30 August, 2011

KIMANI MARUGE'S “THE FIRST GRADER” SELECTED AS THE FESTIVAL OPENNER

“THE FIRST GRADER” SELECTED AS THE FESTIVAL OPENNER

…….As a record 450 films are received surpassing the set target of 365 films.

Nairobi August 30, 2011: The First grader, the movie about Mzee Maruge, the Kenyan octogenarian who enrolled in primary school in 2003 at the age of 84, will be the festival opener during the ten-day Kenya International Film Festival (KIFF) that will run from October, 21 this year.

The award winning film was selected by the Kenya International Film Festivals (KIFF) Trust as the festival opener because of its relevance and stature among so called “Kenyan films” that have been produced this year. The Festival organisers are currently reviewing over 450 films that have been received in preparation for the annual festivals that will have simultaneous screenings in Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa, Eldoret and Kisumu.


The Kenyan based film which was produced by Richard Harding of Sixth Sense Productions has already received ten awards from film festivals worldwide. The film which is based on the true story of Mzee Maruge who started school at the age of 84 features Kenyan actor Oliver Litondo starring as Maruge, also in the cast is award winning actress Naomi Harris as Maruge’s teacher, Vusi Kunene and Tony Kgoroge.

The film is based on the true story of Mzee Maruge, depicts him as an 86 year old man with a desire to read a letter from the Office of the President that had been addressed to him and he wanted to understand the contents of the letter, he is however unable to read as he has never been to school. He then enrolls to begin school upon the government’s directive to offer free primary education.

Mr. Charles Asiba the festival director said: “The film is very much in tune with our theme on leadership as it explores the opportunities that came in with a change in governance in Kenya that ushered in a new government that offered free primary education for all”.

This year’s film festivals whose themed is ‘Leadership; the Next Generation’ has surpassed its target of having 365 film. Forty five of the 450 films received by KIFF are Kenyan. The categories with highest entries were 106 short stories and 87 documentaries.

The country which sent in the most films was Kenya with 48 film entries, followed by Germany with 37 films and Poland with 32 films.

Other films that were received were 22 films in the Student films category, 21 Experimental films, 44 animation and 45 feature films.

Mr Asiba said : “From the few films that we have so far classified and had a quick look through, shows that the quality of entries this year have improved. We are very impressed by the level of creativity, style and approach displayed by film makers this year” remarked Asiba.

KIFF jury is currently reviewing the films and will announce and award the winners of each category during the festivals. The categories that will be awarded include Best Short film, Best Student film, Best documentary, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, Best East African Film, Best Feature Film as well as Special Jury prize.

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