MACHAKOS WINS BIG, AND ‘THE ROTTEN TOMATO’
The Machakos Short film festival is now indisputably the most competitive awards festival in Kenya. Only in its second year, the festival has done what its forerunners have not managed to do- raise the spirits of practitioners and made the audience aware of the potential in the Kenyan film industry.
The third edition was held on 15th December 2018 at Machakos people’s park. It was the last event in a day full of activities all organized by the county. The first event was awarding of cyclists who had taken part in another competition, Tour De Machakos, the total prize money was a million Kenyan shillings. This was followed by another million shilling award for the best choirs that had participated in yet another competition for choirs.
The two million shilling prize money film festival gala kicked off late as the choirs took their time to clear the stage. This did not dampen the spirits of practitioners who had arrived as early as 1pm. Notable among the people who patiently waited for the gala to start was the CEO of Kenya Film Classification Board(KFCB), Dr. Ezekiel Mutua. KFCB’S presence was heavy as they provided buses for practitioners coming from Nairobi. Although there was no emphasis on the dress code, fashion enthusiasts would be excited as the artists showed up in flowing gowns, well made African outfits, and of course suits.
Finally the gala started albeit late. There was no time to screen the movies so it was directly to the awarding of winners. Cheers rang out as the winners were announced including the schools category among others.
For the first time ever, there was no dispute over the number one film Wakamba Forever, that scooped the people’s choice award and the jury’s award for the best overall film. There was however general discontent over the number 2 best overall film. This was KIU. Surprisingly it had not been mentioned anywhere among the top 5 films throughout the awarding so when Mr Peter Mutie announced it as the 2nd best claiming the prize money of Kshs 500,000, there was silence all over the park. No one could tell how it surpassed films like Numbers, What’s on your Mind, Viral, or even Solo. It felt like a rotten tomato discovered in a crate of high quality tomatoes ready for export. So scandalous it was that there was even no one who went to the podium to receive the trophy. I asked the CEO of MACHAWOOD, Mr. Victor Muniafu about it after the ceremony and he could only say, “KIU is a very interesting story”. I guess all the participants will get to know why as they have been invited for a briefing in January 2019 on how everything was done. The transparency at Machawood makes it a cut above the rest.
Watch all the 2018 films here.
KFCB promised 5 million in prize money for the 2019 edition and this could be another high stakes edition. Mr Muniafu and his team should be commended for a job well done. The only fear is what will happen when the current Governor of Machakos Dr Alfred Mutua is out of office. Will MachaFest, as we know it, still exist? What measures have been taken to ensure it will be there long after the current administration is gone?
Click here for the full list of winners.
Article by Tash Mitambo