The Kenya Film Commission has unveiled a jury of experts for the second edition of the “My Kenya My Story” mobile phone film competition. This is a competition for short Kenyan films shot exclusively using mobile phones. This year’s edition is themed “Mental Health and Wellness”. By close of submission on 19th July 2019, the competition had received 68 submissions from around the country.
The jury includes: Mr. Stephen Maina, Ms. Carole Gikandi, Mr. Benson Mutahi, Mr. Cosmas Bii and Dr. Violet Okech. The five-member Jury has been tasked to take part in reviewing the entries, shortlisting nominees and tallying of votes. The Jury vote will constitute 70% while an online public voting exercise will constitute 30% of the total vote.
The best short film will receive Ksh 200,000 while the first and second runners up will receive Ksh 150,000 and Ksh 100,000 respectively.
This competition seeks to inspire creativity among filmmakers in the country and to widen the scope of film making using smart phones. This year’s theme is geared towards highlighting the state of mental health in Kenya characterized by the rising number of mental disorder cases and associated crimes.
The winners of this edition will be announced on 23rd August 2019.
Stephen Maina is a Social Entrepreneur, IT Consultant and Sustainability Innovator who is enthusiastic about solving problems in Africa using technology such as Open Source Software, Mobile Connectivity, Cloud, AI, IoT and Blockchain. He holds a BSC Hons. Computer Science Degree from the School of Computing and Informatics of the University of Nairobi and is a certified Agile Scrum Master (PSM1) from Scrum.org. In 2010, he co-founded BTI Millman Co Ltd, now Competa Millman Ltd (www.competamillman.co.ke), a custom software development company that creates mobile data collection, analysis and dissemination solutions for corporate and Non-Governmental organizations in unconnected parts of Africa using SMS on low-end feature phones and apps on smartphones. In 2016, he co-founded www.imara.tv, a non-profit online personal TV that educates members of the public about health using entertainment films crowdsourced from Kenyan youth groups to create sustainable artistic and digital careers and wealth for the youth in the film industry while advocating for positive behavior change in the Kenyan society. He is also passionate about sharing his technical knowledge with high school and college graduates by training them on cutting edge software development methodologies in partnership with other organizations at www.codepamoja.org He is excited to be alive at a time when the world is waking up to Africa’s untapped potential and gladly plays his role in building a sustainable future that benefits all.
Bii K. Cosmas is a lecturer of film at Moi University. He is also film practitioner based in Eldoret. His scholarly and research interest is in African cinema and development of audiences for this cinema both locally and internationally. He was part of this year’s Kenya National Drama and Film Festival’s judges’ bench. His films have won in the Kalasha International TV and Film Market and Udada International Women’s Film Festival. His works have also been nominated in various other festivals. He is the current director of Eldoret Film Festival. His interest in the growth of the local film industry has led him to research and follow the trends in development of alternative platforms for film production, distribution and exhibition upon which My Kenya My Story Mobile Film Festival is part. He brings in a fascination with development of mobile phone cinema, its artistic/stylistic sensibilities and a keen interest on commercial viability of the mobile phone platform for filmmakers in the country.
Dr. Violet Okech – Helu is a Consultant Psychiatrist/ Counselor with more than 15 years of experience in the field of mental health. She chairs Adult Psychiatry and coordinates Mental Health Research at the Department of Mental Health, Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya.She is an Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Nairobi and played a key role in Mental Health Services development in Kenya and East Africa as the Founding President of the Eastern Africa Young Psychiatrists and Trainees Association (EAYPTA). Additionally, she was the first female to be the National Vice Chairperson of Kenya Psychiatric Association.Dr. Okech – Helu is an expert in Gender, HIV care and Public Mental Health and Policy. She is an alumnus of the Johns Hopkins University, USA, MPH (Masters in Public Health) and Fulbright Hubert. H. Humphrey Programs and of the University of Nairobi, Medical School. She is also the Kenya Psychiatric Association Ambassador to ADI.Dr. Okech – Helu is passionate about Women’s Mental Health, Mood Disorders, Dementia Care and promoting Quality, Dignified Care for the Elderly.
Benson Mutahi is currently the Community Manager at the globally recognized iHub but soon transitioning into the Aga Khan Media innovation center as the Center’s Community Manager. This position is all of Benson’s experiences, skills and talents coming together. Benson supports startups growth, creates the environment for connectivity, designs and manages events, creates and curates content, supports business development, helps build iHub networks, offers training of startups, blogs, uses his photography to bolster social media content which he actively handles. He works with communities of techies and entrepreneurs in building innovation and viable businesses and his career has seen him work in PR, HR, Management and Media through the iHubs News channel. Benson studied at USIU majoring in Management. He is big on people and his contribution to the community at large. He has developed the work and structure of a child based community organization known as “Color My World Kenya”. He has run this organization to see it hit many milestones, including Best Group Cancer Initiative Award by Eddah’s Hope Cancer Foundation. Benson has a passion for making lives of hospitalized children better.
Carole Gikandi is a creative storytelling Film Editor with over 20 years career experience in media and entertainment environments. She is highly adept on most editing platforms and the post production processes and workflows.Carole possesses excellent time management and organizational skills and works exceptionally well within cross-functional teams.
Carole’s film credits are impressive and include several international award-winning films at Kalasha Awards and the Zanzibar International Film Festival, including ‘Ndoto za Elibidi’, ‘Ni Sisi’, ‘Watatu’ and the Short Live Action Drama “Watu Wote’ nominated for an Oscar in 2018.
Carole has many “firsts” under her professional hat. She has worked on major international projects including top series for MNET Africa Magic, feature length movies, documentaries, training content and factual productions. She has been the series editor of five series of the highly acclaimed ‘Tazama!’ –Kenya’s first ever educational factual TV magazine show – rated second most popular program across Kenya. She has also been Editor and Director of three series of ‘Agenda Kenya’ – Kenya’s first ever series of ‘as-live’, audience-based, political talk shows.
She is very patient and has a keen eye for detail. She has worked as Series TV Editor and Director at Media Development in Africa (MEDEVA) and also as a senior online video editor at NTV. As a trainer, Carole has trained over 100 trainees in Video Editing techniques, Software and Filming for Editing. Many have gone on to set up their own businesses and are renowned filmmakers in the Kenyan Film industry. Carole has also had the opportunity of working with Independent Communication Associates (InCA) as Film Editor, where she collaborated with Mr. Richard Vaughan, an ex-BBC producer, on several landmark projects for BBC World, Discovery Channel and local NGO’s.