I am surprised we haven't profiled this film yet…
Directed by Rolie Nikiwe, the South African narrative feature Inside Story, had its world premiere in Johannesburg last December. The film, which intertwines a fictional dramatic story and real science to illustrate how the HIV virus affects the human anatomy, screened at the Pan African Film Festival this weekend.
Inside Story's script was written by Gillian Breslin, Darrel Bristow-Bovey and Sunu Gonera based on a story by Sheila Curran Bernard (Slavery By Another Name) and Roger Smith. The film stars newcomers Kevin Ndege Mamboleo in the lead role of "Kalu" and Kendra Etufunwa as his girlfriend "Ify".
Here's a long synopsis from the film's website:
On a dusty soccer pitch in Malindi, Kenya young Kalu (Kevin Ndege Mamboleo) is an aggressive striker of the “Malindi Sharks,” who dreams of playing professional soccer. He’s a selfish player and a clear stand out on his team and knows he’s destined for glory. Then one day his life dramatically changes. Kalu gets an offer to play soccer on a second tier team in South Africa on the same day his father is killed in an accident and he unknowingly is exposed to the HIV virus. He makes the decision to go play soccer and send part of his salary back to home to his mother (Regina-Re) and sister.
Kalu moves from rural Kenya to urban Johannesburg to discover he’s no longer a local hero. He even meets resistance from his own team. Spikiri (Sdumo Mtshali), the Black Star’s captain and starting striker, stakes out his turf and greets Kalu with aggression. All the while, inside Kalu's body a battle for his T-Cells rages as the HIV virus spreads. Back on the soccer field, Kalu's new coach, Valentine (Hakeem Kae-Kazim), must convince his players to forget their differences and play as a team. As Kalu struggles to find his way in a strange place, he begins a tepid friendship with Iyf (Kendra Etufunwa), the coaches daughter, who offers him sound advice. Kalu's light-hearted Black Stars teammate, Jabu (Seth Zina) befriends him and helps Kalu turn rivals into teammates. Meanwhile Kalu and Ify’s friendship grows as Ify seeks out advice about how to thwart the unwanted advances of team owner Goodwill (Fana Mokoena) – who makes it clear that, if Ify will not be intimate with him, her father’s job is in jeopardy.
These battles on and off the field are the backdrop for a remarkable journey that unfolds the mysteries and reveals the facts of the HIV virus within Kalu. Together, we race past skin, bone, and muscle to reveal the high stakes game going on inside his body. We see the HIV virus' relentless attack of the body, previously normal T-Cells transfigured, and how the body tries to fight back.
Kalu struggles and triumphs as a soccer player and in his relationships, and as he confronts the challenges of HIV, and ultimately realizes that knowledge is power.
According to the film's website, Inside Story is headed for screenings in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya. Although, those dates are yet to be determined.
Take a look at the trailer: