Udada is the Kiswahili word for sisterhood and in the spirit of sisterhood the partnership between the International Images film festival and the Udada film festival continues to thrive.
This year the IIFF Mini Fest at UDADA was held for the third time running. The Mini Fest is part of a project that has seen IIFF expand to Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, South Africa and Somalia in the past three years.
The vibrant creative hub PAWA 254 was the main venue for activities and students programs were held at the Multi Media University and The Kenya Institute of Mass communication. Audiences at all venues were treated to a showcase of films from Egypt, Tanzania, Canada, Zimbabwe, South Africa, France and Senegal. The students were very happy to engage with both content of the films and their technical aspects. This provided for interesting debates and insights into the African Film industry. AISHA, the IIFF audience award winning film from Tanzania, was the highlight of the film program. Shot in Kiswahili, it was an immediate hit with the audiences in Kenya. The story was also well received and its subject, justice for survivors of sexual violence made it appealing to all the women in the audience. The men also appreciated the male point of view provided by the film. Aisha, the protagonist was a favourite as the audience joined her journey from being a victim of gang rape to becoming the heroine of the story.
IIFF activities were complemented by Institute of Creative for Progress in Africa (ICAPA) programs held concurrently. These include the pre-production workshop and a meeting for African women film-makers. The two are part of the African Women Film-makers Hub launched in Harare during IIFF 2016. The pre-production workshop received overwhelming application from young film-makers in Kenya. Eight participants were chosen. Zimbabwean filmmaker and ICAPA director Tsitsi Dangarembga co-facilitated the workshop with Kenyan counterpart Wanjiru Kinyanjui. The young filmmakers were taken through paces of pre-production and also received mentorship in scriptwriting.
The African Women Filmmaker’s Hub meeting was held as a follow up to the inaugural meeting held in Harare. It provided a platform for Kenyan women to brainstorm new strategies and alliances to grow their industry and to ensure their equitable participation. The meeting was attended by filmmakers, broadcasters and Udada partners. A closing gala held at PAWA 254 provided the perfect ending to the activities. Winning filmmakers at Udada were awarded and the workshop participants got their moment in the spotlight when they went on stage to receive their certificates and gifts from IIFF. The partnership between IIFF and Udada is a perfect example of what women can achieve when they work together. It has led to more activities and new alliances and the hope is to realize production training and opportunities for women with women’s festivals acting as platforms for networking.