Kenyan bags Best New Director award at Cape Town film festival

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The 2018 edition of the Cape Town International Film Market and Festival wrapped up on October 19 with a Gala Awards evening at the newly re-furbished Cape Town City Hall. With over 120 films in competition, across a range of categories, the various juries made up of film experts from home and afar did not have an easy task in selecting the Award winners.

This year’s festival once again focused a spotlight on various genres including documentary, feature and short films, as well as including themed awards such as Best LGBTQ, Best Asian Film, and a notable award for Best New Director.

CTIFMF festival director Leon van der Merwe had this to say of this year’s film selection, “The Festival Director would like to congratulate the winners and thank the various juries for the selection of the Awards. For more than a week the juries had the opportunity to watch films from around the world. 

The juries were especially impressed by the Asian features from countries such as Thailand, the Philippines and Taiwan that offered innovative aesthetic approaches to the subject matter. It was also a pleasure to experience the focus on contemporary Italian and Romanian cinema. The entries from across Africa also increased this year both in quantity and quality and it is clear that African film is on the cusp of a major resurgence.”

Kenyan director of Supa Modo, Likarion Wainaina, won the award for Best New Director in the new voices category and was described by the jury as “a true new voice of contemporary cinema. The director succeeds in bringing its audience into the shoes of a kid, showing us the world through her eyes, without ever trivialising or overdramatizing a difficult topic such as a child’s illness. The director shows an uncommon capacity of leading his actors and keeping a difficult balance between drama, comedy and fairy tale.

Kenyans also did well in the Works in Progress program with the jury, made up of filmmakers Arya Laloo and Mohamed Siam, sales agent Sara Sissoko from Memento, producer Dominique Welinsky, talent gent Cynthia Okoye and Cannes Semaine de la Critique Festival Program Manager Remi Bonhomme having this to say of The Letter by Maia Lekow and Chris King: 

“For the subtle way of dealing with witchcraft issues and allowing us, through the eyes of a young character, to get deep into a touching Kenyan grandma and her family, the Jury awarded 2 weeks of Sound Design by Raphsody and 2 Weeks of Final Sound Mix by The Moving Billboard Picture Company to The Letter.

Kenya’s Mugambi Nthiga was a cowriter on two of the latest Kenyan festival hits, Kathi Kathi and SUPAMODO, which screened as part of the 2018 Festival Program. For its engaging characters and its unexpected and clever use of genre elements to tackle a problem too often ignored in African societies that is post traumatic stress disorder, the jury gives the subtitling and credits award to Lusala.

The overall winner of the year’s Cape Town International Film Market and Festival, recipient of three awards including the most coveted award of the night, The Grand Prix, as well as awards for Best Director Award and Best Actor was the Italian film, Dogman. The film competed at this past year’s Cannes Film Festival where Marcello Fonte also won for Best Actor.

The CTIFMF’s Opening Film, and South Africa’s official submission for the Oscar’s, Sew the Winter to My Skin, directed by Jahmil X. T Qubeka, won the Award for Best South African Feature Film, whilst Rehad Desai’s Everything Must Fall won Best South African Documentary, and the Best South African Short Film was won by Rea Moeti’s Mma Moeketsi, and South African film Kanarie also took home the award for Best LGBTQ Film.

Rafiq Samsodien, Chairman of the CTIFMF Board has been particularly excited about this year’s event, “I am so pleased with the outcomes of the festival, and we are definitely on the right growth trajectory. We had increased levels in participation both in terms of numbers and the standard of the festival and market submissions. The responses that we are getting from the delegates, festival goers, and filmmakers is a testament to this progress and we look forward to CTIFMF 2019.”

The Cape Town International Film Market and Festival has been presented in partnership with host city, The City of Cape Town.

Full awards results: