I’m a sucker for solid political thrillers, and this one definitely has my attention, if only because it’s set in an African country (Kenya), with a black African cast and crew, and is a 4th collaboration between German filmmaker Tom Tykwer’s One Fine Day Films, and Nairobi (Kenya)-based Ginger Ink – a project we first alerted you to a year ago, when it was beginning principal photography.
S&A has covered every film that’s been developed under the One Fine Day Films/Ginger Ink collab: “Soul Boy,” from director Hawa Essuman, “Nairobi Half Life,” from director David Tosh Gitonga, and most recently, “Something Necessary,” from another Kenyan filmmaker in Judy Kibinge.
Their next feature, which is titled “Veve,” is written by Natasha Likimani, and directed by Simon Mukali.
The word “Veve” is a slang word for what is internationally known as khat or miraa – a mild narcotic drug.
The film “Veve” follows the lives of multiple characters caught up in a world of political intrigue set against the backdrop of the thriving yet unregulated veve business. Amos, an ambitious politician, is running for another term as a Member of Parliament of Maua (a town in the Eastern Province of Kenya, where the film is set), whilst facing his opponent Wadu in the extension of his veve empire. His wife Esther discovers the true nature of his affairs and seeks solace in Kenzo, a conflicted young man out to seek vengeance for his father’s death. Sammy – Amos’ right hand man – has to choose between being loyal to his work, and being a caring father to his 12-year-old son Kago. Maua´s veve farmers want to form a union to force Amos to pay decent prices for their veve. Clint, a hedonistic wannabe documentary filmmaker meddles to far, blind of the dangers he is putting himself and others into. All are in search of purpose not knowing, that their destinies are entwined in more ways than they imagine.
It’s a political thriller, with the battle for control of one Kenya’s largest cash crops at its core, with a cast of eclectic characters all seemingly a threat to the existing monopoly, and the ramifications of resulting actions taken by each.
When it went into production, there was a lot of local buzz around the film – excitement that it has the potential to be an international hit. It made its world premiere at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) last month. No word on where it’ll travel to next, but we’ll keep you informed.
Starring in the film are a cast of local actors including Adam Peevers, Emo Rugene, Lizz Njagah and Victor Kizito.
Check out the first trailer: