PUMZI got into Sundance!!!! What???? How amazing, blessed, exciting! I am still a little overwhelmed. I lie. A lot overwhelmed. In a good way.
So it startsâ¦
Yesterday, I did an interview and the reporter asked if Science Fiction is new to Africa. Mmmmmâ¦ yes and no. If you listen to the stories that have been told for generations, elements of fantasy, science fiction have always existed within them. Honestâ¦ from cautionary tales of the ogre and the village beauty to the spirit child in Ben Okriâs novels and the fantastical world in Ngugi wa Thiongâoâs books. It has been there. I am just a new generation of storyteller, using cinema as my tool. The genre means less to me than the story. PUMZI chose to be Sci-Fi. The story dictated the genre.
Now, I understand that cinema is young in East Africa and a touch older in South Africa but that is not necessarily true for the rest of the continent. Egypt has made films for the last 100 years. Iâm sure somewhere in there, a couple, couple films have dealt with fantasy or science fiction. The pyramids themselves are Sci-Fi props, they must be. Another interview I did a while back in South Africa asked why I would chose to do a Sci-Fi film when there were so many other stories to tell. What? How does that make sense? First, the genre does not dictate the story. Second, (I can feel myself getting hot at the memory) who decides the limitations of imagination? What story am I supposed to tell? Is there a formula that I have to follow because I was born in Kenya? Really? Really????? Aurghhhhhhhhhhhâ¦
PUMZI was launched at the Kenya International Film Festival (October 21, 2009). Although well received, the main criticism was that the film was not Kenyan enough (in story, execution, cast and crew). PUMZI was written in Kenya, directed by a Kenyan, funded by Germany, America and Kenya, produced and shot in South Africa with the leading actress from Botswana. Itâs African. Itâs Pan-African. Like the story. PUMZI is based on a futuristic Africa where borders cease to exist and the people who own the resources control the communities.Â Familiar, no? But, should I make the feature, I would shoot in Kenya in the locations that first inspired it. Kenya never ceases to take my breath away. Itâs majestic.
In a week I will be in Utah. Today it is 32Â°C in Mombasa. Next week I will be in -15Â°C weather. I donât get jet-lagged. I get temperature-lag.