When this year’s Academy Awards air on Sunday, Kenyans are excited to see whether a true story depicting unity among them in 2015, will bag an award.
Watu wote, Swahili for all of us, a film directed by German national Katja Benrath as her graduation project at Hamburg Media School, is among the films nominated for Best Live Action Short Film in this year’s Oscars.
The movie is based on a true story around the events of December 2015, when al-Shabab militants attacked a passenger bus headed to the border town of Mandera from the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
In that attack, as was now tradition in al-Shabab attacks – the attackers separated their victims, the Muslims and non Muslims. They passengers however refused to be divided along religious lines.
Lorella Jowi, casting director of Watu Wote says: “So the muslims stood up in solidarity with the christians and said you are not going to kill anyone here and if you do you will kill us all.”
The story of religious solidarity made headlines in Kenya and across the borders. Little wonder then it became the subject of the Oscar nominated film.
Its success has, however, baffled the producers.
The 23-minute film has more than 20 awards in various international film festivals.
At home the reception has been equally good among the Kenyan audience. Sunday will be its day of reckoning when the Oscar award winners are announced.
Whichever way the awards go – Watu wote will have helped shed light on Kenya’s film scene.
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