Kenyan film, Safari, will have its world premiere at the children’s media festival, The Cinekid Festival, in the Netherlands on October 17 2022. The film is produced by Rocque Pictures Ltd and directed by Kenyan Bill Afwani, and distributed by Rushlake Media.
Rushlake Media acquired the film for international sales prior to the festival selection and will represent the film globally. Rushlake Media, with offices in Cologne, Germany and Nairobi, Kenya. It is a multi-platform network with a presence in the African market. Safari is the latest film aimed at young audiences, following on from the company’s global success with the films Supa Modo and Liyana.
The film is a story that centres around Safari and his quest to experience Kenya. Safari, a wheelchair-bound boy is taken on an adventure by the cheeky girl next door, Kiki. Together, they try to see as many wild animals in real life as possible, and above all elephant Jumbo. They come across evil poachers who make money hunting animals. The tale of Safari and his friend Kiki’s adventure touches on many elements of life in rural Kenya today. This is from living with disabilities to poaching yet still manages to convey the playfulness of traditional children’s adventure stories.
Director Bill Afwani explained the inspiration for the film, “In my childhood, heart-warming movies of adventurous kids having fun at the same time escaping perilous grounds always transported me to a visceral fantasy world that I wished I could physically experience. Movies like Home Alone, Free Willy, and Africa United that showed fun-loving children in dangerous situations exhibiting heroic characteristics kept kids glued. Safari is the movie I wish to have watched when young.”
Director Bill Afwani is a film graduate from Kenyatta University. He started his career directing the award winning short film Sticking Ribbons for which he won Best East African Talent at the 2014 Zanzibar International film festival. Safari is his feature length film directorial debut.
Ruguru Phoebe, the film’s Producer, has twice been nominated as Young Achiever of the Year by African Women in Europe, and recognized winner of the same title by Women for Africa, 2016. Her first short film Saidia (2014), won Best Young Filmmaker at the Modern Day Slavery Competition in London. Ruguru is the only Kenyan filmmaker to win best Film in Africa, at the AMVCA. Currently Ruguru works for Africa’s biggest broadcaster DSTV as a content executive.
The film’s writer and director, Njue Kevin has directed several award winning short films, before making his feature film debut, 18 Hours. The film was nominated at the Africa Movie Academy Awards for Best First Feature Film by a Director. Njue was also featured on the Top 40 under 40 list by Business Daily Africa and most notably the FORBES 30 under 30 (Creatives in Africa) 2019.
The film was partially funded by the Kenya Film Commission (KFC), a state corporation under the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs.