The third Slum Film Festival came to a spectacular end yesterday at Alliance Francaise. This finale served both as an awarding ceremony and screening of the winning films. For a festival that has been in existence for just three years this was an outstanding feat given the challenges it has had to endure. I was first involved in this festival last year when I was invited to their presser and one year down the lane one can see tremendous growth of this festival.
During the closing night the representative for the Spanish Ambassador to Kenya pointed out the two reasons as to why they we’re involved in this project which they have been involved since inception with Hot Sun Foundation. The two main reasons for getting on board this festival were to;
- Get the voices emanating from the informal settlements in Kenya, and
- To expose, mould and mentor the talent that resides in the slums
During the screening of the winning shorts films reason number one was evident. The screening of the winning documentary, The story of the Urban Poor gives one a firsthand account of the life of one family with ten children living in one of the informal settlements of Nairobi. Every day is a hustle and the head of the family has to contend with providing one meal a day at most. The children go often go to school without breakfast. The documentary also, shows the government’s efforts of providing meals to schools around the informal settlements.
The other interesting observation from this documentary is one man’s waste is another man’s daily bread quite literally. One is exposed to the economy of waste. People in the informal settlements have to do with industrial and supermarket waste to live their lives.
The two other winners of the night were The Young Smoker – Nigeria and The Dream Catcher – Kenya. The young smoker is a short film on child smokers and the latter is about life of a young person in living in the informal settlement. The Nigeria film was excellently executed since in a span of less than five minutes it was over and one gets the point and the memory sticks to your head hover the same cannot be said about the dream catcher.
Slum Film Festival is a nice initiative which needs to be supported since it presents us with voices and narratives we normally do not come across and the festival provides the much needed distraction in the informal settlements of daily hustle. It is also serving as a launching pad for young film makers who otherwise might not have a chance to pitch their films to a wider audience.