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Kenyan filmmaker Mark Ayabei feted in California

The Kenya Film Commission (KFC) 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, he 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 me 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,” said Ayabei.

Talking on his experience at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival, he noted he got an opportunity to visit Universal Studios, Facebook, YouTube, Google and Apple where he met high profile personalities and attended multiple workshops.

While there, he learnt important aspects of the Silicon Valley giants. As a creative in Kenya, he learnt how to enrich his content to reach the global stage.

Since the festival in October 2018, Ayabei 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, 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 colonisers.

Earlier this year, he submitted another documentary titled 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 creatives in conveyance of the stories, which has created international appeal.

Courtesy of the KFC’s support in July 2018, Clench featured at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF).

The film elicited a lot of interest from fellow filmmakers and corporates from Europe, noting the strength of the story and how relevant it was to the creative sector.

Ayabei was part of a team of 11 Kenyan filmmakers who were sponsored with more than Sh500,000 to attend the 21st edition of ZIFF.

Recapping his experience in both festivals, the elated filmmaker remarks: “I’d like to thank the KFC 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.”

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