Presented by the Goethe-Institut
Co-presented by the Toronto Black Film Festival
In 2008, Berlin director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run; Cloud Atlas) started to invite African filmmakers to write and produce their own stories. A decade later, his project One Fine Day Films has mentored 1000 filmmakers from 21 African countries. GOETHE FILMS highlights 6 Kenyan-German features that have come out of these collaborations and have won awards from Los Angeles to Rotterdam.
A showcase of new directions.
Nairobi Half Life (Kenya, Germany 2012, 96 min) by Tosh Gitonga
Language: Swahili, Kikuyu, English & Sheng, with English subtitles
Best Picture, Kalasha Film Fest Nairobi 2012
Best Festival Feature, Take One Awards UK 2012
Breakthrough Award, AFI Fest 2012
Winner of the New Directors Competition, Nashville Film Festival 2013
Best Cinematographer, Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards 2014
Nominated for Black Reel Award, São Paulo 2012
Festivals 2012: Durban International Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival (Korea), 43rd International Film Festival India, Dubai International Film Festival, Santa Fe Film Festival 2013: Toronto Black Film Festival, International Film Fest Rotterdam, 36th Portland International Film Festival
A young, aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya dreams of becoming a success in the big city. In pursuit of this and to the chagrin of his brother and parents, he makes his way to Nairobi. He quickly understands why Nairobi is nicknamed Nairobbery as he is robbed of all his money and belongings and left alone in a city where he doesn’t know a soul. Luck, or the lack of it, brings him face to face with two groups of downtown crooks and he forms a friendship with a young small time gang leader who takes him in.
Gitonga's directorial debut was the first ever Kenyan film entry to the Oscars and remains one of the most successful films ever in Kenyan filmmaking history with local cinemas being sold out for up to six weeks after its premiere.
“The film provides a sharp portrait of many different strata of Nairobi neighborhoods and lifestyles, which helps freshen the fundamentally Dickensian nature of the story. Technical quality is tops, the score provides a strong pulse, and the cast is strongly appealing no matter how sketchy their characters may be.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“Tosh Gitonga’s first feature seldom surprises with its familiar tale of a country bumpkin sucked into criminal doings while trying to make it in the big city, but it also avoids cheap melodrama or sentimentality. Gritty without being too downbeat, the film was a home-turf hit, and should find a warmer welcome than usual for African features offshore, at least in home formats.” – Variety
Tosh Gitonga was born in the small town of Nanyuki in Eastern Kenya. He studied at the Kenya Institute of Marketing, where he started an internship at the production company Baraka Films. There he was introduced to the world of film and worked as a production assistant on his first feature film DANGEROUS AFFAIRS. In 2010 he enrolled in the One Fine Day Film workshop, where he was selected to direct his first feature film NAIROBI HALF LIFE under the supervision of Tom Tykwer.
All GOETHE FILMS are open to audiences 18+
Part of the Goethe-Institut's focus on German film