On 25th September 2020, Kenya Film Commission redefined the history of Kenya’s film industry with the launch of the Drive-In Cinema for the premiere of “Uradi” at the Galleria Mall in Nairobi. This marked a new era of entertainment experience like no other in modern history. To achieve its mission of creating a vibrant and robust film industry as well as promote a culture of more Kenyans watching local films, KFC adopted the Drive-In Cinema Experience concept to screen local films to the public.
“Uradi” is a film based on a true story that highlights the plight of the Kenyan youth who are easily lured into crime, drugs and radicalization. Komu (played by Bilal Mwaura) is a young man who leaves his rural home for admission into a University in Nairobi. Peer pressure pushes the desire of the high life in him and to make ends meet, he is forced into petty crime not knowing that the allure of quick money will slowly land him into the dangerous territories of radicalization and terrorism. Turning back becomes a daunting task.
The film was produced and directed by Kang’ethe Mungai, founder of Kikwetu Productions – the company that also produced the award-winning film “World Tofauti”. Kang’ethe is the current Chairman of the Riverwood Filmmakers Association. Speaking at the premiere, Kang’ethe noted that the film was also aimed at showcasing the enormous amount of hard work and dedication that is put up by the law enforcement agencies behind the scenes which mostly goes unreported and uncelebrated. He also emphasized that with proper distribution channels for Kenyan content, Kenyan Producers are able to finance more content.
The premiere of “Uradi” was attended by Government officials from the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs led by Principal Secretary, State Department of Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Ms. Esther Koimett and Cabinet Administrative Secretary Ms. Nadia Ahmed Abdalla. Other dignitaries included Communication Authority’s Director General, Ms. Mercy Wanjau, Multichoice Kenya’s Managing Director, Ms. Nancy Matimu, Kenya Film Classification Board’s CEO, Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, Standard Media Group’s CEO Mr Orlando Lyomu, StarTimes’ CEO Mr. Hanson Wang and HEVA Fund’s Managing Partner Mr. George Gachara as well as representatives from various institutions including the Department of Film Services, German Embassy, Goethe Institute, United States International University – Africa, Kenyatta University, Daystar University among others. Also present were the cast and crew of the film namely: Bilal Mwaura, Chris Kamau, Robert Agengo, Gerald Langiri, Nice Githinji, among others.
Speaking at the premiere, the PS, Broadcasting, noted: “the Government is keen on promoting local productions and nurturing talent at a young age”. The sentiments were echoed by Ms. Nadia A. Abdalla who, in her speech on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary – Mr Joe Mucheru, Ms Nadia noted that the Government is keen to provide an enabling environment for film producers in the country by setting up supportive ICT infrastructure. “We urge private firms to partner with Government in creating opportunities thus ensuring multiple employment opportunities for the youth in the country”, added Ms. Nadia.
Also speaking at the premiere, KFC CEO Mr. Timothy Owase observed that the reintroduction of Drive-In Cinema is opening a myriad of opportunities to attract investment in the film industry in the country. He expressed the Commission’s mandate to supporting production of Kenyan content as a way to empower and give a push to the Kenyan film industry.
The heavy downpour notwithstanding, the Drive-In Cinema brought up a breath of fresh air for everyone to escape from isolation and enjoy some pleasant moments with their loved ones during these difficult times. With the great innovation being experienced during this COVID-19 period, KFC has embraced a new way of entertainment that is fun and compliant to the current guidelines affecting social gatherings to ensure that the Kenyan audience is watching Kenyan films.