“Watatu”, a Kenyan production movie confronting radicalisation will be the only African film to be screened at the Rome Film Festival (16th – 24th October 2015).
The film tells the story of three men whose lives become fatally entwined. It examines the relationships between different communities and cultures in modern day Mombasa, the anger and radicalisation of young people, and the solutions that can be found to unite them.
“Watatu” is a movie by a community-based performing group, SAFE Pwani. This is a Kenyan NGO and UK Charity that uses street theatre, film and community programmes to educate, inspire and deliver social change.
“Watatu” was directed by Nick Reding and stars Ali Mlatso, Benson Obiva and Said Muhsin.
Asked why they decided to produce a film focusing on radicalisation at the Kenyan coast, Mr Reding told MeltingpotNews.com: “Everything we do at the coast is being affected by this issue, whether it is our HIV program or our clean water program. There is a majority Muslim voice that is being silenced by a few extremist voices, and we felt we had a duty of care to the communities we have worked with for so many years to give a platform to that majority voice. The vast majority of Coastarians want to live peacefully and remain part of Kenya, and it is important for other Kenyans to hear that.”
“Watatu” has been “enthusiastically received by all sections of the community,” Mr Reding said. “Keeping trust and understanding between the different religious communities in Kenya is essential for a peaceful future. The forum aspect to the film is resonating particularly well with coastal communities as they feel their voice is being heard.”
Commenting on the fact that “Watatu” will be the only African movie at the Rome Film Festival, Mr Reding said: “Of course we would love to see more African cinema represented, and there are some great films out there. But we are delighted to be there and have the chance to showcase Kenyan talent at this great festival.”
By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a