Gritty urban drama, Nairobi Half-Life wins Film Africa 2012 Audience award
Nairobi Half-Life, the gritty Kenyan film by first time director Tosh Gitongo scooped the audience award at the 2012 Film Africa festival. It was among over 70 films showing at the festival, which is now London’s biggest annual celebration of African Cinema and culture.
The audience award was presented at the last night of the festival by Marie Lora-Mungai, Founder and CEO of Buni TV. . Among the other films in the running for the award were Kunle Afolayan’s romantic comedy, Phone Swap, about a business executive who mistakenly trades phones with a fashion designer, and Skoonheid, directed by Oliver Hermanus about forbidden love in post-apartheid South Africa. The Film Africa audience award was launched this year, and in addition to the Film Africa Short Film Award aims to give greater recognition to up and coming African film makers.
Nine films were up for Film Africa’s Silver Baobab Award for Best Short African Film, won by Umkhongo, a south African fantasy thriller about an orphaned child with supernatural powers who is ‘adopted’ by a violent but empathetic tsotsi from the streets of Johannesburg.
Umkhongo, directed by Matthew Jankes, was made as part of Focus Feature Africa First, a progamme run to encourage first time African film-makers. There was an honourable mention for Flourescent Sin, a Kenyan film set in Nairobi’s iconic central station and featuring a lithe, majestic drag queen as its protagonist. The Silver Baobab Award was presented by South African writer, Nadia Davids.
Both awards attract a cash prize, a £2000 prize towards their next production for the winner of the The Silver Baobab short film award and £1000 cash prize for the winner of the Audience Award, sponsored by Buni TV and chosen through votes by Film Africa audiences.
The second annual Film Africa festival was organised by the Royal African Society and the School of Oriental and African Studies and took place from the 1st November – 11th November 2012.