Safari, a Kenyan film produced by Rocque Pictures Ltd, directed by Kenyan Bill Afwani, and distributed by Rushlake Media, will have its world premiere on October 17, 2022, at The Cinekid Festival in the Netherlands.
Prior to the festival selection, Rushlake Media acquired the film for international sales and will represent it globally.
Rushlake Media is a multi-platform network with offices in Cologne, Germany and Nairobi, Kenya, and a strong presence in the African market. Safari is the company’s latest film aimed at young audiences, following the global success of Supa Modo and Liyana.
The film’s selection to premiere at Cinekid Festival, the world’s largest children’s media festival, attests to the quality of this touching and poignant story about Safari and his quest to experience Kenya. Safari, a wheelchair-bound boy, is led on an adventure by Kiki, the precocious girl next door. They try to see as many wild animals in person as they can, especially elephant Jumbo. However, they come across evil poachers who make a living by hunting animals. Safari and his friend Kiki’s adventure touches on many aspects of life in rural Kenya today, from disability to poaching, while maintaining the playfulness of traditional children’s adventure stories.
“In my childhood, heart-warming movies of adventurous kids having fun while escaping perilous grounds always transported me to a visceral fantasy world that I wished I could physically experience,” says director Bill Afwani. Kids were captivated by films such as Home Alone, Free Willy, and Africa United, which depicted fun-loving children in perilous situations displaying heroic characteristics. Safari is a film I wish I had seen when I was younger.”
Safari is yet another example of outstanding Kenyan filmmaking from an exciting team of filmmakers led by director Bill Afwani in a directorial debut, a film graduate of Kenyatta University who began his career directing the award-winning short film Sticking Ribbons, for which he won Best East African Talent at the 2014 Zanzibar International film festival.
Ruguru Phoebe, the film’s producer, has been nominated twice as African Women in Europe’s Young Achiever of the Year, and was named winner of the same award by Women for Africa in 2016. Saidia (2014), her first short film, won Best Young Filmmaker at the Modern-Day Slavery Competition in London. Ruguru is the only Kenyan filmmaker to have won the AMVCA’s Best Film in Africa award. Ruguru currently works as a content executive for Africa’s largest broadcaster, DSTV.
Njue Kevin, the film’s writer and director, directed several award-winning short films before making his feature film debut with 18 Hours, which was nominated for Best First Feature Film by a Director at the Africa Movie Academy Awards. Njue was also featured on the Top 40 under 40 list by Business Daily Africa and most notably the FORBES 30 under 30 (Creatives in Africa) 2019.
Safari was partially funded by the Kenya Film Commission, a state corporation under the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs.