Transform Lives of African Youth by Making Films

 
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Josphat Keya working on a Kibera story on video
Josphat Keya working on a Kibera story on video

A Message from Josphat Keya (24)
Projects Coordinator, Hot Sun Foundation
   
I joined Hot Sun Foundation through Kibera Film School in the first intake of trainees in August, 2009.  Though I did not have prior knowledge in filmmaking I loved writing short stories and sometimes I’d send them to  local magazines for publication. No story was  ever published. I guess they did not fit what was wanted. My stories were what I saw happening to my fellow colleagues around me.

With the coming of Kibera Film School, I thought this was a perfect opportunity for me to relay my thoughts that I had wanted to do for so long, but did not have a chance. Now it would be even better with the filmmaking skills that I’d gain then my message will be more powerful.

My goal is to become a film director with a distinction of telling stories. Talking of telling stories I mean speaking what is not spoken, what is avoided to be spoken, that which is avoided but is really needed to be heard. For example two of my projects I’ve done were of controversial issues here in my community – one about stepmothers and the other about sexual identity. Something that nobody wants to talk about or fears talking about it. I believe through what I’ve done at least it will elicit dialogue and it won’t be a taboo talking about it anymore.

What Hot Sun Has done for me is immeasurable. It has made me what I am and what I’ll be, of course if I do not waiver I’ll be what I want to be, and all courtesy of Hot Sun. So I would love this to also happen to my fellow youths out there who were denied a chance to be what they want to be by systems set by selfish people in the society or those who don’t have the slightest idea of what the youth really need. Many think that the youth need cash in hand. No,  what we need is nurturing of what we can do best - our talent, our passion, our dreams.

Collaboration with other organizations with similar vision of empowering the youth is very important for us. Exchange programmes that will close the gap between the youth in their artistic talents from whatever corner of the world I believe are something very important. This exchange programmes, collaborations will be fostering peace, which is being threatened by the world politics.

The places I’ve gone, the people I have met, I do not know if it could have been possible, all of them have happened in the name of Hot Sun Foundation. I believe that someone somewhere in my community has identified not with my personality but my triumphs just because of what I’ve been able to do while at Hot Sun Foundation.
During this holiday season, I ask each and every one of you to reach out to the youth in Kibera who are so eager to have a chance to develop their talents at Kibera Film School and Kibera TV programmes at Hot Sun Foundation.  

     You can help make this possible by
1.    Donating on www.globalgiving.org/3632 or at www.globalgiving.co.uk  (Hot Sun Foundation)
2.    Volunteering, especially if you have filmmaking skills. Contact us a info@hotsunfoundation.org for more information.
3.    Buying DVDs on buykiberakid.com
4.    Joining the blogspot kiberatv.blogspot.com, kiberafilmschool.blogspot.com and kiberakid.blogspot.com
5.    Becoming a fan on facebook : Kibera Film School, Kibera TV, TOGETHERNESS SUPREME feature film
6.    Following us on twitter HotSunFilms
7.    ALL OF THE ABOVE!    THANKS for all you do!

Links:

TOGETHERNESS SUPREME screening at  Mongongaa
TOGETHERNESS SUPREME screening at Mongongaa

KISII TO NAROK ROADSHOW
by Kibera Film School Trainees
Beatrice Aringa and Kevin Machimbo

Road Show Part Two

                                MARARIANDA
 8th September. Rain, rain, rain. This was the day we moved from Sekenani to our new camp in Mararianda. The journey was long and tiring. It was  six hours before getting there and  everyone was exhausted. The reception we got on our arrival was unexpected and very cordial. The chief of the region himself welcomed us.

This is the day we had had just  enough of the rain and its hindering factor that had made us not screen on  two occasions. We decided today we would  screen even if it rained cats and dogs. After we screened, we were all wet and we were given a warm room with fire that would keep us warm. The chief threw us a party and slaughtered a goat for us. We were humbled by this generous gesture.
      
                                     AITONG
9th September.  Of all the screenings, Aitong was unique. We mostly screened at night but on this particular day we screened twice. During the day and in the night. At daytime, our target audience was mainly women and children who are often conspicuously missing at the evening screenings.  Most women and children availed themselves during the day because coincidentally this was a market day too. The turnout was amazing!

Since we had showed the rain that we would still screen even though it rained, it left us alone. And as the sun hung loosely in the sky, we started getting ready for the second screening. This was one of the most successful screenings since the road show began. We met many people who were really interested in what we do and took pride in watching some of the local production.

Aitong was different from the other parts of the expansive Masai Mara. Most of the locals were really interested in socializing with new people. Here we made lots of new friends who really got interested in Hot Sun Foundation. This was the final stretch in the Mara and I would say apart from a few ups and downs the entire show rocked the world of many and transformed some lives if not all.           

   NAROK

 From Mararianda to Narok was like an endless journey. Most of the journey we were fast asleep. We arrived in Narok at 3.00pm in the afternoon. We are ready for our last screenings in our Rift Valley tour. Most of us were eager to get back home  to Nairobi and so we wanted the screening to be the best.

Talk about saving the best for the last and we just did that. We painted Narok town with togetherness.  People were interested and amazed to see us!
No sooner had we begun setting up our equipment that the crowd kept surging forward. Narok recorded the highest turnout. The screenings were a success and the residents of Narok were grateful they had the chance to watch this local production. The Togetherness Is  video interviews of local people, played at the end of each screening of TOGETHERNESS SUPREME  as a way to say thank you is what amazed most residents.
   
Success
•    Impressive turnout in most  screening locations.
•    Most residents were really greatful and wanted a re run of Togetherness Supreme.
•    The message of peace was spread across ethnic groups and the need to keep peace was grasped.
•    We got the chance to interact with people from different backgrounds and market or sell Hot Sun  Foundation on a national platform.
•    Generally everyone loved the movie and they  marvelled that such talent could be found locally in Kibera.

Challenges
       
•    Weather  that hindered us from screenings in some areas.
•    Bad roads that made the journey very uncomfortable and led to some of the equipment getting  damaged.
•    Lack of clean drinking water in the rural centers.
•    Communication barrier with the locals, who could not speak or understand Kiswahili.  This led to a broken communication linkage and thus most of them couldn’t answer the audience feedback forms or do the Togetherness Is short videos.

Conclusions
 I would sum up by saying the entire road show was a success apart from  little technical hitches and unavoidable weather conditions. Great thanks to the organizers Hot Sun Films. Our deepest gratitude go to Jamey Ponte of Child Wellness Fund for his excellent coordinating skills with the locals and guiding us throughout this entire journey.

TOGETHERNESS SUPREME screening at Nikolale
TOGETHERNESS SUPREME screening at Nikolale

Links:

Kibera Hamlets Acrobats with Togetherness Supreme
Kibera Hamlets Acrobats with Togetherness Supreme

PART ONE: REPORT OF TOGETHERNESS SUPREME  KISII TO NAROK ROADSHOW Rural Road Show
by Kibera Film School Trainees  Beatrice Aringa and Kevin Machimbo

 Hot Sun Foundation, Kids in Kenya, and the Child Wellness Fund co-sponsored the TOGETHERNESS SUPREME film road show in Kenya. For the first time in Kenya, TOGETHERNESS SUPREME, an award-winning community-produced full-length feature film, was shown in free open-air screenings in high definition projection.

The TOGETHERNESS SUPREME Road Show kicked off on the 3rd of September from Hot Sun Films office in Nairobi to Kisii. The Kibera Film School trainees were joined by 12 young acrobats from Kibera Hamlets.  Many of us had never traveled outside Nairobi.  We were all excited and a bit nervous.  In Kisii we had a good turnout but we were rained out.  We were all disappointed but had to move to the next location. 
SEKENANI
We began the journey to Rift Valley on  5th September. The journey to Sekenani Masai Mara was long and tiring but th did not kill our spirit as we arrived late and proceeded to screen Togetherness Supreme. A show from Kibera Hamlets acrobats helped us mobilize our crowds. The turnout was impressive! Sekenani was to be our home for the next three days as we criss crossed the vast Masai Mara. Here we got the chance to interact with the Masai culture and meet indigenous Masai warriors. They made our fear of wild animals fade into thin air and we got a safe night’s sleep.

OLELEMUTIA
 6th September our convoy heads to Olelemutia, north of the Masai Mara and the day began gracefully and on a high note. We arrived in Olelemutia on time and set up, ready for screening but the rain out maneuvered us. I would say that the rain was the biggest and major challenge in Olelemutia. The residents appreciated our presence there and we felt welcomed.

NKOILALE
Nkoilale was great. 7th September, the journey there was not too bumpy as compared to the rest of the way. This was the southern side of the Mara and the residents here were a bit shy. But after a few stunts from the Kibera Hamlets acrobats we managed to pull people to gather around. This was one of the worst spots during the post election violence in 2007-2008. We were glad to have showed them TOGETHERNESS SUPREME and the depth of its message: Peace. After successfully fulfilling our mission, we head back to our camp to retire. Today we are all smiles.

THANKS to everyone who made our road trip possible!  Now we are back in Nairobi, continuing our community workshops with children and KIBERA TV.  SUPPORT US  NOW with the Give More, Get More Matching Campaign of Global Giving Oct. 12- 21 2010.  Again our thanks for your inspiring support!

Kibera Film School with Masai friends
Kibera Film School with Masai friends

Links:

TOGETHERNESS SUPREME poster
TOGETHERNESS SUPREME poster

Over 25,000 people living in the slums in Nairobi have attended our outdoor screenings. Viewers have urged us to take TOGETHERNESS SUPREME everywhere to encourage Kenyans to reflect on the post election violence of 2007-2008 and make sure it never happens again.

Congratulations to all Kenyans on the peaceful and positive referendum vote on 4 August 2010 for a constitution! Now let's build on that momentum for a peaceful election in 2012! We need your help TODAY and every day. Make a donation so that youth from Kibera can visit other towns and villages in Kenya to build PAMOJA... TOGETHERNESS!

Check out the recent media coverage of our work on PRI/BBC the World, African Digital Arts and Audience Scapes (See the links below).

DO NOT miss the wonderful article Revolutaional Film Making: Hot Sun Films on African Digital Art about Hot Sun Films/Foundation and TOGETHERNESS SUPREME. These words truly capture the spirit and commitment of the work we are doing.

Many thanks to our supporters in Kenya and around the world who are making it possible for everyone to see the Kibera feature film TOGETHERNESS SUPREME!

Be inspired! Don't hesitate. Make a donation of ANY amount!

Thanks for all you do! Your support is a great encouragement to all of us.

Children watching TOGETHERNESS SUPREME
Children watching TOGETHERNESS SUPREME
Crowd watching TOGETHERNESS SUPREME
Crowd watching TOGETHERNESS SUPREME

Links:

Evans, whose story is told in TOGETHERNESS SUPREME
Evans, whose story is told in TOGETHERNESS SUPREME

25,000 people living in the slums of Nairobi have seen it.

People all over Kenya are asking to see it.

NOW, we need YOUR HELP so they can see it.

See what?

TOGETHERNESS SUPREME A story of three youths, three tribes in one mega slum. A story based on actual events. A story of peace and reconciliation. A story from Kibera to all of Kenya and the world, offering their talents to open up hearts and minds.

Here are a few quotes from viewers in Kibera:

“I pray for the movie Togetherness Supreme to go on, to encourage, to show people, to remind them they may become peaceful.” 38-year old man

“I liked that in the movie, people were working together despite coming from different tribes.” 19-year-old woman,

“The movie itself (Togetherness Supreme) can make somebody change from wrong to right." 37-year-old man.

“The movie (Togetherness Supreme) was encouraging. It was touching. And it led me to have some emotions and that is why I decided to shed my tears, because of all what happened here, it was right here. And when I saw the movie, when people are going looting here and there, I recalled losing each and every thing. So the movie touched me, it was good. And I pray that something like that won’t happen again. The movie was wonderful. I just wish you can bring it every week for other people to watch.” 36 year old woman

The people of Kibera have spoken. We hope you are listening and listening carefully.

If you are, then please, make their wishes come true.

Send TOGETHERNESS SUPREME around Kenya! TOGETHERNESS SUPREME is the most powerful tool we have to build peace and unity among all peoples.

Make a contribution today! THANKS for all you do!

Kibera youth setting up for TOGETHERNESS SUPREME
Kibera youth setting up for TOGETHERNESS SUPREME
TOGETHERNESS SUPREME in Kayole slum, Nairobi
TOGETHERNESS SUPREME in Kayole slum, Nairobi

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