Mkamzee Mwatela (left) and Mugambi Nthiga pose for a photo before gracing the stage at the launch of the 3rd Nairobi Film Festival at Prestige Cinema, Ngong Road

The third Nairobi Film Festival kicked off on Thursday 6th June with a lineup of narrative features, documentaries and short films. Films are set to screen from 6th June to 16th June at Prestige Cinema, Ngong Road.

 Adhering to its mission to bring the best of the independent cinema world to Nairobi, this year’s Festival is lined up with not only Kenyan films but also films from Africa and the Afro-Latin/Afro-Caribbean regions and the diaspora.

The lineup boasts of an array of genres surrounding the African diaspora and feature a multitude of emerging and veteran filmmakers. Each of this year’s selections tackle topical issues including, survival, violence, parenthood, health, love, forgiveness, mental illness and friendship.

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In her welcoming speech, Nairobi Film Festival co-founder Sheba Hirst said good story telling is key to entertaining Nairobi audiences and the festival plays a role of tastemaker.

“The festival also seeks to cultivate Kenya’s film industry by generating demand for the great films that are made in the country and raising the possibility of a commercially viable film business model and we are excited that this year we will be exploring more films beyond our Kenyan borders,” Sheba added.

She also highlighted the need for industry collaboration to foster connections and strengthen the local film industry through skills and knowledge exchange. “NBO3 will be co-hosting industry events together with local and international collaborators that will touch on ideation, pitching, production and distribution,” she concluded.

The Festival opened with the premier of a Mugambi Nthiga’s directorial debut, LUSALA.  Mugambi Nthiga previously co-wrote previous NBO Opening Night films Kati Kati and Supa Modo.

Lusala, tells the story of a young man rescued from his abusive upcountry home, who then moves in with an affluent Nairobi family. Years later, when he comes of age, he is imposed upon to leave the nest and start out life on his own. Eager and acquiescent at first, he makes the most of his new life, until the demons from his past return, and he is forced to face them alone.

Other feature films showing this year are Adama, Cook Off, Keteke , City of God, Subira, Miriam Mente , Talking About Trees, Yuli,  The Tokoloshe, Tango Negro, Sew the Winter to My Skin, My Friend Fela, Liyana, Akasha, The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia, Mercy of the Jungle, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Five Fingers for Marseilles and The Burial of Kojo.

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