Trailer Premiere: Captivating Kenyan Fantasy-Drama, 'Kati Kati'
Photo Credit: S & A

Trailer Premiere: Captivating Kenyan Fantasy-Drama, 'Kati Kati'

One Fine Day Films

If you didn’t already know, when he’s not busy writing and directing films of his own, German filmmaker Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola, Run,” “Perfume”) is producing films directed by up-and-coming Kenyan filmmakers via his alternative film production company, One Fine Day Films, which he co-founded in 2008 with his girlfriend/business partner, Marie Steinmann, with the goal being to promote and support filmmaking for aspiring filmmakers in Nairobi (Kenya), with Nairobi-based producing partners Ginger Ink, and and DW Akademie.

S&A has covered every film that’s been developed under the One Fine Day Films banner – “Soul Boy,” from director Hawa Essuman; “Nairobi Half Life,” from director David Tosh Gitonga (the first ever Kenyan entry for Oscar consideration); “Something Necessary” from director Judy Kibinge; and, most recently, “Veve” directed by Simon Mukali, released in 2015, after international film festival play that kicked off at Durban during the summer of 2014.

Up next for One Fine Day Films is the fantasy-drama “Kati Kati,” a film that won the Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery program at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Directed by Mbithi Masya, from a script written by Masya and Mugambi Nthiga, “Kati Kati” centers on a young woman with no memory of her life or death, who is helped with assimilation to the afterlife by a ghost.

Synopsis: When Kaleche, a young amnesiac, wakes up in the middle of the wilderness, she has no idea how she got there. She makes her way to Kati Kati, a nearby lodge, where she meets a motley crew of residents under the leadership of Thoma. As Kaleche strikes up a quick and intense friendship with him, she discovers that there’s a lot more to Thoma and the mysterious Kati Kati.

Here’s what Cameron Bailey at Toronto (TIFF) had to say about it: “Bereft of earthly memories, a new arrival in the afterlife struggles to recover the past, in this poetic fantasy that offers a dark reflection on personal atonement in the shadow of Kenya’s violent past. Imagine waking up one day in a barren wasteland. Amnesia leaves you clueless as to your whereabouts, your identity, and how you arrived. A small group of strangers welcomes you to a nearby oasis resort, and they reveal to you the nature of this new reality. You are dead. And this is the afterlife. This is what happens to Kaleche (Nyokabi Gethaiga) in the enigmatic opening sequence of ‘Kati Kati,’ writer-director Mbithi Masya’s poetic first feature film. Kaleche is a new arrival with no recollection of her life or death. A dozen other young Kenyans are all caught in the same eerie dormant state. They want for nothing; they simply write down whatever their heart desires and it appears at their bedside the next morning. The group’s unofficial leader is Thoma (Elsaphan Njora), who is passionate about helping the dead remember and reconcile with their fragmented pasts. But Kaleche’s presence triggers a transformation in Thoma. Their mutual enchantment with each other unearths a sinister secret of his, forcing him to confront his own denial and pain.”

One Fine Day Films

In cooperation with the Goehde Foundation, One Fine Day Films developed a Film Music Workshop out of which the music for “Kati Kati” was composed. The Kenyan composers where then invited to Cologne to rehearse the music together with the Jungle Orchester NRW.

The director of the film, Masya is one-third of Just a Band, the indie Kenyan house/funk/disco band whose career was launched with their debut album, “Scratch to Reveal,” in 2008. Their music has explored various musical directions such as jazz, hip-hop, disco and electronica. It’s good stuff! I’m a fan.

“Kati Kati” continues its international film festival travels.

A captivating first trailer for the film premiered today and is embedded below:

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