Kenyan produced movie screened in finland
Mixed reactions greeted the controversial Kenyan-produced movie that premiered on the Finnish national channel on Sunday.
The film featuring war veteran, the late Field Marshal Gustaf Emil Mannerhein has been touted as ‘must watch’ but a section of parties and key experts in the film industry have criticized it.
In barrage of criticisms, the movie has been labeled as one of the ‘cheaply’ produced and short of merit in quality. Finnish national Broadcasting outlet-YLE reported that the film was produced at a cost of 20,000 euros (about Shs 2.2m market current rate).
At the centre of discussion is the indigenous aspect of the movie whose key actor is a Kenyan, Telley Savalas Otieno. In immortalizing the social life of former Finnish military legendary, Otieno alongside other Kenyan casts played Carl Mannerheim, also referred to as The Marshal of Finland in the fictional movie titled; ‘The Trailer.’
But it was the location of the production of the movie that has touched off more debate in Finland. The film was produced in the outskirts of Nairobi, miles away from Finland where the late war icon is fondly revered amongst European natives to date.
The movie has however received praise from other quarters despite criticism. University of Eastern Finland History Professor, Kimmo Katajala, says the location of the film was good idea in principle.
“In my mind taking this person and his deeds to some totally different cultural surroundings was a good idea in principle,” says Prof Katajala while referring to Mannerheim’s film produced in Kenya.
He notes that the movie should be viewed in a more neutral way other than the origin of the key player-Mannerheim. The professor says the wave of criticisms painted on the movie should settle down with time and would have no fundamental effect to the Finnish perception of Carl Mannerheim in the future.
“Unfortunately, the film itself seems to have turned to a b-class love story causing criticism but that will settle down in a few months,” he explains to the Standard in Finland.
But the film experts were much bent on the cost of production. They strongly pointed out that the movie was far too low. They also expressed hope that Kenyan actors would be able to settle to their fair bargain in future.
“What I know is that the cost was much too low comparing to international rates and given that the movie was aimed at bringing out near-reality of a high personality in Finland,” said Mats Langbacka, Produced and CEO Langfilm Productions, a firm based in Helsinki.
He says that criticism should build the morale of the Kenyan actors and African film industry by extent
Prior to its screening last week, the producer has been frantically trying to argue in defense of the Mannerheim film through national channel YLE noting that the Kenyan actors did exceptional work within a shoestring budget.
The channel run programs detailing on the rigorous auditioning of Mannerheim’ film actors in Kenya which settled on a few deemed fit to run the show. The producer further said the film was cost-effective considering the number of days it took to analyze and acquaint the actors with totally strange history of a foreign state.
But by yesterday, the 50-minute film was awash with string of reactions across Finland. Daily tabloids and social media have poured varied reactions in the run up to the release of the movie.
In 2009, the film had reportedly run into funding hurdles after sponsors withdrew from the project. The producers, however, sought alternative means over which the film was finally produced in Kenya.
Atleast, three productions companies were initially involved in the Mannerheim film project but others gave up along the way for unknown reasons. One of the Hollywood directors also pulled out citing ‘lack of faith’ in completion of the movie.
However, after months of lobbying the Mannerheim project successfully made to the screens. Currently, the movie is running a sequence of episodes ahead of the official release later this month. .
The varied reactions coming against the backdrop of the release of the movie could dent the sale of tickets initially expected to reap from millions of movie enthusiasts in Finland. A poll conducted recently by an independent magazine showed that 90 percent of Finnish will not watch the movie