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Kenya: About Ndugu

A young boy living in Nyumbani Village in Kenya is delighted at the success of a short film he starred in. Daniel Itumo played the leading role in the 15-minute film, About Ndugu, which was shot in Nyumbani in June 2012.

The film was premiered at the Berlinale international film festival in February 2013. The Spanish producer, David Munoz, who runs the film production company Hibrida, has received more than 100 awards for his documentary and fiction films. About Ndugu has already garnered three from festivals in Armenia, Austria and Spain.

Nyumbani Village is a self-sustaining village set up in 2006 for grandparents and children adversely affected by the AIDS epidemic in Kenya. It is part of the Children of God Relief Institute – Nyumbani, which was set up in the early nineties by the late Fr Angelo D’Agostino SJ for orphans with HIV.

“Words are inadequate to describe Daniel’s amazed joy when he viewed the film on DVD,” said the Nyumbani Director and co-founder, Sr Mary Owens. “He found the film very good, saying he liked it so much and that he believes many people should see it. He did wonder why he was chosen to play the main role, because he never knew he had a gift for acting. But now he’d like to get another opportunity. He’s happy to be famous!”

David Munoz spent almost two weeks at Nyumbani Village with his crew, auditioned some children and chose Daniel. The contact was made through Nyumbani’s Spanish board, Amigos de Nyumbani.

The film was a wonderful opportunity not only for Daniel but for the other residents of Nyumbani Village too. “The making of the film was a ‘leap beyond’ their general life experience,” said Sr Mary. “It has been an educational experience, especially for the children, opening up horizons of possibility never dreamt of before. The full effect is yet to be felt.”

About Ndugu is a fiction story about a boy in Africa, Ndugu, who receives a letter from his new foster father in the US announcing the death of his wife. Ndugu is shocked and tries to help his foster father by finding him another wife from among the women in his village.

Sr Mary likes the film because it captures life in Nyumbani Village in a very real way, with grandparents and children featuring in delightful scenes. “The film is a gem of how life is lived in rural Kenya – the cultural context, the lifestyle and attitudes, how children create their own leisure activities,” she added.

People interested in buying or screening the film should contact David Munoz at hibrida@hibrida.es.

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