Kenya Film Commission recently sponsored Mark Ayabei, a film producer and director of photography to attend the Silicon Valley African Film Festival where his film Clench was participating.
While in California, USA, Mark had the rare opportunity to be hosted by the Senate and Governor of California who praised and appreciated the film for the outstanding performance in using film as a vehicle for community engagement, education and strengthening culture and creativity.
“I thank the Kenya Film Commission for facilitating my air tickets and VISA to participate in the Silicon Valley African Film Festival. I think more of this support will empower filmmakers and inspire them to do more. The certificates of recognition are a testament that I can do more and that the Kenyan government, through the Commission is supporting me.”
Talking on his experience at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival Mark notes that he got an opportunity to visit Universal Studios, Facebook, YouTube, Google and Apple where he met various high profile personalities and attended multiple workshops. Here, he learnt important aspects of these Silicon Valley companies. As a creative in Kenya, he learnt how to enrich his content to reach the global stage.
Since the festival in October 2018, Mark has submitted another documentary titled Wakariru to the 2019 edition of the festival and will be travelling back to California later in the year. The film Wakariru, written by Wambui Kamiru, tells the story of the Kenyan Mau Mau fighters with a keen focus on highlighting the role of women in the war against colonizers. Earlier this year, he also submitted another documentary; Road Home to Mashariki African Film Festival in Kigali, Rwanda which generated great feedback from the audience at the festival.
The performance of these films clearly demonstrates the prowess of Kenyan creative in conveyance of the stories which has created international appeal.
Courtesy of the Commission’s support in July 2018, Clench featured at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. The film elicited a lot of interest from fellow filmmakers and corporates from Europe, noting the strength of the story and how relevant it is to the creative sector. Mark was part of a team of 11 Kenyan filmmakers who were sponsored with over half a million Kenyan shillings to attend the 21st edition of ZIFF.
Recapping his experience in both festivals, the elated Mark remarks “I’d like to thank the Commission for the support they are giving filmmakers to get their stories out and to show the world that Kenyan stories are great and should be told.”