At long last, award winning Kenyan film Supa Modo premiered in Rwanda, first at Kigali Century Cinema on November 23, then at Rwamagana Yego Centre on December 1, during the 2019 European Film Festival.
A compelling story, crafted from innocence, love pain, loss and hope, Supa Modo comes at a time when African films are gradually finding their rightful place among the continental and global film industry.
Written by Kamau wa Ndung’u, Wanjeri Gakuru, Mugambi Nthiga and Silas Miami, the 2018 film is directed by Likarion Wainaina, yet produced by One Fine Day Films and Ginger Ink, stars Stycie Waweru, Marrianne Nungo and Nyawara Ndambia as the lead cast.
The film brings out great reflection of how a typical family embraces a situation like Jo’s fatal illness, and gradually celebrating the last days.
Even when most patients are stuck onto the usual routine medication and hospital beds rests till they pass on; this is different, as Jo’s mother takes a different stand. Realising how weaker Jo gets when on medication, she vows never to take that path, but rather spend the little moments left with her child at home.
But while there, challenges keep kicking in; she goes against the notion of her prayer group, which keeps referring Jo as sick, something which hurts her.
Jo’s sister Mwix is a strong ray of hope, for she gears the fantasy for super heroes and the possibility of Jo becoming one, which gradually materialises. With the village being tipped off to pretend, and pave way into Jo’s belief in possession of super powers, things play out quite well, which regains her confidence, and day to day living. As a gift to Jo, they finally co-operate into jointly making a film.
Even with Jo’s collapse on set, which quite leaves a painful emptiness within the entire family, something more materialises behind.
The village secretly pushes on with the film, but without her mother’s knowledge, until one evening when they all converge at the vigil, which coincides with the film’s debut premiere.
The miserable story is wrapped up by how the film inspired more stars, where all the children in the village turn into super heroes following Jo’s departure to a destination unknown.
This sparks rays of hope throughout the entire village, since all youngsters are ‘Supa Modos.’
Even with pain and loss taking shape through the film, one cannot overlook the fact that the directors crafted out well with the fusion of humour to it all.
Several scenes bring out humour from the innocence of the rural setting and people’s perception of issues.
For instance, when one elder is instructed to bring a red carpet need for a certain film scene, only to turn up with a mere bland carpet, with different colours, which angers the film director. Since its release, the film has received several awards and nominations including being named the Best European.
Film For Children at, 2019 European Children’s Film Association. It also received the 2018 Generation 14Plus Children’s Jury Special Mention in Berlin.
The film has also won several awards, including the Best Screenplay at the 2018 Carthage, Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards, 2018 Artistic Bravery Prize, Durban, 2018, a Special Mention and the Best 2018 International Feature, Edinburgh.
It further scooped the Golden Dhow for Best Film at the 2018 Zanzibar Film Festival, Best Film from East Africa at the 2018 Zanzibar Film Festival, Audience Award at the 2018 Jozi Film Festival, on top of scooping the Best New Director award at 2018 Cape Town International Film Festival, while it is the 2019 Kenya's Oscar entry.