The recently released Nairobi Half Life film will compete with other films from around the globe submitted for The 85th Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Science (AMPAS - better known as The Oscars) in the "Best Foreign Language Film" Category. The film, a Ginger Ink Films production, features local cast and crew, providing an opportunity for Kenyans to benchmark with the best in the world cinema arena.
Wambui Kairo, the chairperson of The Kenya Oscars Selection Committee was full of praise for the film, terming it as a master piece and saying that it stands a chance for nomination and the global award. "We as a committee are privileged to have been involved in the process of reviewing Nairobi Half Life and to have found it as a suitable Kenyan submission. It is clear from this film that The Kenya Film Industry has the capacity to make movies that can compete on a global platform." Said Wambui
Nairobi Half Life premiered at the Westgate Cinemas in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday 30th August 2012 and has been screening twice daily to a full house since it subsequently opened to the public on Friday 31st August 2012.
The film's success at the cinema halls has influenced public demand to have the film extend its screening to December and has received outstanding reviews from local newspapers and blogs. Indeed, the film has sparked a lot of interest from Kenyans both locally and those in the Diaspora who are eager to watch it.
Prior to its Nairobi Premier, Nairobi Half Life first screened in the 33rd Durban Film Festival (Thursday 19th July to Sunday 29th July 2012) where Joseph Wairimu, the Film's main character Mwas, won The Best Actor Award. Tosh Gitonga, the Director, also made great headlines.
While commenting on the news of the film selection as the country entry for OSCARS, the producer of Nairobi Half Life, Ginger Siobhain Wilson said, "We are extremely proud that Nairobi half life has been selected as the Kenyan entry for the Oscars. Following our best actor award at the premier in Durban and the most successful theatrical release in Kenyan history for a local film, we have another wonderful acknowledgment for our much loved film thank you" Ginger was speaking on behalf of her Cast and Crew, whom she said were outstanding during the film production.
Speaking about the film, the CEO of Kenya Film Commission, Mr. Peter Mutie said that the film was a good case of a how partnerships in film projects to deliver excellent results. "The One Fine Day Films workshop, which saw the production of the film is a partnership project between DW Akademie, ONE FINE DAY FILMS and GINGER INK" he said adding that the film was supported by the Germany Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, The Film & Mediienstifung NRW, the Goethe Institute Nairobi and ARRI Film & TV Services.
To date, the only other movie submitted from Kenya for the same category was Heart of Fire; a Kenyan/German co-production film about the civil war in Eritrea submitted in 2008. The film was not nominated by the Academy for the 2009 Awards.
The Kenya Oscars Selection Committee is an Independent Committee that comprises Film makers' representatives of the key Kenyan Film Associations and organizations. As per the Academy Awards® Special Rules and Regulations, each submitting Country has to have one Organization or Jury or Committee - that includes crafts people from the film of motion pictures - whose duty is to make calls for film submissions, evaluate the submissions and come up with a suitable film to represent the Country at the Academy Awards.
The submitted feature in the foreign Language Category must meet certain set rules, the most important being that it is produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track with accurate subtitles. The Academy Awards® accept only One Picture per Country to compete for this category.
The Kenya Oscars Selection Committee would like to encourage other filmmakers to produce films with future Oscar submission consideration in mind. It is envisaged that films like Nairobi Half Life will open both government and private sectors to give more support to the Local Film Industry and its creative sector. Mr. Mutie says that under the new policy now in the final stage of completion, funding for film makers has been considered as one of the key support pillars.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the selected films on Thursday the 10th of January, 2013. Five (5) Films will be nominated from all the international submissions to go forward in the final lineup to compete for the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film.
The official Academy Awards® ceremony will take place on Sunday 24th February 2013 in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.