Art And Culture

Kwale-produced film 'Mvera' premieres on Netflix after Oscars nomination

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"Mvera" has been acclaimed not only for its cinematic qualities and unique portrayal of coastal life and culture but also for its potential to promote local tourism through effective marketing.

Kwale-produced "Mvera" is the first coastal film to premiere on Netflix after receiving an Oscars nomination, a significant milestone that will expand its viewership beyond the county to Africa and the world.

"Mvera", an emotional thriller about corruption, started airing on July 5. It has been acclaimed not only for its cinematic qualities and unique portrayal of coastal life and culture but also for its potential to promote local tourism through effective marketing.

The synopsis states, "Desperate for a better life, a hard-headed young woman signs up for an alluring work-abroad scheme, only to discover it is a front for organ trafficking."

This comes a few months after the film was nominated for the 96th Academy Awards in the category "Best International Feature Film", as reported by the Kenya Film Commission. Locally, it premiered on September 9 at the Nyali Cinemax in Mombasa and was then screened nationwide.

Voline Ogutu and Kahindi Yaa wrote the screenplay for the film that was produced and directed by David Anguka. The cast includes Linah Sande as Vera, Patrick Owino, Hillary Namanje, Victor Opondo, Kibibi Salim, Susan Khadide, Carolyne Rita Mutua, and Ruby Kache.

Anguka is a celebrated movie producer known for his work on popular TV series such as 'Pete', filmed on Funzi Island in Kwale. Funzi Island, adorned with mangrove forests, vibrant coral reefs, and lush greenery, is a tropical paradise sought after by discerning tourists as an ideal sandy retreat.

He highlighted the rigorous training actors underwent and the opportunity to showcase Kenyan talent on the global stage.

"Our actors have received extensive training in scriptwriting, screen acting, producing, and visual post-production, among other areas," he said in an interview as the film premiered on Friday, and expressed confidence that collaboration between the local movie industry and Kwale County would enhance tourism prospects.

Film producer and director David Anguka during a meeting between the "Mvera" team and Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani on July 5, 2024. (Photo: Farhiya Hussein/EV)

At a meeting with the "Mvera" team on the same day, Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani affirmed her commitment to nurturing talent within the film industry.

"Our meeting was successful, focusing on fostering talent identification and youth support in Kwale," Fatuma said, adding she would help create more opportunities for aspiring filmmakers by investing in essential infrastructure and support programmes.

Aran Moses, Anguka's childhood friend, celebrated his journey from the streets of Mikindani in the Jomvu Constituency to global recognition and praised Anguka for proving skeptics wrong.

"Who would have thought that a young man from the humble streets of Mikindani would rise to become one of the most celebrated directors in the global film industry? Against all odds, he proved the naysayers wrong. Those who mocked him ... those who doubted him; he disproved them all. Today, he stands tall, a testament to the power of self-belief and determination," he said.

"Your journey is a living testimony to countless young dreamers, showing them it's possible to achieve greatness despite humble beginnings.”

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