the art as I do.

 I have come to discover that implementing an idea can be really challenging. I have a number of movie ideas but funds to achieve these ideas are not easy to come by. Nevertheless, I have managed to shoot a short trailer for a movie about old people in the coastal town of Mombasa, Kenya who are subjected to lynching for suspicion of being witches.

 Filmmaking is challenging as equipment is expensive and even low budget productions come with a hefty price tag. All in all, I love it so much that I am up to the challenge.

 On Bonus Day Wednesday 15 October, remember me and the many, many urban slum youth who have benefitted from the hands-on filmmaking training offered only at Hot Sun Foundation.

 Our future depends on you! Any amount welcome.

 Donate TODAY WED. 15 October Bonus Day 

and your donation will be matched 30%!

 Donate at goto.gg/3632

 THANKS for your support. It does make a difference.

Your generosity provides opportunities for talented youth in East Africa.

Teamwork at Hot Sun Foundation filmmaking training
Teamwork at Hot Sun Foundation filmmaking training

Links:

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:

Jul 16, 2014

Getting By and Going Up

Benta, Hot Sun Foundation Film School trainee
Benta, Hot Sun Foundation Film School trainee

I am Benta. I am 20 and I am from Mathare, a large slum in Nairobi. I live together with my mum and my older sister. I’ve been living in this place since I was born. When I was four, my father passed away.

We are lucky because we have good neighbours so it’s not dangerous for us women to live there. But it was hard for my mum to earn the money to support us, to give us food and to pay the school fees. She has a little charcoal business. She buys charcoal from someone else and then sells it in front of our house. It’s not much, but it is enough to get by. My sister helps her with the business and when I am home, I help her, too. But not now because I’m going to Hot Sun Film School every day. .

One day a few years ago, I was outside, doing the washing for my family. Suddenly, a group of youth passed our house. They were carrying cameras and other equipment. I saw one of my friends walking with them and I asked him what he was doing. He told me about community photography classes.

So the next Saturday I went to the photography classes. I found it so interesting that I joined. Since this day I’ve participated in many workshops. And now I am here, at Hot Sun Foundation, to gain an even deeper knowledge about photography and filmmaking.

I want to move away from Mathare. I’d also like to take my mother and my sister with me. Mathare isn’t so bad, but I don’t want to end up there. I want to improve my life, go a step further. I hope I can do this as soon as I earn my own money.

Now that I’ve been at Hot Sun Foundation for a while, I am more motivated than ever to go on with filmmaking and photography. I really enjoy the work. I think it can offer me the opportunity to fulfil my great dream – get into a plane and fly to visit other countries.

Hot Sun Foundation

Hot Sun Foundation offers opportunities to youth like me - to really learn filmmaking and make our own short films.  All of us who work hard and develop our talent will be able to make new lives for ourselves and our families. Almost all of the graduates get jobs in the Kenya media industry.

Bonus Day TODAY Wednesday 16 July 2014

That's why I am asking all of you, your families, your friends to donate on this very special day, Bonus Day,  today Wednesday 16 July.

Today and today only, your donation will be matched 50%!  But don't wait.  Donate now please.  Funds are limited. 

Your donation is very important just now, because the grant from the  major donor for Hot Sun Foundation is ending this year.

Please go to http://goto.gg/3632  now and make a donation.

Thank you for all you do! 

Benta shooting her film
Benta shooting her film

Links:

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Project Leader

Nathan Collett

Nairobi, Kenya

Where is this project located?

Map of Transform Lives of African Youth by Making Films