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.
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!
Everywhere we go in the slums of Nairobi, people turn out to see the Kibera feature film TOGETHERNESS SUPREME, a story of three youths, three tribes in one mega slum: KIBERA, Kenya.
Based on actual events, TOGETHERNESS SUPREME tells a story of peace and reconciliation following the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007-2008.
TOGETHERNESS SUPREME is a powerful tool for peace that should be shared throughout Kenya NOW, as people are preparing for a referendum on a new constitution and for upcoming presidential elections in 2012.
TOGETHERNESS SUPREME has received extensive international media coverage and has been featured on all major Kenya television stations.
TOGETHERNESS SUPREME opens hearts and minds to reflect on what happened in January -February 2008 when over 1300 people were killed and 350,000 people displaced in their own country in post election violence.
TOGETHERNESS SUPREME builds unity, especially among the youth of all tribes.
YOU can join this amazing, creative, powerful movement for youth unity and peace, led by the youth of Kibera and the feature film TOGETHERNESS SUPREME.
Make a DONATION today and help make peace a reality in Kenya.
We are counting on you and your support to enable us to show and discuss TOGETHERNESS SUPREME all over Kenya, building peace and unity.
Pass the word. REMEMBER 16 June 2010 is MATCHING DAY. MARK THE DATE!
THANKS for all you do!
I visited Hot Sun Foundation's Kibera Film School two weeks ago and met the students. They are enthusiastically helping us with the GlobalGiving Storytelling project - an innovative experiment in soliciting and using beneficiary feedback. A highlight was seeing the trailer for their first feature film "Togetherness Supreme" premiering this weekend in downtown Nairobi and on Monday at a free showing in Kibera, where the film takes place. The trailer was intense and moving. This film is important as Kenyans prepare for the constitutional referendum this August and the next general election in 2012. The film, based on the true story of Evans (pictured below), an artist who gets caught up in politics and the post-election violence of 2007. The message is cautionary and positive and I hope it is seen extremely widely. Also pictured here are Mercy (Managing Director of Hot Sun) and Zipporah (GlobalGiving Storytelling Program Coordinator).
With a welcoming banner over the entranceway, friends, family and guests joined the joyful graduates at the Hot Sun Foundation Gala, 27 March 2010 at Olympic, in Kibera. The celebration honoured the first group of Kibera youth trainees who successfully completed the seven-month Kibera Film School Foundation course in Filmmaking. Kibera Film School is unique in being located in east Africa's largest slum and working with local youth to tell their stories on film.
Guest of honour, Paul Dziatkowiec Deputy High Commissioner of the Australian High Commission, Australia, gave the opening speech which inspired the graduates to pursue the vision of Hot Sun Foundation of social transformation through art and media. Master of Ceremony, John Ngaruiya, himself a graduate, spoke of the early days of Hot Sun Films/Foundation, when a group of Kibera youth sat on boxes in a small courtyard in Kibera to work on film scripts.
Hot Sun Foundation trustees Nathan Collett, Pamela Collett, and Mercy Murugi spoke of the future plans for Kibera Film School to become a centre of film training and production. Mercy noted that four Kibera youth have been nominated for the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) for their roles in the Kibera feature film, TOGETHERNESS SUPREME: Martha Kisaka for most promising actress, Wilson Maina for most promising actor, Billy Oloo and Teddy Onyango for best child actors. All are from Kibera. None had acted before their starring roles in TOGETHERNESS SUPREME, which was nominated for best film in an African language. **
Graduate Martha Kisaka, who also had the lead female role in TOGETHERNESS SUPREME was awarded the Overall Best in Narrative and Documentary Film in the Kibera Film School competition, judged by three professionals in the Kenyan film and media industry.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was when parents who were present came forward to congratulate their daughters and sons. One father had wanted his son Josphat Keya to become an electrician and was doubtful about filmmaking, but now is very proud and delighted that his son is following his passion.
All of the graduates have employment in the industry. One of the graduates has been employed as an assistant editor for a Kenyan TV program. One graduate has become an intern at Hot Sun Films. One graduate, Josphat Keya, is now the coordinator for the Kibera Film School and the Kibera TV project. The other five graduates are teaching at the Kibera Film School, facilitating community workshops, films screenings and producing Kibera TV.
** Since the writing of this post (which somehow got misplaced and wasn't posted in a timely fashion), TOGETHERNESS SUPREME won two awards at the AMAA held in Nigeria: Most Promising Actor and Best Child Actors. Producer Mercy Murugi and actress Martha Kisaka attended the ceremonies and accepted the awards on behalf of Hot Sun Films.
A few days ago I came to Kenya to kick off GlobalGiving’s latest experiment in community feedback – the GlobalGiving Storytelling Project. Everyone has a story about a community effort they witnessed. Too often these stories of social change and attempts to lift up the community don’t travel far. So we’re training groups of people to go out and ask, “do you want to join the storytelling project?”
Our first stop: The Hot Sun Film School in Kibera – Nairobi’s largest slum. I prepped seven of their students on how invite people on the street to tell stories.
We’re asking, “Can you tell me about a community effort you have seen? What happened? And what would you say to a friend to either encourage or discourage him from trying the same thing?” A “community effort” is anything that a person or organization tries to do to improve his community. Sorry, there isn’t a better name for it in english yet.
As practice, several of the youths shared stories:
Victor: I knew this guy who was in Kibera and did not have enough food to eat. And there was just no place for crops here. One day he got the idea to collect soil elsewhere in large plastic bags and take them here, so he could plant kale. Then he ate some and sold rest.
Gabriela: Okay. So you have these kids who clean up the streets, picking trash. But those in Kibera, they often do it in the neighborhoods where people have more money…. One day they gathered all the trash in a neighboring slum and collected some money. But at the end of the day they returned home to Kibera and there was still trash everywhere. I wished for once they would clean up our own streets.
Although these stories are brief, the follow-up questions helped us reveal more to life in Kibera:
Victor’s story (kale planters) would seem to only benefit one or few people, but he opined that it benefitted the community on a social level, because this unemployed man served as a role model. “I think others liked it, because normally they complain about the youths that sit around doing nothing, and here you have one with an idea and helping himself,” he explained.
Gabiella’s story (trash removal for cash) could have been about health and the environment, but unpacking the elements revealed that this was really about economic empowerment. Unemployment exceeds 50% in Kibera, and so poverty motivated these youths to travel across the city to clean up a richer, cleaner neighborhood instead of helping their own. Those who benefited most were outsiders, in Gabriella’s view, and hence she believed the community at large was somewhat divided on whether they liked this project.
I imagine that as we collect thousands of stories like this, the priorities of the people in Kibera will become quite clear. And when these stories are a public resource available to you, organizations, and the communities themselves, we might see Kibera differently. I hope it helps us better meet the needs of the people. I take Gabriella’s story as a reminder that cleaning up slum is less important to the people than finding them work.
For some of these film students, the results of the survey were immediate. Although Hot Sun teaches Kibera kids and shoots in Kibera, they don’t interact with strangers much. One told me this was one of the few times they had interacted with the very people whose lives they try to capture in movies. Without a script or camera crew, some of them found experience much harder, but helpful.
“We could be taking these stories and developing storyboards out of the good ones,” one said.
“It is great practice on learning how to draw people out,” another noted.
Later I learned the extent to which tribal conflict affects everything in Kibera. One of the seven was of the wrong tribe, and had been run out of Kibera in 2007. Last year, the community apologized and – miraculously – returned his house and stolen furniture. But the next day I met someone who was not so lucky. She is still afraid to return to work in Kibera, even though she had helped thousands of people and dozens of local organizations there over the years. She too was chased out in 2007 for being from the wrong tribe. This is a tough neighborhood. And that is precisely why we are here, gathering stories, ensuring that everyone’s voice is being heard.
Stay tuned for an update from the Hot Sun Foundation, as tomorrow they graduate their first class of 8 film students!
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