Monday, 26 August 2013

Film Aid Festival Closes as Kenyans Urged to Push their Agenda to Tell stories

The Seventh edition of Film Aid film festival came to a close on Friday August 23, 2013 at the Alliance Francaise in Kenya’s Capital Nairobi. As the curtains drew a close to the three day film galore, film enthusiasts, Human Rights advocates and even artists left the venue with a new challenge.
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While I cannot comprehensively talk about the screenings –I watched only two of the short films– the panel discussions, though sometimes appeared to be out of focus on the issues at hand, they gave audiences something worthy to think about.

On August 22, with the focus being Media, rights and displaced persons the panelists spearheaded by Charles Kotieno, tackled less about these issues. Instead representatives from the Refugee Consortium of Kenya and Amnesty International tackled various issues about repatriation and assistance offered to the refugees. Repatriation seemed to be an apt theme as Kenya has recently announced the repatriation of Somali refugees.

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But it was on August 23 that seemed to lean greatly towards the issue of media and refugees. With the topic at hand being Xenophobia, Racism and Tribalism the panelists that included Judy Kibinge (film director& producer), Octopizzo (musician) Mburuku Gikunda (Media Focus) and Duc Mallard (Refugee From  Kakuma) they seemed to address what they through their organizations or as artists how they are addressing the issues.

On her part Judy kibinge said it was so sad that Kenyan media/ practitioners have not embraced the opportunities to tackle issues that have since independence held back the society.  “Kenya is such a vibrant place to be an artist, but it is a pity that those who are in this sector are lazy to do something meaningful,” she quipped when asked when artists will start tackling issues that affect the Kenyan society.

On the other hand Mburuku a former producer at KTN said it was up to each one of us to participate in telling the stories that we all want to hear. Who is the media? He quipped.  We will not get the story that we want told by waiting on the media to tell it. It is up to us to push the agenda.

Besides the panel discussions, the great steps that Film Aid has achieved in the art of filmmaking were greatly noticeably. From times when the productions were poorly directed, and some did not have a story per se. This year’s production though not the best had remarkable improvement in areas of camera work, sound and even scripting. It is hoped that this annual festival should be the direction that Mburuku Gikunda alluded to; the public needs to push the agenda before pointing fingers at the media.

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