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It’s back to the Drive-In cinema experience

By George Onyango
Monday, October 5th, 2020
The Drive-In cinema kicks off.
In summary

The Drive-In cinema experience in Kenya was alive and kicking until it went all quiet more than 20 years ago, but as George Onyango writes, the recent premiere of Kenyan film Uradi has marked the great return.

Recently, all roads led to the Galleria Mall in Nairobi. Literally, cars of all makes, colours and sizes zoomed into the parking lot to take a strategic space in readiness to watch the first Kenyan Drive-In cinema in over two decades.

And the air of excitement was evident as stars stepped out in their latest fashion statements to the red carpet reception at this crucial Uradi film premiere.

And it was not jus the long awaited Drive-in cinema experience, but also the fact that this tradition also is a sure bet Covid-19 social protocol compliance in every aspect of it.

“You are in your car and the sound can only be transmitted through your FM car radio, which means outside the car you won’t hear.

What else can you ask for during this pandemic?” poised a clearly proud Timothy Owase, the Kenya Film Commission (KFC) chief executive officer who was behind the new unveiling in the Kenyan film scene.

True to his words not even the rain that started just before the screen came live would dampen the spirit of filmgoers that had turned up for the night including ICT Chief Administrative Secretary Nadia Ahmed Abdalla and Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary Esther Koimett.

“I take this opportunity to commend the Kenya Film Commission for the reintroduction of the Drive-In cinema, which is a great innovation geared towards providing alternative content consumption and encouraging growth and creativity in film production,” said ICT Cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru in his speech read by Abdalla.

Nail-biting thriller

The star-studded Uradi by Kang’ethe Mungai is a nail-biting story of passion, love, struggles, pain and crime that kept the audience on the edge of their car seats.

Starring Mwaura Bilal, Shix Kapienga, Manaseh Kawa and Peter Kawa, the cast gave a great deal of commitment to their roles with a consummate rendition.

The feature length film revolves around a young man who is pursuing higher education in Nairobi.

Drama begins to unfold as soon he’s admitted to university, as peer pressure pushes the desire of highlife in him.

To make ends meet he is forced into petty crime not knowing that the allure of quick money is slowly landing him into the dangerous territories of radicalisation and terrorism. Now turning back becomes a daunting task.

Based on a true story, the film highlights the plight of many Kenyans mainly the youth, who are easily lured into crime drugs and radicalisation.

As well as bringing to focus the enormous amount of hard work and dedication that is put up by the law enforcement agencies behind the scenes that mostly goes unreported and thus uncelebrated.

One of the strengths of this film is its suspense. For instance when Bilal goes to deliver some drugs, he is arrested by people who presented themselves as undercover police detectives.

But they happen to be members of the drug ring who were to put him into a test if he could bulge information and let the cat out of the bag under duress. He passes the test with flying colours.

The film is dynamic in the camera angles although a better job could have been done at the rural scene in the beginning of the flick.

There’s no doubt that the story about the travails of the modern campus life is in dire straits and yawns for immediate and long-term intervention.

Whilst the initial establishment of a campus life is proper and implied in the later parts of the story, the storytellers would have intrigued the viewer with occasional scenes at campus as the student is totally derailed from his academic endeavours.

Again if the location is the University of Nairobi it has to be or alternatively use set models of the University as Hollywood moviemakers such as Universal Studios do. We still have a room for improvement.

Sentimental experience

“This is a truly romantic experience that is unmatched. I can’t wait to come back for yet another screening,” said screen legend Winnie Mukami, currently a Director at the Kenya Pipeline Corporation.

Owase said the KFC is dedicated to promoting filmmaking and with the many funds they disbursed during the last three months, there’s great hope to see new creations with quality touch.

“Through the empowerment programme, the commission supported 12 projects in various stages of production.

As a consequence we visited the set of the Medicine Man film by Betty Furret in Embu,” said Owase, adding that the film is currently hosting over 100 crew and cast daily.

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