December 17, 2013

Announcing 1/2 Million Shilling Documentary Grant Winner

Press release                                          17 December 2013
Hot Sun Foundation in collaboration with Influence Film Foundation is proud to announce that Kevin Kiarie Kamau is the recipient of the first Influence Film Grant for his short film Destruction for Survival about deforestation of the Ngong Forest in Nairobi. 
The Influence Film Grant awards promising documentary filmmakers only at the Kibera Film School.
The grant is a unique opportunity for first time young directors to get a start in their career through

intensive mentorship and funding.
The Influence Film Grant is for 500,000 Kes to make the film and 100,000 Kes to market the film widely.

            My hope is that my film Destruction for Survival  will create an awareness             among the people of Kibera about the negative effects of deforestation                and the importance of conserving the Ngong Forest, which borders the slum.                                                                       Kevin Kiarie Kamau

To learn more about Influence Film
To learn more about Kibera Film School, subscribe to
their blog at
Follow them on facebook (kiberaschool)
twitter (@slumfilmschool)
To apply for the next Kibera Film School intake,
For more information or to interview Kevin, contact Roy Okello at


 Kibera Film School, please visit our Global Giving Page

November 30, 2013

Coming To Terms With Technical Aspect Of Filmmaking.

My name is Wambui Wanjoi, 

Iam 34 years of age and I live in Syokimau on the outscasts of Nairobi

I learnt about Kibera Film School through social media

Why did you join KFS?
I have always wanted to study flmmaking because its been my passion, just to tell my stories…Kenyan stories in my own way.

Describe your experience at KFS?
I have gotten to learn so much about filmmaking and the art of photography. I have also gotten to know so much about editing. It actually surprised me that I would be interested in this very technical aspect of filmmaking.

Your most challenging moment so far?
My most challenging moments I would say technical work.

The training at Kibera Film School been an eye opener to me.

Describe KFS in 3 words?



To support the great youth of the Kibera Film School, please visit our Global Giving Page

November 18, 2013

From Uganda To 'Kibera Film School' To Study Filmmaking.

My name is Lewis Mathew

I am 21 years.

I come from Jinja-Uganda

 Lewis Mathew

I got to know KFS while volunteering for the 3rd edition of Slum Film Festival

Why did you join KFS?
The reason why I joined Kibera Film School is because I want to be a good video editor and camera person…be the best Ugandan filmmaker.

Describe your experience at KFS?
At KFS, I have done a lot of networking, I have met many focused talented souls. I have gotten the chance to interact with caring, talented creatives who really love what they do. The trainers are willing to share what they know to us the trainees, the experience is fun and challenging.

Your most challenging moment so far?
Scriptwriting has been my major challenge. Having to come up with a 2-minute final script has been a challenge, but am on the right track. 

Describe KFS in 3 words?
Encouraging, Unique, Fun.

Mathew in red sweater with some of his classmates
 Some of Mathew's classmates in Videography class

To support the great youth of the Kibera Film School, please visit our Global Giving Page

November 16, 2013

Have Fun.

Yes Have fun!

Filmmaking is never that serious ...and apart from learning the skills trainees at Kibera Film School are encouraged to simply Have Fun! 

  • Discuss what you want in terms of cause, not effect. Not “I want you to look away from him” but “Your character can’t stand to look at him.” It will make more sense to them. 
  • If there’s something that needs doing and not enough people to do it...DO IT.
  • It is not cool to waste somebody else’s money
  • Don’t short-change yourself 
  • Learn about budgets

 Trainees practicing how to frame shots

KFS trainees all smiles.

Simply Have Fun!

To support the great youth of the Kibera Film School, please visit our Global Giving Page

November 5, 2013

A Donation Befitting A Journalism Student.

Happy moment's for Evans Mikel a journalism student at Zetech College after receiving a hard drive donation from Hot Sun Foundation, for his school work.


 Evans Mikel all smiles

To support the great youth of the Kibera Film School, please visit our Global Giving Page

November 4, 2013

What makes a great short film?

What makes a great short film?

As part of the 5 months hands-on film training trainees create two minute "My World" short films. Awhile back  Heinz Hermanns, from Interfilm Berlin visited us and we had a discussion on what makes a good short film.

Preproduction and feedback  are CRUCIAL to filmmaking
Filmmakers in Kenya need to be more critical. Exchange your ideas, scripts: get and give feedback.  Must have a great story or you don't have a film.  Get feedback from the beginning of the concept.

Short film: must have an audio visual concept, seduce the spectator to take part emotionally and intellectually

Short film: must work immediately, grab attention of audience, something interesting,
Must be visual.
Story development: must work.  Can make NO mistakes (feature films can have some)
Short film must be more original than a feature film, have something special. Very little time to tell the story
MUST BE COMPLETE: with an ending… not just stop

Components of a great short film:
Plan:the look of the film
Color concept: palette
Sound: must develop the audio concept before shooting. MUST have quality sound.
Suggest: Be careful with music, especially piano music which can overwhelm the visual. 
Casting: Actors key
Camera: must hold attention of audience
Every frame is a composition like a painting

Some elements of bad short films
            Too long
            Do not care about your audience
            TV aesthetics
            A copy of another film or story
            Choose team carefully
            Seduce not provoke audience
            Accept criticism
            Don't make it too personal
            Not a slide show of a series of stills
            MUST have good sound and sound concept

October 29, 2013

Desperate Hours For A Script Student.


Every deserving screenplay eventually finds a buyer to option or purchase the material. There are no exceptions. Peter Kim

As a trainee writing a screenplay for the first time is a challenge. You don't know what to say where, where to bring a twist, climax or ending. As time goes by with consistent writing and reading you get to grasp how to write a compelling screenplay. After undergoing a rigorous scriptwriting class you get to know how to:-
  • Each story needs a hero, he or she must undergo an ordeal to seize his prize.
  • Every story is incomplete without a villain
  • all heroes always refuse the call to action at some point
  • Sum up your plot in 30 words or less when telling it to friend, critics or pitching
  • Make your first line of your story compelling otherwise you'll loose most readers
  • Give your character a mentor to help them through their problems
  • Every story has a turning point and your hero has to complete the task
  • Your story must have an underlying message some refer to them as themes
  • Most people enjoy a feel-good story, once in a while write one. 
Trainees in class writing their scripts

Script instructor Florence Anyango listens to a trainee plot

Dwayne Johnson-Cochran Hollywood screen writer, producer, director during script power workshop 

By the end of the day a hands-on training is the best way to learn how to write screenplays. Enroll at Kibera Film School.

To support the great youth of the Kibera Film School, please visit our Global Giving Page

October 24, 2013

Lighting Kit Gift From ARRI For Trainees At Kibera Film School.

By Joash Mageto

Light is light and does not change as we change formats and locations. Lighting is more than just lamps and hardware.  It is about controlling and shaping the light.  The behind-the-scenes production of any film, large/small, relies on the work and careful detail of several key crew members who help make the production possible. Among that crew is the "lighting crew." You definitely do not realize it when you watch a film, but each scene required several minutes (if not hours) of carefully placed lights to make the scene look great on film. 

A few weeks back a team from ARRI, Thomas Binsert, Harth Muth and Nyokabi Kahura, producer and managing director at African Visuals media ltd came to visit Kibera Film School. After touring the office and watching short films by trainees they promised to donate lights and they kept their promise. With this gift trainees at Kibera Film School will be able to make the scenes of their sets look realistic and help establish mood.

Hart Muth Glaser at the reception

Nyokabi Kahura producer and managing director African visuals media ltd

Thomas Binsert...Arri sales director Africa

Trainees with the light kit donated by ARRI

We thank you for these amazing gift.

To support the great youth of the Kibera Film School, please visit our Global Giving Page

October 17, 2013

Think Safety First.

Why is fire safety and first aid training important to filmmakers?

Fire fighting is one of the most essential services of an organized society.
  • Less fire safety, more risk, fire safety training , no risk
  • Fire safety on, accidents gone
  • Accident brings tears, fire safety brings cheers
  • Be alert avert fire
  • Practice an escape plan from every room in the house-everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot 
  • Never overload circuits or extension cords.  shut off and unplug appliances that spark or emit an unusual smell, have them professionally repaired or replaced. 
Film sets are the most disaster prone environments. We had an opportunity to prepare our trainees and staff through fire safety  and first aid training.

 Fire instructor shows.. fire extinguishers have different applications

 The fire fighting pose

First aid tips

 Aida tries her hand as a fire fighter

The fire fighting team

Roy Okello
The life of a filmmaker and his/her equipment are the key to him/her achieving a great picture. Its prudent to train them in case of an emergency.

Anne Mwaniki
This would ensure that filmmakers have secure sets  and incase of anything they know how to take care of it. 

To support the great youth of the Kibera Film School, please visit our Global Giving Page

October 10, 2013

Nathan Abusho 'Kibera Film School' my second home.

On 25th March,  2013 which was on a Monday was my first day in Kibera film school, we started our day with orientation and Anne  took us through the whole building then we settled down. Anne and Josphat took us through the code of conduct where we enjoyed every part of it then later in the afternoon we signed the contract forms and this marked a new page in my life.
Nathan with fellow trainees WaKaggai and Charles 

The next day was 26th March where Joash, introduced us to the equipment where I learnt about various equipment like how to connect Mac minis, cameras, how to care for the equipment etc, this was the most practical lesson that I enjoyed every part of it.

Later we were  then taken through social networking session by Pamela where we were introduced on how social websites work how to be active in social networking websites. 

I came to understand 'what is a story?' now I can write unlike in the past, where I would scribble a few lines, thanks to our script writing teacher Florence.

Over the last six months the amazing, film training unrivaled in the country has not only opened my eyes but turned me from a novice to a filmmaker. I have learnt that:   

               . While shooting i have learnt always to slate my shorts.
               . Write compelling scripts.
               . Work as a team.
               . Passion without hard work is a pipe dream.

7th class trainees

To support the great youth of the Kibera Film School, please visit our Global Giving Page

September 16, 2013

Tips for Slum Filmmakers

DON’T NEGLECT THE BASICS. Audiences will forgive a lot of technical flaws in your film if your story is compelling, your actors are engaging or your jokes are funny—but there’s still a threshold point where the technical mistakes start to get in the way. That point is usually when they’re no longer able to clearly see, hear or follow what’s going on. So get to know your equipment, and practice with it. Learn the basics of shot composition. Do your best to record quality sound, and if that’s beyond your means, make a silent movie—there’s too much talking in most movies anyway.

EMBRACE LIMITS.  The limitations of teenage filmmaking can often be discouraging. How the hell are you supposed to make a great film when all you’ve got is this crappy camera and your stupid friends? Well, the first step is to change your attitude. There’s an old French filmmaker named Robert Bresson who said, “Someone who can work with the minimum can work with the most. One who can with the most cannot, inevitably, with the minimum.” In other words, you should be celebrating the fact that all you’ve got is a crappy camera and some stupid friends: that means all your solutions to the problems you encounter are going to have to be creative ones, and as Robert Rodriguez wrote, “that can make all the difference between something fresh and different and something processed and stale.”

 DON’T GIVE UP. If you haven’t failed at filmmaking yet, then you probably weren’t being ambitious enough. If you have, congratulations; you’re on way to becoming a great filmmaker. Just keep at it, and as Beckett put it, “fail better” next time.
Finally, the über-rule which contradicts all the other ones:

 DON’T LISTEN TO ANYONE. Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman famously said of the film world that “nobody knows anything”; and it’s true. That doesn’t mean you should ignore everything anyone tells you, but if you’re really passionate about a project, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Make the film that you want to make—not the film you think people want to see, or the film your teachers or your parents want you to make. Most of all, don’t listen to people who say that you can’t do something, or that what you’re aiming for isn’t possible. I’ve argued above that limitations are your friend, but the types of restrictions that really get in the way are the ones that you let get stuck inside your own head. Who says films have to cost a certain amount, look a certain way, be made a certain way, or contain this element or that one?

To support the great youth of the Kibera Film School, please visit our Global Giving Page

September 13, 2013

Tips For young Filmmakers.

STUDY FILMS. A lot of the mistakes that young filmmakers make could be avoided if teenagers actually just paid attention to their favourite films. Pick a movie you love and watch it with the sound down; look closely at the camera angles, the editing and the lighting. Watch short films on Youtube and see how an effective story can be told in five minutes. You won’t be able to match the production value of these films—and you don’t need to, anyway—but oftentimes the craft of good filmmaking doesn’t cost any money. You just have to actually watch films.

PUSH YOURSELF. Every film you make should teach you something you didn’t know before, and achieve something you didn’t know you were capable of. This doesn’t mean you have to go out every time and do something that you have no idea how to do. You should draw on the skills and techniques you’ve already learned—but if you’re not building on them, if you’re not pushing yourself further in some way, you’re playing it safe. It will show.

YOU CAN’T BEAT HOLLYWOOD. Tempting as it may be to try to imitate the style and gloss of your favourite blockbusters, let’s face it; the game is rigged in their favour. You can try, and your failure may be unique and interesting (or at least funny) in its own right—but you can also just do your own thing, and try something that the studios wouldn’t have the balls or the imagination to do in the first place.

WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT. Don’t write that epic crowd scene unless you know there’s a festival happening next week that you can steal as a backdrop. Play to your strengths. There’s probably something unique that you or your family have access to that you can use in your movie. If your dad has a tractor, write a movie around that. If he doesn’t, don’t.

To support the great youth of the Kibera Film School, please visit our Global Giving Page
It's not just a name welcome and learn the art of filmmaking. Our training is hands-on.