July 17, 2013

Documentary Film Challenge-The Ultimate Award.

words of Joseph Matu

Every opportunity is a chance to make a difference, and comes with a lot of responsibility.
Each of the trainees in the Kibera Film School class of 2013 could feel the responsibility that the award from Influence Film Foundation www.influencefilmfoundation.com/ entailed. This did not in any way dampen the excitement and anticipation we all had. After all, we were the first class in Kibera Film School history to be given a chance to make a documentary that will be entirely funded from Europe.

We were to make up groups that will come up with ideas for a documentary. The ideas will be shortlisted to 3 finalists that will eventually be presented before a panel of judges who will select one to receive the funding to shoot and make it a reality.

Our finance manager Anne Mwaniki emphasized the need to have focus and dedication in this project as it was a maiden task, and the need for excellence in execution was mandatory. We all pledged to work hard and ensure the trust and belief bestowed on us was not in vain.
Joseph Matu listens keenly as Bade Aluoch presents his ideas for their documentary.

It has been a long journey in the last two months, as we have been doing research for our documentaries. The three finalist groups are doing very interesting stories related to our environment and urban slums. They are all inspiring and well-researched stories.

We have had eye opening sessions with Nathan Collet, a renowned film director. He advised us on the need to ensure that our stories have very strong visual aspects. Nathan ensures that we keep him updated on the story development, so that he can guide us and give us relevant feedback. He has made us see the setbacks we might have while shooting our stories, so we have to be more prepared.

Mercy Murugi an experienced producer and trustee of Hot Sun Foundation has given us valuable lessons on production. We are currently preparing to have an exercise in pitching with her this week. She has also taken us through enlightening sessions on budget preparation.

We also had a visit from Judy Kibinge, an award-winning director. Judy shared her insights on documentary making, and screened some of her documentaries, and a memorable Chinese documentary called ‘Please Vote Me’. She also took questions and advised us on script development.

In our field session we had the priveledge of being accompanied by Agur and Nick Kozak. They are professional photographers from Norway and Canada respectively. The two accompanied us on weekly trips to the field as we researched and interviewed our subjects. They taught us how to interact with the interviewees’ and make them feel comfortable and so make it easier for them to tell us their stories.  The two helped sharpen our photography skills and gave us tips on composition amongst other things.
We now have the entire schedule about the documentary shoot, and we have the three finalists.

The three stories are: -

 1. Destruction for survival. - This is centered on the destruction of Ngong forest.
 2. Ghetto Ambulance- A story about a taxi driver who uses his vehicle to rush critical slum residents to hospital at no cost.
 3. The 11 Brothers- this is about vigilante groups in 2nd largest slum in Africa, Kibera. 

They are all stories that will bring positive change to the society,
Keep it here to find out, which documentary we will be shooting later in the year. Whichever story wins, it will be victory for all of us at Kibera Film School. 

 Agur professional photographer from Canada.

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