Kenyan film nominated for Oscar Awards

Watu Wote is based on an Al Shabaab bus attack in the northeastern border town of Mandera.

A screengrab of a scene from the short film Watu Wote. PHOTO | COURTESY 

IN SUMMARY

  • Watu Wote is based on an Al Shabaab bus attack in the northeastern border town of Mandera.

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A Kenyan film, based on an terrorist bus attack two years ago, has been nominated for Best Live Action short film at the 90th Oscar Awards.

The announcement was made on Tuesday afternoon just hours before the Nairobi premier of the Watu Wote (All of Us) film made by a German student.

The film was nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to compete with five other live action short films. The prestigious awards slated for March 4.

The film has already won over 35 film festival awards including the Gold Student Academy Award.

Watu Wote is based on an Al Shabaab bus attack in the northeastern border town of Mandera on December 21, 2015 in which two people were killed and several others injured.

The film centres on a religious conflict between Muslims and Christians sparked by brutal attacks by the Al Shabaab militia from neighbouring Somalia. The incessant anxiety created by the conflict persists until one day passengers on a Nairobi-bound bus prove that faith and solidarity can prevail acts of terror and violence.

The religious divide is bridged when the two groups defy the odds by fighting a common enemy, together, with Muslims shielding Christians from the attackers by offering them their Islamic attire to disguise themselves.

Loice Anyango, the only Christian lady on board on the fateful day, was helped to disguise herself as Muslim and survived the attack.

A primary school teacher, who was Muslim, was injured during the attack while shielding Christians and succumbed to bullet wounds while undergoing treatment in Nairobi.

Led by production manager German student Tobias Rosen, the filmmakers intended to show the world that terrorism is not about religion but about a few individuals with ill motives.

The film was produced by Mr Rosen of Hamburg Media School, and Bramwel Iro and Matrid Nyagah of LightBox Africa, and directed by Katja Benrath.

Produced in 2016 as the graduation film for the Hamburg Media School master class programme, the film was nominated for and won the Student Oscars. 

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