Mbithi Masya’s debut feature film Kati Kati is Kenya’s official submission to the Best Foreign Film category of the 90th Academy Awards (Oscars) slated for March 4, 2018. The film’s selection, announced by the Oscar Selection Committee over the weekend, hardly comes as a surprise. The film presented a unique story about a woman who finds herself in a mysterious place between life and the afterlife, striking a cord with Kenyan filmgoers right from its local premiere at the inaugural NBO Film Festival earlier this year.
Kati Kati emerged as an obvious contender after a successful theatre run and accumulating various awards and special mentions at various film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival, CinemAfrica Film Festival, and Africa Movie Viewers Choice Awards. Kati Kati now undergo further scrutiny by members of the Motion Picture Academy and will hopefully be one of the six films officially nominated for the Best Foreign Film Award on 23rd January, 2018.
In fact, the only other entry received by the Oscar Selection Committee Kenya was Kidnapped, written by Nairobi Half Life writer Serah Mwihaki and directed by Nick Njache and Likarion Wainaina.
The lack of Oscar-worthy submissions has not gone unnoticed by the Oscar Selection Committee. The Chairperson, Wambui Kairo noted: “We would like to see more entries in the running to represent the country at the Academy Awards … We further urge filmmakers to script non-English dialogue for main characters. This shall give the films a competitive edge in the Oscar Foreign Language Film race.”