Kitale Film Week calls for submissions to maiden event
What you need to know:
- The seven-day festival will take place in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County
- The event also features a competition open only to Kenyan and Ugandan films, and the deadline is the end of November
- Submissions will be received on the online portal Film Freeway under the event title “Kitale Film Week”
The Kitale Film Week has called for submissions of films for its maiden event in February 2023.
The seven-day festival will take place in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County.
The deadline is the end of November, while calls for applications for workshop participants will be announced shortly.
“This event seeks to curate strands of cinema for the cosmopolitan audiences of Trans Nzoia, giving prominence to the voices of the North Rift and Western Kenya,” said festival director Peter Pages Bwire.
The event also features a competition open only to Kenyan and Ugandan films, he said.
“The organising team seeks to build industry relations between the two countries. Kitale is close to the border of Kenya and Uganda, making it easy for artistic exchanges and collaboration in different ways,” Mr Bwire added.
The competition is led by Kenyan film producer Wangui Ngunjiri, with support from Ugandan film executive Joel Tugaineyo.
A festival jury is expected to be announced in late October.
“It is a pleasure for us to be able to open this window. The growth of our film industry and our towns will not happen without the effective participation of filmmakers. Our hope is to get as many Kenyan and Ugandan films submitted,” Mr Ngunjiri said.
Submissions will be received on the online portal Film Freeway under the event title “Kitale Film Week”.
The idea for a film festival in Kitale comes as Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya has expressed his determination to improve tourism in the county.
Some of the biggest festivals in the world, such as Cannes, Toronto, Venice and Busan, have defined cities and countries and invited significant attention to the offerings of the cities they are situated in.
Nation.Africa understands that Kitale Film Week seeks to continue this trend by creating a cinematic spectacle at the heart of Trans Nzoia.
“We are not just about screening films. This festival will have lots of storytelling from local people, food and trips to some of the most amazing but relatively unknown places in Trans Nzoia,” Mr Bwire said.
“We are also running workshops for screenwriters, film editors and directors and, if all goes well, a short film fund to support our storytellers to make a leap into filmmaking.”
The festival kicks off its pre-festival programme this September with outdoor screenings of Biko Nyongesa’s comedy feature “Get Some Money” (2017”, seeking to introduce the event to the county's rural communities.
Mr Nyongesa, a native of Trans Nzoia, has directed other films, such as “Napunyi” (2020).
Kitale Film Week arose from the belief in the power of cinema and heritage, and on the backdrop of successful film events in Kitale and elsewhere in Kenya by the organising team, which previously planned and managed the Festivals of Dots (2016, Nairobi) and The Hip Hop Film Festival (2018, Nairobi), Mr Bwire said.
He also launched the award-winning short film ‘Raised’ in Kitale in March 2022, which was well attended by an enthusiastic crowd.
A staunch believer in the power of cinema where the development of sustainable cities is concerned, Mr Bwire’s passion goes back a few years.
As a Chevening scholar in 2019, he presented on the role of film in city building at a conference in Manchester, UK.
He has seen many film projects stall due to a difficult terrain for local filmmakers, most notably his own production, “The Schemer”, set in Kitale and Kapenguria, which has slowed down since early 2020.
This festival, he believes, prepares the ground for film audiences and creates demand for local stories, which will make it easier for filmmakers to create and finance more films.