Ogova Ondego: "Make children aware of the influence of film"

November 2007 -

As a member of the jury for the children's media festival Cinekid, Ogova Ondego was in the Netherlands for more than a week. Born in Nairobi, Ondego is a film reviewer and organiser of Lola Keny Screen, held in Kenya for the second time in August 2007. "As far as I know, we are the only film festival in Africa that focuses on children. That makes our festival special, because there are few cultural activities for children in Africa. There are actually not many differences between Cinekid and Lola Kenya Screen in terms of how the festival is structured. Both festivals want to make children aware of the function, value and influence of film and audiovisual media on our daily lives.

With 4300 visitors and 270 films submitted from 45 countries, we are extremely pleased with the second edition of Lola Kenya Screen. The fact that I was asked to join the Cinekid jury feels like recognition for our festival, but also enables me to expand my horizon and establish new contacts.

There is one difference. Cinekid also has a jury of adults that awards a professional prize. We do not do that. In Nairobi, the children are active in every aspect of the festival. The children form a jury, talk with the press and participate in workshops."

Naturally, the perception of a children's film festival is totally different in Africa than in Western Europe. Ondego: "Film is considered a luxury in Kenya. And yet we are able to get children from Nairobi’s shanty towns involved in our activities. Thanks to various family networks, we are able to welcome children from every social level to our festival. That is essential: for many children, participating in a festival can significantly influence not only their understanding of the world, but also themselves."

Lola Kenya Screen is supported amongst others by the Goethe Institute, ComMattersKenya, the Danish Film Institute, Prince Claus Fund and ArtMatters.