"Nairobi Half Life" is a motion picture written and directed by filmmakers from five African countries. Supported by German film director Tom Tykwer and DW Akademie, the African film is now also showing in Germany.
Mwas is a young Kenyan who has always wanted to become an actor. But Nairobi is a tough city to gain a foothold in and he struggles to survive the rampant urban violence and, in turn, to pursue his dream.
"Nairobi Half Life" is the result of an intense joint project. It began with a workshop for 57 young African filmmakers: directors, actors, producers, camera operators, screenwriters, editors, and sound and lighting engineers. The top participants were then chosen to create a motion picture and additional workshops helped them develop their existing skills. The focus was on developing a cinematic language and putting ideas and concepts into practice.
The screenplay was written in Swahili, Kikuyu and street slang, and was directed by Tosh Gitonga, a novice Kenyan film director. Joseph Wairimu played the main character, Mwas, and was awarded "best actor" at this year's Durban International Film Festival. The jury praised the way he had embodied young Kenyans craving for a better life.
After premiering in Kenya the motion picture will be also shown in several German cities this October. The cities include Berlin, Cologne and Munich. Director Tosh Gitonga and actor Joseph Wairimu will be present at the showings.
This joint initiative by Tom Tykwer's One Fine Day Films production company, DW Akademie and the Kenya-based production company, Ginger Ink., aims to support the production of modern African films. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the "Film und Medienstiftung NRW", the Goethe-Institut Kenya and the ARRI Film & TV Services.