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Kenya chooses ‘Life’ for Oscar contest

Pic is only second Kenyan film to be entered

JOHANNESBURG — Tosh Gitonga’s “Nairobi Half Life” is Kenya’s selection in the race for a nom in the Oscar foreign-language film category.

Pic was chosen by the Kenya Oscars Selection Committee, marking the second time a Kenyan film has been entered for consideration. It’s first submission, helmer-scribe Luigi Falorni’s “Heart of Fire,” was rejected by the Academy in 2008.

Recognizing “Half Life” as an important step forward for the local biz, committee chairman Wambui Kairo said it was “clear from this film that the Kenya film industry has the capacity to make movies that can compete on a global platform.”

Produced by Kenya’s Ginger Ink Films and German helmer Tom Tykwer’s Berlin-based One Fine Day Films, “Half Life” is a gritty but uplifting tale of young hustlers struggling to get by in the Kenyan capital.

The film was the product of an ambitious collaboration between Ginger Ink, One Fine Day and the German government-funded DW-Akademie, who together host an annual workshop in Nairobi for aspiring African helmers.

Producer Ginger Siobhain Wilson of Ginger Ink said that since its Nairobi preem in August, “Half Life” has been “the most successful theatrical release in Kenyan history for a local film.”

The deadline for all countries to send in their submissions is Oct. 1.

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