Kenya has selected Daudi Anguka’s drama Mvera to represent it for Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards.
The English and Swahili-language film takes its name from its heroine Mvera, which is the Swahili word for blessing.
She embarks on crusade against corrupt leadership in her coast community outside Mombasa, when she uncovers an organ trafficking ring luring its victims with promises of work abroad.
Her character is loosely inspired by Kenyan independence activist Mekatilili Wa Menza.
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Linah Sande stars as Mvera with other cast members including Patrick Owino, Hillary Namanje, Kibibi Salim, Susan Kadid and Carorita Mutua.
Rising director Anguka’s previous credits the feature film Zilizala and popular telenovelas, the Showmax acquired Pete and Sanura.
Anguka also produces under the banner of Mombasa-based AR-Film Production.
Mvera premiered in Mombasa on September 9 and is currently on wide release across Kenya.
The Kenyan Film Commission announced the choice on Wednesday.
Mvera was selected from three submissions which also included William Okoth’s Unheard Voices and Wangechi Ngugi’s Shimoni, which world premiered at the Red Sea International Film Festival and also played in Rotterdam.
Producer Krysteen Savane, chairperson of Kenya’s Oscar Committee, said she had been impressed by the quality of the submitted films this year.
“There is a general improvement in the story and acting,” she said.
Kenya began submitting films to the Oscars in 2012. Prior to Mvera, the country has entered seven films but has never been nominated.
Recent Kenyan Oscar hopefuls have included Gilbert Lukalia’s Mission To Rescue and Andrew Kaggia’s TeraStorm.
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