I still haven’t seen the award-winning Kenyan crime drama, Nairobi Half Life, from director David Tosh Gitonga, which was Kenya’s selection for the Best Foreign Language Oscar category last year, making it just the second film from Kenya to be entered into the race; the first was 2008’s Heart of Fire, a Kenyan/German co-production about civil war in Eritrea.
However, despite the entry, the film didn’t make the short list of final nominations by the Academy for the 2009 Awards, and neither did Gitonga’s much-buzzed about new film.
It hasn’t screened in NYC yet, where I live, which is why I haven’t seen it.
But it looks like that might change, when the film will screen theatrical in 46 cinemas in the USA, for ONE DAY ONLY, THIS THURSDAY, March 21, 2013. The times vary, depending on the city and cinema, so you should follow THIS link for that info.
Here’s the deal… on March 21st, 2013, the film will screen in 46 cinemas across the USA, on that day, and audiences at each venue will VOTE, after seeing the film, on whether it should receive a one week theatrical release at their theater. If the majority vote “yes” then the film will return to that cinema for a week-long theatrical run. If the majority vote “no,” then, well, then it won’t.
This is all courtesy of The Feature Film Project initiative, which I actually think is a cool idea, especially for those indie films that screen at film festivals, and end up without distribution. Filmmakers can submit their films to be considered for this voting process.
Gitonga’s Nairobi Half Life centers on an aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya, who dreams of becoming a success. In pursuit of this, he makes his way to Nairobi, supposedly the city of opportunity, and faces a different reality when he arrives, and instead falls into a life of crime.
The film is a co-production project between One Fine Day Films (founded by German filmmaker Tom Tykwer (Run Lola, Run, Perfume, Cloud Atlas) and his girlfriend/partner, Marie Steinmann, with the goal being to promote and support filmmaking for aspiring filmmakers in Kenya), and Nairobi-based production house Ginger Ink.
It stars Joseph K. Wairimu, Olwenya Maina, and Nancy Wanjiku Karanja.
Nairobi Half Life is director Gitonga’s feature film debut; previously, he served as assistant director on the Naomie Harris drama, The First Grader, as well as on a few short films, and a TV movie.
It made its world premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa over the summer, where star Joseph Wairimu, won the Best Actor Award.
Again, for all the participating cities & theaters, as well as exact screening times, click HERE.
A video pitch was put together specifically for this 1-day only screening, which includes contributions from key cast and crew, and is embedded below (underneath, you’ll find the trailer for the film):