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Comments on "The ABC of ROFFEKE" Screenings (September 2015 at iHub)

I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Rock 'n' Roll, Ageism and Human Rights

If you can change your mind
And see what's there to find
There's rhythm in the Spirit

- Kansas

Today is World Human Rights Day. Rock 'n' roll is over 50 years old. ROFFEKE would like to shed some light on Ageism.

In 2014, Richard Eisenberg wrote an article in Forbes titled "Older Rock Stars Reflect on Aging". He shared highlights of a "fun panel from the San Diego confab: Elder Rock 'n' Roll Musicians Reflect on Aging." He writes: "I found it enlightening to hear what Ringo Starr, Keith Richards and the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh - all still performing - said about growing older and staying creative plus musings about aging from Joni Mitchell and Grace Slick, who no longer are." Read the interesting article here.

In the opening session of a conference titled "From Ageism to Age Equality: Addressing the Challenges", Loretta Crawley spoke on the topic of "What is Ageism". She cited Butler who defined ageism as "the systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people simply because of their age." She also cited Palmore who outlined some stereotypes associated with older people. They include: mental decline, mental illness, uselessness, isolation, poverty, depression.

There are many things I like about the Kansas music video for "Rhythm in the Spirit" directed by Emmy-award winner Steven C. Knapp (read his ROFFEKE interview here). Top on my list is that the music video challenges all the above-mentioned stereotypes about older people.

Kansas has been around since the 1970s. The band members are in their late 50s and in their 60s. However, as the music video clearly shows, the members of Kansas are skillful, work well together and are clearly having fun! Indeed, there's Rhythm in the Spirit, not in how old you are. And as Stephen C. Knapp said in his ROFFEKE interview: "Your age is your attitude".

ROFFEKE is committed to promoting positive aging and will adopt the following three actions as outlined by Loretta Crawley in her presentation:
- recognizing and challenging ageist stereotypes
- not ignoring older people
- including pictures [music videos and short films] of older people in publications [the ROFFEKE blog].

In 2008, triplex left this comment about "Combined Ages of the Rolling Stones: 254 Years Old": "For centuries, people have looked for the Philosopher's Stone. It is said to turn led [sic] into gold and keeps you young. The 'Stones' have found it. It's called 'Rock' and Roll! And I love it!"

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Interview: Steven C. Knapp - Director of music video for "Rhythm in the Spirit" by Kansas

ROFFEKE: What lessons did you learn working with a more mature band such as Kansas?

STEVEN: I'd like to answer your question initially through the lens of a subject that I know many creatives struggle with: Self-doubt. My first thought upon getting the gig was, "Who the fuck am I to get to be a part of Kansas' creative legacy?" At the time, I was going through a very nasty breakup and was already feeling very low due to petty gossip being spread around Nashville's film community. I felt like I didn't deserve this amazing opportunity, and doubted my talents, my work, and my existence, really. My awesome producer, the Emmy Award® winning Zac Adams of Skydive Films, and I had made a solid shooting schedule with the very short time we had available, and we stuck to it.

Lesson #1: None of your troubles matter when you have to execute with precision.

The members of Kansas are highly professional, and expect the same. I experienced this in both the pre-production communication, and on-set. Our mutual respect for each other's professional reputations was evident during production; they trusted me, and I trusted them.

Lesson #2: Where there is trust, there is also respect.

As the shoot began, we learned that drummer Phil Ehart, an original member, had limited availability to save his drumming power for the evening's show. We adjusted; no problem. I thought it was cool that even though this video was going to be seen by hundreds and thousands of loyal Kansas fans, Phil's focus was also on that evening's audience. In the end, his on camera performance was just as powerful as his performance that night.

Lesson #3: Always think about your audience.

We knew very early on that we wanted to capture Kansas's music in a very raw form -- no frills, no pedestals, no highly conceptual story. Just rock and roll. Just Kansas doing what they do. That essence has little to do with the number of years someone has lived. These guys rock, their music rocks, and they always will.

Lesson #4: Your age is your attitude.

ROFFEKE: You have done a number of projects for non-profits. Non-profit topics are usually serious and rather "non-sexy". How do you go about reconciling the seriousness of the topics (such as anti-bullying) while still making the film or documentary entertaining, interesting and "sexy"?

STEVEN: I don't believe entertainment always has to be overtly "sexy" or mindless -- it can actually be a force for good if wielded in the right way. It all comes down to story and execution. With HEAR ME NOW, a feature length anti school bullying documentary co-produced with, and directed by, my longtime friend and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Bill Cornelius, it was all about the visuals. We tried to make it as cinematic as possible to catch young peoples' eyes. We tried to have engaging stories that they could relate to, or have experienced themselves. We commissioned a song from a rock band as a title track. These are all things I think all of us [the co-producers] would've liked to see if we were kids watching it. I recently received a business card with definition of entertainment printed on it: "The action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment." I'm a words guy, and words matter. I would argue that giving someone, especially a child, the knowledge that they are not the only person experiencing bullying, and some insight into it, is a positive, enjoyable, and empowering feeling. HEAR ME NOW is available on Amazon Prime.

ROFFEKE: You enjoy "being as awesome as possible". What does it take to stay awesome in a world and in an industry that can be harsh, cut-throat, cynical and soul-sucking?

STEVEN: It takes honesty, integrity, and a sense of humor. The aforementioned breakup really fucked with me in that department and I saw how terrible some industry people could be. Some of those same people, after a certain amount of time, tried to fake nice or act like nothing happened to continue getting work. That is very funny, now. This industry has blurred lines between personal and professional relationships, and do believe one influences another. Believe it or not, how you treat people matters. Maybe that's a Nashville attitude because it's a small town, and word travels fast. To stay sane and on track, you have to keep a good, tight, inner circle of people who share the same values (and it ain't how many followers or likes you have). Having an internal understanding of what you will and will not accept from people is certainly important. Often, people will show you who they really are are and it is best to believe them the first time. I definitely believe that harmful people have to go, the helpful people can stay, and the neutral people are suspect. I had a moment of clarity during all of this when an influential and respected industry friend of mine said "You have to prepare yourself to enter the global film community." It made it much easier to leave the soul-suckers to feed off each other, and not me. I am thankful for them, as I now know what that looks like. People who I thought were torturers, were actually messengers.

ROFFEKE: Your favourite female director?

STEVEN: I really like what Megan Park did with mansionz for their 'Rich White Girls' music video. Hilarious, inane, but also very moving. I also really enjoy Hanna Lux Davis, who does music videos for some of the top pop acts in the world.

ROFFEKE: Advice for aspiring music video directors?

STEVEN: Whether it is music videos, films, or any other creative or personal endeavor.. the biggest advice I can give is: You must be present to win, so show up!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

ROFFEKE Screening at Metta (November 17th)

Philosophy is more than an academic subject; it is a daily practice that helps people to live in a better, more humane way." - Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

On every third Thursday of November, the world celebrates world philosophy day. In a 2016 article titled Why Future Business Leaders Need Philosophy Anders Poulsen writes:

"The rising demand for both creative and concrete problem-solving as well as abstract and strategic thinking indicates the necessity to broaden the reflectivity-horizon of the narrow business perspective that future business leaders will determine their decisions within. Business tends to seek one rationalised conclusion at the expense of others. This closes opportunities, rather than opens them. Philosophy, on the other hand, can through critical reasoning continually question and rethink the assumed certainties and its basic premises. In this sense, business and philosophy might seem poles apart at first glance and their interdisciplinary potential has for long been largely unrecognized on traditional business schools, but this is about to change."


Welcoming Remarks
Metta Rep.

Business - How much must we sacrifice?
Narissa Allibhai
Feminist, activist, creative, modern Pan-Africanist. Masters graduate from University of California, Berkeley,Founder of #savelaketurkana

David Ogot

Screening: Wild Oates
Director: Joshua J. Provost
John Oates (Hall & Oates) is pushed to the limit during a tedious music video shoot in this retro musical parody.
Envy is from the latin "invidia" which means non-sight. In the Divine Comedy, Dante portrays the envious as working under cloaks of lead, with their eyes sewn shut with leaden wire.
"Entrepreneurial envy damages social ties and potential collaborations, and its particularly pernicious because its often unspoken." - Kate Swoboda in "Overcoming Entrepreneurial Envy"

Screening: On The Floor
Director: Georges Hauchard-Heutte
An upcoming Heavy-Metal band. Two brothers - singer and guitarist. A fight during a concert leads their band to darker days.
"At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst." - Aristotle
"Be kind and generous, be as reasonable as possible, get a prenup, define mutual desired outcomes, factor in an exit clause/have an exit strategy, the heat of the moment, communicate everything. From “15 Tips to Peacefully Break Up With Your Business Partner"

Watch on the Floor here

Screening: Rock is not an attitude
Director: Xiaoxiao Tang
A stop-motion rock band talks about life before their band: Rock is not only an attitude. Our lives are a reflection of our attitudes: just like music, we are all different and unique, but there is no distance.
"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." – Aristotle
T.E.A.M – Together Everyone Achieves More; Synergy

Screening: Somos Amigos (We are friends)
Director: Carlos Solano Perez
What would you do if you had to fire your best friend? Somos Amigos (We Are Friends) is a short film that seeks to explore the limits between friendship and work... if they exist at all.
Philosophy: "The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened." - John F. Kennedy.
Business: CSR, Justice, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Somos Amigos (We Are Friends) - Short Film from Carlos Solano on Vimeo.

Screening: This is Joe
Director: Francis Diaz Fontan
During the 70's, in New York, Joe Shuster works as a delivery guy. But it wasn't always like this...
Philosophy: "The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened." - John F. Kennedy.
Business: CSR, Justice, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Screening: Frontman
Director: Matthew Gentile
"In FRONTMAN, we explore and witness the construction and destruction of an American icon, who has one simple goal: to play music for an audience and please his fans. We’ll see the obstacles he’ll face, both internal and external, to do that. My hope in making this film is that we, the filmmakers, and the audience as well, can understand the extremely challenging but ultimately rewarding journey that comes with pursuing your passion." – Director’s Statement
Philosophy: "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least." – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Business: "having a good work/life balance means that your actions and priorities are aligned in a way that is taking care of what is really important to you." – From 'How to Strike a Work and Life Balance',

Q and A Session
Mildred Achoch

Poetry: The philosophy of love
Carmen Tiiri

Live Band
Murfys Flaw

Vote of Thanks
Mildred Achoch/
Metta Representative

Networking/Guests leave at their pleasure


Monday, December 4, 2017

Spotlight on ROFFEKE Followers: The Texchris Davesaw Massacre

You can listen to Chris and Dave's "weekly ramblings about their favorite movie genre, one bloody film at a time" on iTunes or on:

And now, a brief exploration into the soundtrack of the film that inspired their podcast name:

In a Rolling Stone article titled "35 Greatest Horror Soundtracks: Modern Masters, Gatekeepers Choose", The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is number 27."...background noise turned avant-garde soundtrack, foley work gone too far. A huge influence on bands like Animal Collective and Wolf Eyes, it's one of many expertly frightening elements that make The Texas Chainsaw Massacre so singularly scary."

In Spin's article "40 Movie Soundtracks That Changed Alternative Music", Texas Chainsaw Massacre is number 14.Avery Tare of Animal Collective is quoted as saying: "Some of those sounds on there sound like weird violin-industrial errrnwhiirrrrnnn....How does he get those sounds? I wanna know how to make sounds like that." The article goes on to say that "Animal Collective's all-over abstract sound owe to a sophisticated list of influences from '70s and '80s films, but none shot the epochal band into the outré realm of experimental music faster than the scraping, squealing sound-design of the 1974 horror classic directed by Tobe Hooper."

And what of Wolf Eyes? The same Spin article points out that "Wolf Eyes' Aaron Dilloway is a professed Chainsaw fan". A certain self-confessed music nerd who is behind the blog "Evol Kween:A Musical" writes: "Every time I listen to Wolf Eyes, scenes from Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre begin flickering through my mind. Vacant desert-scapes; fucked up Hillbillies with rotting teeth; Leatherface slamming a sledgehammer into someone’s head; and that god awful living room filled with bones, chicken feathers and furniture made from left over humans. There are plenty of similarities between the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre soundtrack and Wolf Eyes."

So why subject yourself to such music? Or to a horror movie? Mr. Music Nerd puts it well: "The whole attraction is based on the fun of scaring the crap out of yourself. Just like watching a well-made horror movie."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Research Symposium, A Film Screening and World Philosophy Day

Today, 16th November, is World Philosophy Day. Tomorrow, 17th November, there is a Business and Philosophy ROFFEKE screening at Metta. On the 14th, I attended the Strathmore University Research Symposium for the first time. As luck (or fate) would have it, the sessions I attended were quite philosophically inclined:

"School Fires and General Indiscipline, treat cause not symptoms" by Patrick Kibui

Mr. Kibui pointed out that part of the problem was that students are domesticated rather than educated. Pink Floyd's song, "Another brick in the wall" comes to mind:

We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone
All in all it's just another brick in the wall
All in all you're just another brick in the wall

It's interesting that in the music video of the song, there is a school fire!

Part of Mr. Kibui's abstract reads: "The attitudes of teachers have influenced the character formation of students at all levels leading to creating a society of very learned people with limited education."

One of the films submitted to ROFFEKE is titled "Cor". A boy is studying at home, at night. A figurine waves at him - up,down, up, down - but the boy does not notice it or chooses to ignore it. He throws his pen on the desk in frustration. He looks behind him, checking whether he will be seen, then he switches on the radio. He sways to the music,eyes closed, figurine still waving - up, down, up, down. He opens a CD case. Suddenly, he pays attention to the waving figurine. He picks it up,stares at it. Behind him, his mother looks at him looking at the waving figurine.All she has to do is nod at the figurine and the boy places it back on the desk and switches off the radio.

"Have you finished them yet?" The boy replies that he is not going to do them. An argument ensues. Finally,the boy asks:"What are you going to do, take me back there again?"

In the next scene, students sit in a class, uniform, stiff and orderly. They are all dressed in the same dark colour but the boy is wearing a bright yellow jacket. He is slumped on the desk, looking bored. The teacher is talking about a list of equations: "Most of them are very similar to the ones we worked on last week."

Cue creepy music."Very similar." The teacher says this over and over again as he waves, his actions eerily similar to that of the waving figurine. "Just like all of you." One by one,the other students copy the teacher's motions. Up,down, up,down....Watch what happens next.

The movie ends with this quote:

"Our education system is focused on batch-cloning pupils. It should do the opposite: discovering the unique talents of each." - Ken Robinson.

The next speaker was Esther Kariuki. She presented on "Perception of the Role of Aesthetics in Daily Living Among University Students in Kenya." She quoted Aristotle's and Aquinas' definition of beauty. Aquinas saw brightness as a component of beauty while Aristotle saw ordeliness as a component of beauty. During the Q and A session, these two perceptions were questioned.

One attendee pointed out that there is a certain beauty in the chaos that is the Kenyan transport system.I agree with him. There is a certain beauty that can be found even in chaos. Case in point: during last Saturday's Nairobi Metal Festival, there was "chaos" in the mosh pit but I saw the beauty in that chaos: kids from  different tribes and different races, moshing together in harmony. (Read more about it here).

One of the films submitted to ROFFEKE - Sandeep Kumar's "Tints and Shades" captures the beauty in the chaos of an open air market in India.

I am a big fan of the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi. I am sure many goths can relate. Aquinas considered brightness an important element of beauty. As a goth, I must add that there is also beauty in the darker colours. Jillian Venters,author of "The Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and those who love them" talks about the gothic aestheic here:

I suggested that for further research, perhaps the African definition of beauty could be looked into, for example, from African proverbs, traditional songs, etc.

The next speaker was Wokorach Raphael p'Mony who presented on "Aristotle and St. Thomas on Magnanimity: Seminary agenda for servant-leadership". It was an insightful presentation and what stood out for me was "justice is the excellence of the soul".

ROFFEKE will continue to pursue magnanimity through its motto: Friendship, Fun, Freedom.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Can rock 'n' roll change the world?

Can rock 'n' roll change the world? Yes it can! I saw how, at Saturday's Nairobi Metal Festival. Kids from different tribes, moshing together in the mosh pit, in perfect harmony (and organized, jubilant chaos!). Black and white, stage diving side by side, united by the common bond of rock 'n' roll.

Can rock 'n' roll REALLY change the world? It has in the past. It did at Nairobi Metal Festival. And it will continue to change the world.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"Everytime I See You I Go Wild": Directed by Paul D.

"Kim Wilde, clad in a skin tight black PVC catsuit, battles zombies, vampires, werewolves and demons, as she fights to attract the attention of the man she loves, but what will happen when they finally come face to face?"

ROFFEKE: If you could take one prop and one character from the "Toadlickers" music video and use them in the "Everytime I see you..." music video:
a. Which ones would you pick?
b. Why?

PAUL D: Huw Heftoad would have a ball in the club featured in 'Every Time I see You I Go Wild'...though he might have to swap his smoking jacket for a green leather outfit.

(Watch bluegrass-flavoured "The Toadlickers" by 5-time Grammy Award nominee, Thomas Dolby)

Thomas Dolby - 'The Toadlickers' (Canon 5D Mark II HDSLR) from Paul D on Vimeo.

ROFFEKE: Lighting is important in horror projects. Tell us about some of the lighting techniques/tricks you used in the "Everytime I see you..." music video.

PAUL D: I discuss the lighting techniques/tricks we used in an extensive behind the scenes feature that's published on my blog:
In brief though, my approach to filming and lighting is old school in that, where possible, I like to get it right in camera, rather than to fix it in post, or rely upon grading to create a look. In the club scene there's a big reveal that's punctuated with a change of colour palette. Many DPs would have spent hours going through the tortuous process of taking test shots, creating & exporting LUTs, colour calibrating cameras & monitors and importing those LUTs into them, before shooting; whereas we spent about ten minutes simply re-gelling the lights. As Wing Chun teaches us, the shortest path between any two points is a straight line.

ROFFEKE: What was it like working with Kim Wilde?

PAUL D: Kim was an absolute delight to work with. She is a consummate professional, took direction extremely well, and worked very hard.

(Watch "Kids in America" by Kim Wilde)

KIM WILDE~ KIDS IN AMERICA from Jeniffer Juniper on Vimeo.

ROFFEKE: Advice for aspiring music video directors?

PAUL D: Get a proper job!

ROFFEKE: Your favourite female directors?

PAUL D: Nora Ephron, though more so as a screenwriter than a director;
Sophia Coppola - I loved 'Lost in Translation';
Dawn Shadforth & Claire Boucher for their music videos;
Molly Dineen for her documentaries;
George Hencken for her film 'Soul Boys of the Western World', which is by far the best documentary that anyone has made about music in 1980s Britain. I know that much is true.
Juliet Forster is one of the UK's best theatre directors. She is consistently brilliant.

Happy Halloween!

About Paul D.

B.E.F. featuring Kim Wilde - 'Every Time I See You I Go Wild' from Paul D on Vimeo.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Nairobi Metal Fest

When: 11th November 2017
Where: The Alchemist Bar, Parklands Road, Nairobi
Time: 7pm till late
Tickets: Advanced - Ksh 700 At the Gate - Kshs 1000
Void of Belonging (Kenya)
Irony Destroyed (Kenya)
Vale of Amonition (Uganda)
Slander (Italy)
In Other Climes (France)
Inquiries: +254708255017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reviews: The Milk Walk

Director: Sascha Taylor Larsen
Writer: Sascha Taylor Larsen
Cast: Gjermund Gjesme
Origin; USA
Genre: Short, Comedy, Fantasy, Mystery
Duration: 6:18 minutes

The film is about a man who has lost control of his body. The only thing that is on his mind is milk. He remembers that someone asked him to bring milk. He had already bought he milk, but because of his lack of control, he forgets that he did. He also acts insane which is evident in the way he growls. The only way he can regain control and sanity is by retracing his steps back to where he bought the milk.

In my opinion, I think Sascha wants the people who feel that they have no control over what is happening in their lives because of different things, to know that by going back to the drawing board: where it all started, they can get their control back.

The film is an example of creativity at its best. From the composition of the scenes, the light, and sound effects, to the camera controls and shooting angles. Everything about it is just perfect. The symbolism in it will keep your mind stimulated.

This is a film that WILL BLOW YOU AWAY!

- Njau M.

A man goes through a tough time as he is unable to control his body movements. He roams from street to street as he tries to come in terms with reality. Other people look at him as if he is an alien. He experiences a lot of hallucinations. Images displayed are of high quality. The film was shot at night which was ideal. The music blended well with the film’s storyline and it kept one in suspense. One gets in a scary mood as he watches the film. It is a must-watch video for horror/suspense/thriller movie lovers.

- Edward Mimi

The shocking burst of music alerted me that the film was going to be bizarre. This was cemented by the fact that that music ended abruptly into some street conversation. Throughout the film, the changes in the tempo of the music were able to alert me to expect a change of character. The shattering glass was also disturbing because, at that point, the bottle of milk was whole.

The subject matter was in line with the title, although the mission was not accomplished, as he never took any milk home. The photograph and video alterations were splendid, especially the zooming in and out scenes. What astonished me was the disturbed behavior of the main character, the quarrelsome noises he kept hearing in his head and the panic attacks.
The acting was so genuine that I hoped the character would get a solution to his mental problem. He visibly expressed pain, torment, anger, at the thought of a near empty milk bottle. However, at some point, the demonic seizures, wild animal-like grunts and crawling seemed exaggerated.

I liked the scene where he pictured himself coming out of the milk bar with a full bottle of milk and him behaving normally. Throughout the film, there was continuous suspense. It was frustrating to watch the continued cycle of mental anguish, especially when he dropped the full glass of milk.

- Linet Njenga

I love the manner that the actor portrays his lack of control over his own body by regularly twitching his arms and walking in a stooping posture. The fight to regain control over his own body is accentuated by his incessant distraction by even the most mundane night-time events such as dog barks. His affinity for milk combined with the trance-like music create a thrilling sense of objective as the crazed man struggles to find his own sanity while remembering to get the milk as instructed. The semi-naked actor completely owned his role, to the extent that one would be tempted to replay the entire video!

- Ernest Komu

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Slave Trade and Rock 'n' Roll?

On August 23rd 1791, the rock 'n' roll spirit was displayed by slaves in Haiti. Their bravery and commitment sparked a chain reaction that resulted in the abolition of slave trade. Over 200 years later, UNESCO proclaimed 23 August as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition.

Would rock 'n' roll exist without the slave trade? The following article explores this debate. The comments are as enlightening and thought-provoking as the article itself.

Would Giancarlo Fusi's screenplay "Hellhound: The Legend of Robert Johnson" be in existence without the slave trade? Food for thought. You can read Giancarlo's ROFFEKE interview here.

"All of humanity is part of this story, in its transgressions and good deeds."
- Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Reviews: Dejejum

Samuel Peregrino’s 2014 short film Dejejum is a mysterious and suspense filled drama. The film employs the use of narration throughout the film to accompany the acting. Peregrino has relied on the use of irony and overstatements which serve to heighten the viewer’s interest in the film. The music chosen for the film is mainly comprised of drum beats which match the fast pace of the film and heighten the suspense. Props like guns and dark glasses have been used to enhance characterization. Sound effects like gunshots have also been used to enhance believability. The film needs patience on the viewers end in order to understand what is happening.
- Jedidah Nguyo

The film was shot in an ideal mountainous and sparsely populated environment. The cinematography was superb since one can see clear real-life images. Sound/instruments were also well used. Dejejum has a continuous flow of events which are unpredictable hence making it thrilling. Actors coordinated well and they properly undertook their various roles. Dejejum keeps one in suspense throughout and in high anticipation of what would follow. Action film lovers will really enjoy it.
- Edward Mimi

The theme was fitting though not clear until the end of the story. The lesson on betrayal was very positive. It creates awareness in the fact that traitors cannot be trusted even amongst themselves. The music suited the specific sceneries especially the gangster music in the desert. The quality of acting was very superior and came out as natural and not forced. The storyline was truly mind blowing. What caught my attention was the short pauses in between the story where a quoted sentence or subtext preludes the next scene. I had to pause and digest its meaning, but it got clear on watching further. The disjointed scenes were rather confusing and worrying at first, but by the end of the film, the pieces of the story came together.
- Linet Njenga

Samuel Peregrino’s Dejejum begins with a prologue in which a man has been abducted by two gangsters who are armed with firearms and he is forced to follow them through the bush. The thugs are driving; at first enjoying music then engaging in a chat. The victim is led to a rock top at the shore of a reservoir. The video is fascinating and highlights the contemporary issues of insecurity.
- ROFFEKE Reviewer

The film mainly reflects on the deterioration of values in the society today. It uses acts like drug abuse, kidnapping, trickery, and murder to send this message. It also shows how things that people desire most can make them turn against each other.The film uses three musical tracks and has a narrator in some points. It has an interesting storyline and a captivating level of suspense. The cinematography and sound effects are excellent. The events unfold fast denying the viewer a chance to digest the occurrences and their causes.
- Njau M.

Spotlight on ROFFEKE Followers: Christopher Wellbelove

According to, "Wellbeloved" is of medieval origin and is a nickname for someone who was loved by everybody. ROFFEKE follower Christopher Wellbelove definitely seems to be loved by many. Perhaps it's because he is a "frequent smiler" or because he is one of the councillors of Lambeth.

Lambeth is a district in Central London and is where Charlie Chaplin spent his early years. Other well-known and well-loved people connected to Lambeth include David Bowie and Carl McCoy, the frontman for the gothic band "Fields of Nephilim".

Wellbelove is also a "marketer, professionally qualified social media expert, presenter, speaker, geek and former Mayor and Parliament candidate."

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Nikola Tesla, Colorado Springs and Jardin de la Croix

10th July marks the 161st birthday of Nikola Tesla. Who is Nikola Tesla? He is the man you should spare a thought for every time you plug in your electric guitar or charge your smart phone or use the Internet!

Tesla Trivia: Tesla is the subject of a song by They Might Be Giants (the guys who sung the theme song for Malcolm in the Middle: You're not the boss of me now and you're not so big). This Tesla song appears on their 2013 album titled Nanobots.


Brought the X-ray photo to the world

Brought the AC power to the world

It is claimed that Nikola Tesla filed over 700 patents. We have him to thank for Alternating Current (AC) and if things had gone well, we would have had him to thank for free electricity! Tesla pursued his innovative ideas for wireless lighting and global wireless electric power distribution in the experiments he conducted in New York and in Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs is the name of a song by Math Rock band Jardin de la Croix, off their album "187 steps to cross the universe". The music video for Colorado Springs was #ROFFEKEOFFICIALSELECTION2015 and was edited by Manuel Pascual, who was also the cinematographer and the production manager. The scriptwriters were Pablo Peris and Manuel Pascual.  Synopsis: "Last day of Nikola Tesla's life"

Here is a mind

That can see across space

Here is a mind soaring free

Sound turns to light

And light turns to waves

And waves turn to all things perceived

The Colorado Springs music video begins with the following information: "Nikola Tesla spent his last days in the New Yorker Hotel plunged into poverty and the oblivion. Sick and old, the ghosts of the past torture him. This film tells about his frustration against Thomas Edison who achieved success at Tesla's expense; his obsession in proving extraterrestrial life with Mary Orsic; his deep fear of intimate relationships, or as the Nazis and the FBI tried to appropriate his inventions like the Death Ray and the Philadelphia Experiment. Trying to enlighten our life, kept his in darkness."

Maybe that knowledge would drive one insane

How can that knowledge be tamed?

One of Nikola Tesla's famous quotes appears at the beginning of the music video: "Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine." 125 years after Nikola Tesla was born, a band that was going to be named after him was born. City Kidd was renamed Tesla in 1986 during the recording of their first album titled "Mechanical Resonance". Tesla named some album titles and songs after events related to Nikola Tesla. For example:

The Great Radio Controversy - This 1989 album is titled after the controversy about the identity of the inventor of radio. It is posed that Nikola Tesla is the true inventor of radio, while Guglielmo Marconi took the credit.The album's inner sleeve tells this story. Six months after Tesla's death, the US Supreme Court ruled that all of Guglielmo Marconi's radio patents were invalid. The court then awarded the patents for radio to Tesla.


Ushered the radio wave into the world

Ushered the neon light

Into the world

Psychotic Supper  (1991) - The lyrics of Edison's Medicine speak volumes:

He was electromagnetic, completely kinetic,

"New Wizard of the West."

But they swindled and whined that he wasn't our kind,

And said Edison knew best.

Tesla Trivia: David Bowie played Tesla in the 2006 film The Prestige. One of the main characters gets Tesla to develop an electro replicating device.

Under an X-ray of Mark Twain's skull

The plan for the death-ray's design

Nikola Tesla was born during a fierce electrical storm. A midwife is said to have declared that the lightning was a bad sign. The music video for Colorado Springs ends with lightning and is very reminiscent of the ending from my all time favourite film, Powder.

The Hotel New Yorker

He's dead on the floor

The body of Nikola lies

With just his papers

No family to tell

Out of the windows birds fly

Tesla Trivia: It is reported that when Albert Einstein was asked how it felt to be the smartest man in the whole world, he replied: "I wouldn't know. Ask Nikola Tesla."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Spotlight on ROFFEKE followers: Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is an entrepreneur, an investor and an influencer. He is a columnist at, a bestselling author and the founder of Young Entrepreneur, Kidpreneurs, Biz Warriors and iSmallBusiness. The Biz Warriors tagline is "Create. Collaborate. Conquer."

Matthew, together with his brother Adam wrote the book "Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs with big ideas". The brothers' bio is quite inspiring:"The Toren's carry their tremendous entrepreneurial spirit like a torch, and are eager to pass it forward to the world's youth while the flame is still burning....One of their passions has been to help ailing businesses by passing along all they know. This entrepreneurial instinct,blended with an even measure of their altruistic nature led the Torens to found Young Entrepreneur, the largest and fastest growing social networking forum for young entrepreneurs."


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Superfama

Reviewer: Josephine Koima

Director: Olga Osorio

Producer: Olga Osorio

Duration: 3mins 45 sec

Country of Origin: Spain

This music video, ‘Buscandia a Superfama’ which means ‘Looking for super fame’  is sang by a  Galician rock band ‘Herederos da Crus’. They started singing in Riberia, a town in Northwestern Spain. Though band members have changed since 1991, the current ones are Antonio  ‘Tuchino’  Novo Suarez (main guitarist),Antonio ‘Tonito’  Ageitos Ares (guitarist),Francisco ‘Fran Velo’ Javier Velo Cambeiro and Francisco ‘Javi’ Javier Maneiro as the lead singer.

The video set is a backstage dressing room with costumes, hair accessories, lighting , furniture and other elements that the band wanted to reflect their humorous and fun-loving personalities and spirit. The song talks about kids who want to be rockers and the musical whim they will need to get ahead in the music world by playing in an orchestra. The ‘special’ piece chosen for the single came as a result of a request made by the orchestra Panorama to the band, with the intention of including one of the band’s themes, on a charity album intended for the fight against cancer. What I enjoyed about the film is the excessively garish and sentimental art employed by individual members e.g having a toilet with oars, (Antonio Novo’s idea) which to me was funny, but weirdly appropriate.

One should appreciate the precision and coordination when it comes to the pace of costume changes for the members. Considering that there was minimal camera movement, only a fixed plane with a dolly-out, they achieved that technical aspect pretty efficiently.

When you look at the band’s previous works, there are certain elements that define them. They are fun, colorful and include a lot of fast paced movements in their videos. In fact, with regard to their themes, appearance and lyrics, they consider themselves more like AC/DC and infuse influences like The Rolling stones.

For me, the fun in the video and reading about their history made me appreciate the changes the band has made over the two decades they’ve been in the music industry. You certainly don’t have to understand Spanish/Galician to enjoy ‘Superfama'.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Spotlight on ROFFEKE followers: Ramin Nasibov

Ramin Nasibov is a Designer & Art Director based in Berlin. His portfolio can be found at

He was featured in The Guardian in this article.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: Don't you have a good feeling?

“Dont You Have a Good Feeling?” is a touching and emotive film about how people treat others. This is a film that everyone should watch and learn from.”

- Edward Mimi.

What is the benefit of kindness? One might wonder. Regis Terencio in his film "Dont you have a good feeling?” seeks to answer this question. In the film whose main theme is kindness, Terencio tells the story of a poor and hopeless street worker who is used to people playing tricks on him. The film utilizes narration - instead of characters’ dialogue - and acting. The two elements complement each other well. The choice of music creates a dramatic effect as it matches the emotions elicited by the narration and acting. One setback of the film is that the street worker ,though depicted as poor by the narration, is well groomed and well-dressed than someone who is poor and hopeless.

- Jedidah Nguyo

What got my attention was the clarity of the film; it was picture perfect. The music was cool and relaxing. It would have been nice if there was some suspense music during the moments we were being kept in suspense. The positive aspect of this short film is that the lesson (kindness) is applicable in everyday life. The theme was appropriate and was in line with the title although the kind act would have been more powerful if it was performed on a poorer looking person, like a street person or a dirty and shabbily dressed person. Now, to the quality of acting. The couple was acting. It didnt come out as a natural occurrence, especially the young man. The sweeper too should have drunk the water thirstily and not poured it on his head. However, I was kept in suspense throughout the viewing. Very interesting, I would award it 4 out of 5 stars.

- Linet Njenga

Dont you have a good feeling is a fascinating movie that I admire because of the hard to get lady vs. man- of- effort notion. The ladys self-respect and endeavor to test the guys love fascinates. The facial expressions portray romance. The music instrumentals are cool and stimulate a breeze of love in the atmosphere of the viewer. The subject matter of the film is affection and the extent to which it gets in tracing its true path between the prospective lovers. The enactment is realistic and creative in an appropriate setting; with the lady eventually opening up to her love.

- ROFFEKE Reviewer

This film is about touching other people's life in a positive way, how a simple kind gesture can brighten another person's day. It's shot in a park which is in an urban setting. The cinematography and the sound are excellent. The soothing background music reflects the exact mood of the story. The acting is on point, feelings and actions are projected conspicuously such that even in the absence of dialogue you can clearly get the message. Nevertheless, the film would have been more exciting if we heard the cast speak as opposed to having a narrator. Worth Watching.

- Marion Njau

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Interview: Fanis Topsachalidis - Director of "Slingshot"

ROFFEKE: How did the economic crisis personally affect you? In other words, how much of "Slingshot" is autobiographical? How much of the story is your personal story?

FANIS: The financial crisis in Greece has radically changed the lives of many people, including mine of course. People of my age grew up differently, we grew up in prosperity and all of sudden in just few years this austerity has changed everything around us. This movie is absolutely personal and we could say that it came out through me, through my soul. We are trapped in that system..... and the only hope, as trite as it may sound is our children...our future!

ROFFEKE: There is a scene where what look like certificates are placed on a grave by the main character. Is a university education still relevant in today's turbulent times?

FANIS: Education has always been important while it doesn't offer only the opportunity for academic education but tries to make better people for our society. In our days that the majority of people are
unemployed, unfortunately the degrees are nothing more but frames on the walls. The hero of my movie puts his diplomas on his father's grave to honor him for all the things that he had offered him. Some years ago, having a university degree meant you could find a job and have a bright future.... Now things have changed... Unfortunately to the worst.

ROFFEKE: In your life, how have you (a) bowed to the system (b) gone against the system?

FANIS: My only escape is through art. It's a big word to say that someone goes against the system. It's complicated and everyone has his point of view. We've got to keep the child in us alive but if necessary have a slingshot in our pockets as the "wolves" are coming closer and closer. This particular time I would say that I go
against the system as I still believe in romance and good heart.

ROFFEKE: How have you kept the child in you alive?

FANIS: In order to survive in this crisis, my way of life keeps the child deep deep inside me. Nevertheless I feel like a child when I do, things that I love, with all my heart without having in mind any reward for what I offer. Yet, when we dream for a better world, means the child in us is still alive...

ROFFEKE: Which band sung the famous Greek rock song mentioned by the main character?

FANIS: The band called " Trypes ". It's one of the most important rock bands in Greece. Their songs touch most people of my age. I give you the link to the specific song:

ROFFEKE: Favourite movie by a female director?

FANIS: My first thought would definitely be Tonie Erdmann by Maren Ade.

Greetings from Greece.


"Slingshot" touches on SDG 10: "Reduce inequalities within and among countries"

And specifically, indicator 5: "Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen the implementation of such regulations"

Further reading: "The US Financial Crisis, Post-2015 Development Agenda, and Human Rights"

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review: The World is Dancing

The World is Dancing
Director: Stefano Bertelli
Producer: Ekat Bort (Artist)
Duration:3mins 53 secs
Country of Origin: Italy
Reviewer: Josephine Koima

Since ROFFEKE has been exploring Films with Sustainable Development Goals’ related themes, this song by Ekat Bort reflects SDG 2: Zero Hunger.Ekat describes her music as ‘explosively sensual'.She displays energy and vigour not only in her video but also in her sound.

This lively video is in a desert setting. The elements of dried up trees, rocky terrain, somewhat desolate environment speaks volumes of what the song is about. She highlights the needs of children in the world, who despite their hunger and crushed dreams, they still manage to find little meaningful happiness in play, laughter and dance. They are innocent and full of hope. We see that through the projections of videos of children on buildings, even though the houses and streets seem deserted.

The lyrics say so much of what should be done to help ‘A lot of children… Live without care,love. They must grow up too fast...We’re tired…we’re hungry, but we’re still dancing. Together we have hope and don`t forget to smile’

You will probably want to watch it more than once, as I did, if you feel that everything’s going too fast. And if you usually like to draw fine distinctions, the video will definitely captivate you, from the drumbeat sounds, to the dancing, to the costumes.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Interview: "Draught" Writer/Director Artem Ukropov

ROFFEKE: Draught was such a fun film to watch. Was it fun to write and direct? What part of writing and/or directing it was difficult? Or was it all fun?

ARTEM: No. For a very long time we discussed every detail of the script, altered the characters' tones and motivations, prepped for the shoot. The hardest scene was the one with all the feathers, as you can imagine. But that scene was probably the most fun.

ROFFEKE: There was a bit of Twilight, American Beauty and Ghostbusters in Draught. Was that deliberate or accidental?

ARTEM: Deliberate. We wanted to stress and accentuate them in some scenes. And as you may have noticed we had quite a few genre cliches. They all play together and are part of our main character, she lives in a fantasy, she lives in her imagination.

ROFFEKE: Some conservative people may not approve of Draught. How do you balance creative freedom versus escaping from being banned by the authorities? What are your thoughts on censorship?

ARTEM: We just wanted to add a little bit of spice, provoke just a bit. But it's all within the limits of the law and there honestly isn't anything improper or obscene.

ROFFEKE: Advice for aspiring screenwriters? Advice for aspiring directors?

ARTEM: Who am I to give advice? For me, it was crucial to have a system, ideally on a spreadsheet based of research. That's how we worked. But that's all very subjective and closer to a craft rather than creativity. But I like that kind of touch and way of working.

ROFFEKE: Your favourite film by a female director?

ARTEM: Filth and Wisdom (Madonna)

"An imaginative girl begins to feel a draft. She tries to find and eliminate the source, which is preventing her from daydreaming about the handsome boy from a nearby window, but no matter what she does, the mysterious source continues to hide and play it's games."

Monday, February 27, 2017

Meat is Murder vs. Meat 2.0

The soundtrack of this blogpost is #ROFFEKEOFFICIALSELECTION2016 "Don't Eat the Cow", a tongue-in-cheek vegetarian anthem by Graham Perry.

Sacred cow, I want you now!
I need you in my casserole!
India, Australia,
The poison just-a keep affectin'

In her article titled "Meet Meat 2.0: the future food "farmed in labs" Amy Au writes: "Convincing the most committed carnivores to compromise is hard. No one wants to be finger-pointed at what's on one's own plate." Meat is not just a personal choice issue. It does also touch on a numbert of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals):

SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
"remaking meat is one sector of the food industry that is ripe for innovation and growth." - Bill Gates.
SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Amy Au informs us that: "While the livestock sector supports livelihood of one billion of the world's poor, and its products provide one-third of our protein intake, it poses serious threat to our environment: it is responsible for 14.5 percent of GHG emissions, 29 percent of total water footprint of agriculture, and occupies 30 percent of the land surface of the planet."

Mooooove over! You gotta make room for the cow!
Mooooove over! You gotta make room for the cow!

Meat is Murder
Director(s): Elodie Desperes and Stephane Elmadjian
Duration: 9mins 32 secs
Country of Origin: France
Reviewer: Josephine Koima

When you first google search ‘Meat is Murder’, the first thing that pops up is the 1985 studio album by The Smiths, by the same name.This short film is a music video by rock star James D. Lee.
The beginning of the video features an off-screen conversation between two people (possibly women) who discuss their love for meat.’ Eating meat is like making love actually, it feels good. Especially when it’s all rare and bloody juicy Meat is awesome’. However, the music is nothing about loving meat. James D. Lee starts by chanting ‘Meat is murder’ followed by strumming on his electric guitar, a sound that reverberates over the lush field on which the simple video is set. One can feel his brokenness and distress as he shouts ‘Meat is murder’. Apart from the lyrics of the song, attention is turned to the beautiful visual elements e.g. the horses grazing, long paths, the vegetation which is made possible by wide angle shots. There is also a close up shot of the amplifier buttons.

Various rock stars and fans oppose any kind of animal killing, whether for meat, or sports. E.g. there was a 10,000 strong petition to ban the band Metallica from performing in Glastonbury (in 2014) due to frontman James Hetfield’s support for bear hunting. It is somewhat counter to the genre’s origins as an excuse for all-purpose carnage and desecration. As Paul Lester wrote ,’Is there an essential contradiction in rock’n’rollers – supposedly synonymous with destruction and teenage rampage – siding with things ethical, moral and good? And can a clean, pure, meat-averse friend of the furry make a credible rock noise? Rock should be savage – but can it embody the feral while denying its primal urges?’ From The Guardian.

Going back to the Smiths, there’s a line in their song that goes, ‘The flesh you so fancifully fry is not succulent, tasty or kind-it’s death for no reason, and death for no reason is murder.’ Perhaps, this 80’s rock band serves as an inspiration to James D. Lee in his own composition.

Going back to Amy Au's article, she writes: "Since the live animal is eliminated from the process, lab grown products are free of antibiotics and growth hormones and is, of course, cruelty free. They also use less land, water and energy, and emit less greenhouse gases."

Whatcha gonna do when the price goes up?
Whatcha gonna do when the meat runs out?

Graham Perry’s “Don’t Eat the Cow” has a dash of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ funk, a few blades of Bluegrass and a healthy dose of They Might Be Giants’ beautiful absurdness. Read a review of “Don’t Eat the Cow” and the other songs in Graham Perry’s album Jambon Gris, here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Interview: "Elemento" director Nina Paola Marin Diaz (Colombia)


El hombre y el agua un solo elemento./Man and water one element.

ROFFEKE: What inspired you to make this short film?
NINA: The decrease in the flow of a large river in Colombia, which had enough water and in a summer time, practically dried up and remained a thread of water, that inspired me to make the short film and environmental reflection
ROFFEKE: What challenges did you face in the making of "Elemento"?
NINA: Make cinema from an environmental reflection and try to give every moment voice to the water.
ROFFEKE: What was the best part of directing this movie?
NINA: Sensitize me with the environmental theme, understand that we are part of the environment and above all we are who can transform things in a positive or negative.
ROFFEKE: What was the worst part of directing this movie?
NINA: None, everything was a joy, a delight, was a personal challenge.

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review: Rock is not an attitude

Contributor: Josephine Koima

Director: Xiaoxiao Tang
Producer: Xiaoxiao Tang
Duration: 5min 9secs
Country of Origin: China/USA

This is a stop motion animation that tells the story of 4 band members discussing their lives before forming the rock band. The films uses instances of flashbacks, and the story is in form of an interview. It would seem they are talking to us, the audience. Each of them had an innate passion for music, and it shows at their previous jobs. For example, one band member was notorious for banging on plates and cups at the restaurant he was working, and, he becomes the drummer.

There’s humor mixed with passion both through their dialogue and actions, elements that effectively communicate their love for their rock band. The director/animator, Xiao Xiao Tang uses this film to live out her fantasy. She cannot sing, or play any instrument, though her characters are amazing.

Their advice: Our lives are a reflection of our attitudes, and we should settle to do what we love.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Interview: Giancarlo Fusi, screenwriter of "Hell Hound - The Legend of Robert Johnson"

ROFFEKE: You are a "not black" guy who - as you put it in your Moviebytes interview - "grew up in New Jersey on a steady diet of American sitcoms and action movies." So why write about "a black sharecropper surviving during the Depression under brutal work conditions and crushing racism?"

Giancarlo: You pose an interesting question as to why a Latino from New Jersey would want to write about a black sharecropper living in Mississippi during the Depression. And I think it has a lot to do with the universality of Robert Johnson's legend. After all, famous deals with the Devil can be traced back to Eve in the Bible and probably even before that. And the site of Robert's legendary pact, a crossroads, is a great metaphor cause we've all been faced with tough choices and often wonder if our lives would be different if we had just gone in another direction. So I think almost everyone can relate to the difficult decision he had to make, even if his life seems foreign to our experience, cause one asks oneself what would I do if the Devil offered me all the riches of the world in exchange for my soul. Would I make that deal?

ROFFEKE: In the same Moviebytes interview, you mentioned that you wrote Hell Hound "in fits and starts over the course of a year". Do you remember when you got that initial spark? Was it an image, a song, a line from a book etc that triggered that initial idea? Or had the idea been percolating in your mind for a while before you sat down to write the story for the first time?

Giancarlo: I have to credit my father for indirectly giving me the spark to write the script. My dad's a huge rock n' roll fan and his favorite guitarist is Eric Clapton. I love digging into the roots of music so I wanted to find out who Eric Clapton's favorite guitarist is and it's Robert Johnson. Not only was he Clapton's favorite guitarist but Robert is also Eric's personal hero. So I had to find out what it was about Johnson that had such a profound impact on Clapton's life. I vaguely knew about Johnson supposedly selling his soul to Satan, but as I read more about the events that led up to Robert's fateful encounter at the crossroads I thought that this, whether it really happened or not, seems tailor-made for a movie. And that's how the initial idea for the script started percolating, but first I knew I had to do more research to make it authentic. So I must've researched for a year before I even typed a single word.

ROFFEKE: What are some of the things you had to research while writing "Hell Hound"?

Giancarlo: I had to research everything about Robert Johnson cause I knew very little about him other than his music and his supposed deal with the Devil. He was born over a hundred years ago. I've never stepped foot in Mississippi and I can't play a lick of guitar. So I had to familiarize myself with things like the geography of the Delta and learn what it was about Robert's technique that made him such a revolutionary guitar player. To do this, I read every book and magazine article available about his life. But I refused to read anything about him online cause we all know what a black hole the internet can be where everyone's an expert and can write anything they want on a blog. So I only drew my research from reliable sources.

ROFFEKE: Fill in the blanks: If you were not a screenwriter, you would be a _______________ or a __________________.

Giancarlo: If I were not a screenwriter, I'd be a rock star or a race care driver. Obviously these are also dream jobs so clearly I'm not one that makes very practical career decisions.

ROFFEKE: Your favourite film by a female director?

Giancarlo: I admire many female film directors and it's a disgrace that more women are not given the opportunity to direct. My absolute favorite film made by a female director has to be Fast Times at Ridgemont High by Amy Heckerling. It was only years after watching the movie that I realized it was directed by a women, which goes to show that the sex of the person behind the camera has nothing to do with the quality of what's up on the screen.

ROFFEKE: Advice for upcoming screenwriters?

Giancarlo: My advice to upcoming screenwriters is the same advice that the great Norman Mailer gave to all writers when he said, "It's not easy to write about a man who's a stranger or braver than yourself. All the same you have to be able to do it. Because if every one of your characters is kept down to your level, you do not take on large subjects. You need people more heroic than yourself, more enterprising, less timid, sexier, more romantic, more magic." Robert Johnson was all those things in comparison to me and almost anyone else for that matter. And that's why I believe I was drawn to tell his story.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Goodbye Darling, I’m off to Fight

Review by: Luci Döll
Cast: Chantal Ughi, Andrew Robert Thomson and Anissa Meksen
Director: Simone Manetti
Writers: Alfredo Covelli, Simone Manetti
Synopsis: This documentary follows Chantal Ughi, an Italian woman, for 30 days, in her ambitious goal to win a World Title in Muay Thai.

“If you’re not loved as a child, love becomes pain, something else.” – Chantal Ughi

Chantal is an Italian woman, who has been a fashion model in Japan, an actress in Italy, and an underground singer in New York before deciding to reinvent her life again by moving to Thailand, to take up Muay Tahi, a form of hard martial art.

At the time of the beginning of the film, Chantal is trying to make her way back into the Muay Thai circuits. After 53 fights over 5 years of training, she lost her passion for the Martial Art. She loses a match, quits and returns to Italy. She decides to reignite her passion for Muay Thai, with a seemingly impossible goal. She plans be back in the ring in one month, in Thailand, in front of the Royal Family, to try to regain the world title.

The film opens like a tourism ad for Thailand, the shots are beautifully composed, with soaring cinematography, and voyeuristic close-ups. The scale is very human as we follow Chantal’s progress during the thirty days that she trains in a cabin in Chiang Mai.

Despite how much time and footage is spent on the training sequences, this is really a film about a girl’s relationship with her father. The documentary format allows for insights as to what each thinks of the other and their relationship. It also becomes clear that this relationship is what eventually colours Chantal’s perceptions on what love is and the role that violence in its definition. Her relationships with the German musician, the Thai fighter and even her decision to get into Muay Thai all begin to show a pattern.

In an anti-Hollywood move, there is no attempt to make Chantal sexy in this documentary: practical training clothes, no makeup, covered in sweat, stringy hair, perpetually hunched over as she trains. These shots of are juxtaposed against the pictures and found footage from her previous lives as a fashion model, actress and singer, where she is more acceptably beautiful. Perhaps it is this which makes Chantal difficult to identify with as a character, but as her mother says with heart-breaking honesty, “Chantal was quite unpleasant as a child.” There are no pretences in presenting Chantal as a flawless heroin, or anything other than what she is.

The director continues to break big movie laws in the pacing. If you’re used to Hollywood pacing, prepare to be disappointed. This documentary can be agonisingly slow, and at times painfully introverted. However, if you take her spiritual adviser’s advice to Chantal, “You need to persevere with what you’re doing… You need to improve your concentration,” you’ll find a gem of a film, a story that challenges you to reconsider what is important and whether the pursuit and achievement of big goals actually bring about happiness.

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆ (Worth Watching)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rockumentary - Placebo:Alt Russia

When I watched Placebo:Alt Russia, I wasn't that surprised to see how passionate Russians are about rock music. According to the analytics, this ROFFEKE blog is mostly viewed by Americans. Russians come in second and Kenyans take third place. Rish, a Kenyan female rocker told me that her songs are mostly downloaded by Russians. A member of Kenyan metalcore band Last Year' Tragedy gave me similar statistics.

What I love about Placebo:Alt Russia is that it is very human, meaning that anyone from any country (Every You Every Me :-) - and especially the creatives - will relate to the sentiments expressed throughout this rockumentary. Rock 'n' roll is just the backdrop, the framework on which various issues are hang upon: censorship, architecture, guerrilla art, politics, crowdfunding, tradition versus modern, cultural exchange, religion, photography, artistic activism....

This year, ROFFEKE will be highlighting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Placebo: Alt Russia touches on SDG 11 and SDG 16: "Make cities and human settlement inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable" and "Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels." Under SDG 11, target 11.4 stands out: "Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world's cultural and natural heritage."

Documentaries are a great way of making people aware of the natural and cultural heritage that is in danger of being made to disappear. In Placebo: Alt Russia we learn of historical buildings in danger of being demolished and two very punk artists who are doing their part to creatively document these buildings for future generations.

I dare say that this fascinating film can be summarized by the three F's in the ROFFEKE motto: Friendship.Fun. Freedom.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review - A Jingle A Go-Go: The Musical

Review by: Luci Döll

Cast: David Barrow Wiley, George Ramirez, Jason Little and Pieter Wiemken
Director: Spencer Frankeberger
Synopsis: David Barrow Wiley stars as Robert, who is struggling with songwriter’s block as he tries to come up with a Jingle for Lucious Lips Lipstick. He finds his cry for help answered from unexpected quarters. This short film is very much like lipstick, it’s fun and it’s cute, and it wears off fast.

Spencer Frankeberger takes advantage of his skills in film production and music therapy to bring us this short musical film, which, in the blink of an eye, jumps from the familiar to utterly camp.

David Barrow Wiley is brilliant in the opening scenes, with almost delicately nuanced acting. He is able to convey frustration with something as innocuous as a nose-flare. He bounces a stress ball in his hands, begging the Lord for a sign. The stress ball misses his hand and bounces off the screen, taking with it all attempts at delicate nuance as the film quickly falls into all the clichés of musical theatre, complete with Dickens references, chorus girls, theatrical lighting, over-the-top acting and yes, a disco-ball. Spenser Frankeberger promises a musical in the title of the film, and he not only delivers a musical, he rubs your face in it.

In terms of structure, the film is flawless. The cinematography captures the tone for both the "serious" and the "camp" sections beautifully. The editing is crisp, and keeps the pacing of the film spot on. The production designer deserves special mention, creating sets that allow for perfect suspension of belief.

Any film which boldly announces itself as “The Musical” should expect to be critiqued on its music. The film features an original score by Joseph P. Sabatino, which I find confusing. It carelessly flips from absolute dissonance, to moments of extraordinarily beautiful harmony, before resolving into the (spoiler alert!) "magical" jingle Robert has been seeking. I don’t think that people will be rushing to iTunes to download this soundtrack.

Short film is a notoriously difficult genre, but I think the director achieved his goals with A Jingle A Go-Go: The Musical. While the film does not really break any new ground, it will definitely keep you entertained for the entire six minutes you devote to it.

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆ (Worth Watching)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ticking Clock: 2016 in Review

In screenwriting, the ticking clock is your friend. In real life, not so much . For me, 2016 has felt like one giant ticking clock.

“There, there my man. It’s just a matter of time.”
- From the “Disregard the Vampire” Teaser

Mike Messier’s documentary “Disregard the Vampire” struck several chords with me. He (Mike, not the vampire!) introduces himself as "a struggling everything". He talks about the struggle of trying to make art with limited resources. And he talks about time running out. You can watch the official preview of the documentary here .

As I mentioned in my most recent Facebook note "2016 in Review (Or 1933 again?)", I am perturbed. The environment is becoming less and less conducive to low budget innovations such as ROFFEKE. Uncaped crusaders are out to save the day from modern-day pseudo monsters while the real monsters are left roaming free, seeking who they may devour. So what is the giroffeke to do? By its very nature, the giroffeke is a "monster", a giraffe with a guitar stuck on its torso. And we all know what happened to Dr. Franknstein’s creation....

I see pitchforks and torches and angry group-think villagers on the horizon even though the giroffeke is just a little bird with little wings. Blondie's "One way or another" keeps playing in my head. Usually, it's just a great song with a catchy tune. But in a different context, it can become a song that will freeze the blood in your veins...

I like the quote at the end of Mike Messier's documentary:

“It is quite easy to take the perfect combination of abundant and well-trained people, all the desired supplies and equipment, unlimited funds, and indefinite time to complete a project. That’s no challenge at all; anyone can do that.The real challenge to your management ability comes when you have the best use of whatever you have on hand to get the results you want. You will be measured more by what you actually get done under such circumstances than by what you can do under ideal conditions.”
- James K. Van Fleet “Take Control of People in 3 Weeks or less”

2016 is over and I am realizing that my gung-ho attitude and naive optimism is slowly being tainted with disillusionment, disappointment and a dash of dread. Luckily, rock ‘n’ roll and the blood of The Rock (NOT Dwayne Johnson lol!) run through my veins. The blood, sweat, tears, enthusiasm, determination, humor, can-do attitude and rock ‘n’ roll spirit of all the awesome filmmakers that submitted their short films, music videos and rockumentaries to ROFFEKE, spur me on. The Sustainable Development Goals spur me on. Pure, illogical, hardheadedness spurs me on. The ROFFEKE motto - “Friendship. Fun. Freedom” - spurs me on.

I don’t know what 2017 holds - or which of these nine clocks we will be racing against - but I know The One who holds 2017…and it’s going to rock!

Happy new year everyone.

“There, there my man. It’s just a matter of time.”
- From the “Disregard the Vampire” Teaser

Monday, December 19, 2016

ROFFEKE at BFMA 2016, 24th November.

Review by Josephine Koima: Intern

Broadcast Film and Music Africa is a business and technology event that serves the creative content and electronic media industry through a marketing platform. They have held such events annually for 7 years to bring together stakeholders in these three industries to empower them with knowledge that will strengthen Africa’s electronic media future. This year’s BFMA was held at the Kenya National Theatre and targeted TV broadcasters, Radio Broadcasters, Film and Music Production companies, Animators, Pay TV companies Advertising and Marketing agencies and many more.

Roffeke was invited and in conjunction with Kenya Scriptwriters Guild, they showcased the progress in the Film industry by their various representatives.In particular, Roffeke’s screenings focused on short films and music videos whose themes centred on particular Sustainable Development Goals. These goals were adopted on September 25th 2015 by a set of countries that desire to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by the year 2030.

Films scheduled for screening were as follows,

SDG 1: No Poverty

1. Blurred Memories. A Canadian film directed by Joffrey Saintrapt.*
2. October Horse, Directed by Pedro Santasmarinas from Portugal.
3. An animated film for the music ‘Fairytale’ by El Sobrino del Diablo, from Spain, directed by Josep Calle Buendia..

SDG 2: Zero Hunger
1. Meat is Murder, directed by Elodie Despres and Stephane Elmadjian, is a film featuring a rock musician James D. Lee..*
2. The World is Dancing- Directed by Stefano Bertelli from Italy.*

SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
1. Grandpa – Directed by Medhat Maged.*

SDG 5: Gender equality
1. An Angel’s Tale by Sara Boix Grau
2. Superfama by Olga Osorio
3. Rock is not an Attitude by Xiaoxiao Tang

(*Due to time constraints, we were unable to screen some of the films)

Apart from these screenings, the session involved a brief introduction to screenwriting, undertaken by both Jackline Emali, a representative from Kenya Scriptwriters’ Guild and Roffeke founder, Mildred Achoch. The discussion centered around the basics of scriptwriting, , the dyanamics of a good story , how to mould characters, types of conflict and the structure of a professional script.

It was encouraging to see the huge turnout of young people interested in film, and hopefully, their enthusiasm will continue building the Industry.

Friday, November 11, 2016

ROFFEKE Screening: Sustainable Futures - Survivor Girls by Nicole Watson

I am so excited and honoured to screen the short documentary "Sustainable Futures: Survivor Girls" directed by Nicole Watson. Here is the link to the programme:

About the Speakers

Nicole Watson is originally from Vancouver, Canada and grew up in the small town of Castlegar B.C. to parents who both immigrated from the UK as children. She is now based in Los Angeles working in film and is interested in international stories and productions. She is the co-founder of the LA based production company 'Blak Dot Productions', and the Founder of the 'econic earth foundation' a 501c3 non profit focused on environmental and wildlife conservation around the world. Nicole speaks English, French and some Spanish and Thai.

Narissa Allibhai is a feminist, activist and creative who identifies as a modern Pan-Africanist. A Master’s graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, she now works for International Rivers leading their East Africa program. She has recently founded the #SaveLakeTurkana Movement and will be launching her documentary on the lake next month. Passionate about rights, nature, and positivity, Narissa is involved with several arts for social change and pan-Africanist movements. She blogs at and tweets from @NarissaAllibhai, AKA the “nature_pagan.” Her favourite activity is to meditate on rocks with beautiful views.

Wangari Kabiru is an Educationist specializing in Transformative Education & Education Design. “School-kids are powerful agents for any agenda and protectors - especially when they learn early. Introduce #green fingers now to schools.

Maryana Munyendo is the founder of Simba Safe Kenya.

Benedict Muyale is the founder of Green Sun Cities.

Alexander Nderitu was the first Kenyan to write a digital novel. Born on William Shakespeare's birthday, rock and rap music were the soundtrack to his life as he sought recognition as a writer. Since 2001, he has authored three e-books, six stage plays and three non-fiction papers. Some of his writings have been translated into Swedish, Japanese and Arabic. In 2014, his poem ‘Someone in Africa Loves You’ was picked to represent Kenyan literature at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland. He is currently the Deputy Secretary-General of PEN Kenya Centre and an arts promoter. Nderitu's works are available at

Stella Ninah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Diplomacy with IT from Maseno University. She enjoys being part of nurturing startups and seeing them grow. She has worked with various Child Rights Advocacy NGOs in Kenya since this is her passion. Her life’s desire is not just to build a career in the field of Children’s Rights but to make a difference in the lives of the children she interacts with. She is the Kenya Program Manager for Art and Abolition.

Supreme Media is a Media& Communications Agency that offers services& Products in Photography & Video production, Event Planning ,Branding, PR, Outdoor Advertising, PA Sound systems& Marketing consulting we have been in Existence for the last three years.
To be the next big wave in the Media industry in East Africa that will focus on social, economic, political, environmental issues and bring in innovative entertainment & informational packs for the whole family.
To maintain quality service to our clients through sustainable ways

Excerpt from "Carbon Diaries" by Saci Lloyd - page 25

…Stacey, the drummer, hurled her sticks at the garage door – but instead of bouncing off metal they bounced off Adisa’s mum’s chest….His mum is Nigerian and she’s got presence, if you know what I mean. She breathed deeply and muttered something about white people’s music.

At the end everyone made a vow to give up 10 points a week to power up the band. I felt dead emotional when I said my vow. This band’s my lifeline. I don’t know how we’re going to keep going, though – a screaming, Straight X punk band isn’t anybody’s idea of important right now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


“Hi Mildred. Thanks for the invitation. It was an interesting experience. I loved that there were creative people gathered and the environment encouraged openness and diversity of ideas and feelings. Topics discussed were very diverse. It was very refreshing to meet smart, courageous people in Nairobi who are not in the mainstream. ROFFEKE seems to be the kind of event where the 'underground' creatives gather and connect. This community will create the future of the region! I look forward to more such events. “
- Melissa Mbugua

Review by Josephine Koima: Intern.

The 17th September ROFFEKE screening was characterized by a burst of ideas and ideals from professionals in and out of the Film industry. The event, held at We Create Kenya Centre in Lavington , was an interesting blend of young women and some men doing their part in living and fulfilling their dreams, and also intending to make the world a little bit better.

First was the screening of short films and music videos from all around the world, all staying true to the spirit of rock n’ roll.
In attendance were two individuals who work at iHub in different capacities. (It’s worth noting that the 2015 ROFFEKE screening was held at iHub) . Melissa Mbugua, an Innovation Engagement Officer spoke passionately about Ushahidi, a platform developed to help citizens raise their voices and concerns about various issues around them.It is also intended to make leaders accountable for their promises.Ushahidi has mostly been effective in monitoring elections, having been developed after the 200/2008 post election violence in Kenya. Other African countries , like Mozambique, have made use of it recently. She mentioned how effective a Twitter campaign labeled #WhatisARoad has helped Nairobi residents voice complains about the state of roads around the county. Certainly, within weeks of running, it generated a lot of traffic (in terms of Tweets) and through rigorous process of dialogue and action with the County government of Nairobi, progress is being seen with regard to repair of these roads. The ‘Ushahidi’ team hopes that in the near future, the same concept will extend to other Counties around the Country.

Her counterpart, Angela Kabari reiterated the same sentiments regarding Ushahidi, though her engagement at the screening was different. Ms Kabari represents a program called ‘The School Series’ that combines the skills of trained personnel to impact the lives of young people between the high-school going ages to those in the university. It is a mentorship program that creates awareness of the world to young adults providing them with skills such as decision-making, conflict resolution, critical-thinking and communication to navigate adulthood.It is an incredible program divide into categories as these ;
i)Life school (19-25yrs) ii)Finishing school (18-20yrs) form four graduates and those who have not yet joined tertiary institutions. iii)Secondary School (Form 1- Form 4) and is surely seeking to address the shortcomings of the Kenyan Curriculum.

Innovation and technology was an important theme at the screening. Tiffany Nthoki and Jessica Ninteretse shared an innovation called ‘TAKA SMART’ a product of Africa Nazarene University students. In an effort to reduce environmental pollution, this method involves collecting recyclable materials and taking them to Taka smart collection agents , after which one gets to earn ‘Taka points’ which can later be redeemed for Airtime. This is only possible after one has subscribed to the service. It uses SMS technology so it can reach more users, those who cannot access smart phones. Fairly a new concept, the product is set to be officially launched soon. It is encouraging to see young people doing their part in environmental conservation by taking part in waste management.

To matters food, we had the pleasure of having a bubbly entrepreneur with a catering business. A chef by profession, Shiru Kimani , or ‘The Roaming Cook’ as she’s known on online platforms, shared her insights on why she loves what she does. Her desire is to make people enjoy home cooking, and more so, creating new and unique dishes with all the same ingredients .She confessed on how she feels not challenged when clients ask for the same ‘Kenyan food’ we are used to at functions –Pilau, chapatti, all kinds of meat stew e.t.c. One thing was noticeable, she really did want to make a difference in the attitudes of Kenyans regarding food, and cooking in general. Through her social media platforms, Shiru Kimani shares her recipes, and her thoughts regarding that particular industry.
Music and Film goes hand in hand. Therefore, it was such a delight to have two percussionists and drummers from ‘Mtafsiri Africa’ an entertainment enterprise based in Nairobi. Reagan Oduor the founder, who’s also a Tutor, and Solomon Muchiri, a student, shared their experiences and journey through their love for music and drumming. Admitting that the entertainment industry offers its own challenges, Reagan says that having a passion for what you do will certainly make your hardwork easy to cut through any barrier. They make their own drums, and this supplements their income.The 10 minutes of performance was thrilling reminiscent of the ‘Samosa ‘ and ‘Koroga’ festivals that they’ve been able to perform at over the years.

Alexander Nderitu, an author and poet, a man who also has interest in Film and technology was the last to speak. He is an e-novelist, which basically means his works can only be bought on the internet, no hard copies unless specially requested by a reader. He was born on April 23rd, shares a birthday with William Shakespeare, perhaps what inspired him to be a career writer. Alexander, or ‘Saint Alex’ as he’s sometimes known, became Africa’s first digital novelist in 2002 for the publication ‘When the Whirlwind passes’ a book that remains Africa’s most downloaded novel. Despite such accomplishments, he remains a simple man, who loves to read, and loves to write. He hopes Kenyans could re-ignite their reading culture and support local writers and artists.
The highlight of his talk, in my opinion, was when he read an excerpt from ‘Hammer of the Gods’ a 1985 book written by music journalist Stephen Davis. The book is considered an unauthorized biography of the English rock band ‘Led Zeppelin’ The excerpt: The essential ingredient for any successful rock group is energy-the ability to give out energy, to receive energy from the audience, and give it back.

It is, after all, a love for rock n’ Roll that birthed ROFFEKE.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Interview: Mike Messier, writer of "Hail! Hail! (Rock 'n' Roll)"

MILDRED: Hi Mike! Thanks for submitting Hail!Hail! (Rock 'n' Roll) to ROFFEKE.

Mike Messier: Hi, Mildred. Thanks for the interview and acceptance into Rock 'n' Roll Film Festival, Kenya. This is a a great opportunity for my film to meet new audiences through film! Although, unfortunately, I can't make it to Kenya to meet you, your colleagues and your fans in person, I hope this interview provides some insights into the creative process behind Hail! Hail! (Rock 'n' Roll).

ROFFEKE: Let's get right into it. Of all the topics in the world, why choose a controversial one? Isn't this risky in terms of higher chances of being misunderstood, not being "marketable" or even being banned?

Mike Messier: The level of controversy around our film seems to be generated mostly from the choice of two female lead characters. James Russell DeMello, a friend of mine who I've collaborated with several times, asked me to write a simple two Actor, one location, five minute film. James asked for a quick turn-around so I wrote the script about a struggling rock 'n' roll dude and his wavering - but loyal - girlfriend rather quickly. I left the rest up to James and his crew. James cast the two Actors Anna Rizzo as Robbie and Jessica Rockwood as Roseanne. James felt these were the best Actors for the piece because they are very talented and are good friends beyond the camera. I agree with James's choice and I was intrigued that he cast two female Actors. James then assembled a great crew that he had worked with many times, and that he knew would execute a solid - and artistic - example of everyone's talents. James also chose the song Mr. Suitcase by the uniquely named artist sun@ndmun.

I've been surprised and even disappointed that our Hail! Hail! (Rock 'n' Roll) has struck a nerve with some audiences as offensive. I don't see the piece that way at all. In a supposed "enlightened" and "progressive" world, this love story transcends gender status. It seems that a lot of criticism towards the film is not based on the quality of Acting or Directing, or even writing (I hope!) but more towards the fact that this is a short film with two females who actually kiss each other. Their kiss is intense and passionate, the way the script was intended. For James to direct it this way was true to the story, regardless of the gender of the Actors. So, really, what it comes down to is the question I must ask of "are these critics offended by the actual sexuality displayed or are they offended by the same-sex relationship?" I tend to think the critics are offended by the same-sex relationship based on the small sample of feedback I've encountered.

But that is the nature of art. The job of an artist is to raise the level of the intellect of its audience, not to placate to its current level. By challenging people's comfort levels, Hail! Hail! (Rock 'n' Roll) is successful already, whether or not the film is actually accepted, understood or deemed marketable by anyone's standards. It's also a short film, so Hail! Hail! is more to provoke than to fully entertain or give anyone a "feel good/ closure" ending that is often formulaic and easily predictable in a mainstream feature film designed to make money. By my experience, making money with a film, a short film especially, is so unpredictable and elusive, it's best to just go with one's gut and make art without worrying so much about the financial benefits, backlash, or circumstances that may follow after the release of the film.

ROFFEKE: How do the two characters a) fit stereotypes b)defy stereotypes?

MM: This is a good question. I'd say that Robbie fits the stereotype of the self-inflated, ego based musician who believes her music is "so good" on her way to "making it" that she deserves to have the whole world - and her girlfriend especially - revolve around her. Robbie's ego is fully illustrated by playing directly to the camera, as if the audience of her home-made video is so "into her" as an artist that warrants such a high demand for her every word. In our current online society of vlogs, blogs and links, where almost everyone has an opinion on almost everything, Robbie is very much contemporary. It's easy to see that Robbie is talented has a "marketable" look, as and, indeed, does look quite "rock 'n' roll" even while playing in a humble basement. But is she so talented that her every move "deserves to be chronicled"? That is what she would have us think.

Certainly, I am basing this character on myself and other artists of all mediums who play to an "invisible audience" that we create in our minds. I have hundreds, maybe thousands, of copies of scripts salvaged and saved, of all different versions and "slightly tweaked" drafts. I also have many videos floating around both my personal belongings and also in the online world that chronicle my adventures. This video and written "journal" of my life is my own ego on display, both personally and privately. So, in this sense, I am "the Robbie" in the piece. I would also throw my own musician friends under the bus with me on this one. I have many musician buddies, most of them guys, who will complain endlessly about their band-mates, or about certain "gigs" and venues that don't pan out for the best or that treat them properly. Many times, I have listened to my friends' and also shared my own kvetch stories of the struggling artist who "can't get a break" or feels ripped off by circumstance or other people. Robbie is a dig at all of us. She represents the talent - but also the ego - of the artist. Having Anna Rizzo play Robbie helps make the character human and likable, but ultimately some may see Robbie as self indulgent. That is the point. She is both self-loving and self-loathing, like many artists, both successful and unknown.

Once again, having a strong female Actor like Anna Rizzo as Robbie pushes the audience. We are used to and more accepting of big time Rock 'n' Roll egos like Mick Jagger, Axl Rose, and David Bowie, Iggy Pop etc. Hip-hop music has Tupac Shakur, Puff Daddy, Jay Z, Kanye West, etc. However, female musicians like Madonna or more recently, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, etc are more likely to get a hard time for their artistic choices, in their lyrics, clothing, and even their sexual presence and body shapes. So to make Robbie a female is a masterstroke by James, in my opinion. As stated, I wrote Robbie initially as a male character. James surprised me with his creative choice and I applaud and thank him for his bold casting.

Jessica Rockwood as Roseanne is a great choice because she plays her character as smart and sensitive while still being unabashed and forward with her sexuality. Jessica is fashionable in real life certainly, but here, she pushes the limits with a sexy style and without compromise. Roseanne represents every private sponsor of a musician, Actor, writer, painter or filmmaker who puts their own ego - and agenda - on the back-burner to support someone else; their dream, their art, their ambition. Ultimately, we get the sense that "the gig may be up" for Robbie as Roseanne is getting sick of supporting her and taking her abuse. But the chemistry of the characters is so intense that they can't get away from each other.

It can be stated that Roseanne is the "rock" to the "roll" of Robbie. Like peanut butter and jelly, they go together. The ultimate test is if the sandwich of their relationship has gone stale beyond the taste of expiration. Or something to that effect.

ROFFEKE: Your story could have been told in any other setting. Why did you choose a rock 'n' roll setting?

MM: Another good question. I believe that a simple basement or any type of makeshift, barren environment where Robbie can set up her guitar and play without distraction represents the isolated nature of an artist. The staircase James uses is the bridge between the two worlds of the outside and the inside of the artist's realm. Ironically, many artists are not social creatures by nature. We expose ourselves, figuratively and sometimes literally, to gain attention, but there is often a shyness and a hurt behind these seemingly exhibitionist actions. This dichotomy is best illustrated here by rock 'n' roll, the ultimate medium of the tortured artist.

ROFFEKE: Cobain comes to mind.

MM: Kurdt Cobain is one of my favorite singers. Same for Jim Morrison. They felt pain, seemingly, and delivered poetry on the highest level. Although I never met either one of them personally, their music and words are so powerful, they deliver a heart-punch of emotion with every listen.

More to the point of the female singer, Janis Joplin demonstrates raw power in every performance. Look up videos of Janis online, as there are many, to see how she conveyed the muse with both love and passion. Courtney Love also had these moments, but more so as rage and reflection. We've witnessed historic performances and enjoyed resonate recordings from Joan Jett, Liz Phair, the ladies from Fleetwood Mac and Heart and all the modern artists I mentioned. People forget - or don't even know - how socially relevant and pained Cher's Half Breed song was - and still is.

ROFFEKE: Say a little bit more about the socially conscious nature of rock 'n' roll.

MM: In 2003, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks made made her infamous remark during a London concert, "Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." In 2003, this was highly unique for professional entertainers, especially popular female mainstream artists, to speak up like this. As we know, many people, as time went by, would come to agree with Natalie's opinion of the second President George Bush. Although not a rock 'n' roll artist in the conventional sense, Maines has as much - or more - courage than anyone other artist of that post 9/11 decade.

Here are links about the Maines/Bush controversey.

In my lifetime, the biggest illustration of the courage and relevance of a singer's singular political or social action is Sinead O' Connor's appearance on Saturday Night Live back in 1992. Just starting a commercially successful rise, Sinead ripped up a photo of the Pope to protest sexual abuse incidents and other atrocities in the Catholic Church as she saw it. This is the famous and infamous "Fight the Real Enemy" incident which some of your readers may be too young to even know about. O' Conner, who had a very successful commercial career at the time, was the featured musical guest on the show. She covered Bob Marley's song "War" with her tweaked lyrics about child abuse (instead of Marley's original lyrics protesting racism) in an inspired - and methodical - attack on injustice as she saw it. In subsequent interviews, Sinead bravely revealed she was a victim of abuse herself and declared that child abuse was the source of all evil in the world. Many, if not most, of her statements seem to make common sense in retrospect, but this was all apparently mind-blowing and thought provoking at the time. And the ensuing controversy, more or less, "ruined her career" in some ways, or at least stigmatized it for the general populous.

If possible, I'd refer your readers, Mildred, to these links about that incident to illustrate how powerful musicians in the public can be.

Watch all these videos. The truth of Sinead's 1992 story is much more interesting than I can describe here in words. While cyber-clicking, this thread of videos and articles is probably the best thing anyone reading this will see today. At the end of the Madison Square Garden performance, two weeks after that recent SNL, Sinead exits the stage after delivering an intense and combative performance to thousands of people; a mixed group of both the hostile and the understanding. The fact that she's singing at a tribute show for Bob Dylan, the very master poet and protester being honored, seems lost on the audience. Sinead leaves, Kris Kristofferson hugs her, and this leaves Willie Nelson alone to deadpan: "Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Neil Young". The legendary talents of Nelson, Young, Kristofferson and even Dylan himself were quickly shadowed by young Sinead's courageous actions, at least for that moment in time.

Does our Robbie in Hail! Hal! (Rock 'n' Roll) have that same potential to effect change, create chaos and challenge the accepted evils of society in her own reality? We can't tell from just this short film. Robbie would have to overcome her own limitations of finances and obtain a position of power with a large following to even "be heard" when she truly finds her voice and focus. Roseanne may continue to support Robbie, or split from her, or even become adversarial. Is Robbie in it for art, or simply to be "rich and famous"... or both? With the advances in social media marketing, Robbie has advantages that her predecessors do not in terms of the ability to quickly build and reach an audience. Certainly, to push Robbie towards a position of cultural influence in the rarefied air of Sinead, Natalie, Madonna and Cher would be a huge writing challenge. I'll give it a shot.

MILDRED: One more question, and this is what I struggle with as a screenwriter. How can one learn to let go of their baby? I don't know if I would have lauded the director if he had cast the male character in my script with a female actress. Grudgingly accepted, maybe, but not applauded him :-) In "Hail, Hail", the director did a pretty good job and his casting choice actually adds new layers to the story. But do you have any war stories of how your script was "butchered" or how your initial idea was misrepresented or misunderstood?

MM: Trust is the key word in letting go. For a baby to walk, the baby itself must be trusted to stand and move. Others must help the baby. The baby must be free.

I'll share some behind the scenes info on our process, as it may be of interest, to both film aficionados and those looking to make their own work.

As per the casting, I know of Anna Rizzo's abilities and talents from working with her intensely for what became the Distance from Avalon Teaser. That project is what Anna, James and I all got to know each other under highly unusual and challenging circumstances. I've also seen Anna's poise, professionalism, and capabilities in auditioning for other projects. So, I had great trust in her also, and excitement with what she could do as Robbie. I did not know Jessica before this shoot, but I was told very good things by James, and I knew that she and Anna are friends in real life, so it seemed like a good fit. I might have raised a curious eyebrow at first, but I never objected to the casting.

Upon seeing the finished piece a few times, I noticed that James had edited a bit of banter at the beginning of the script which were now superfluous once the setting had been established. I had also written one "button" line at the end of the make-out scene where Roseanne states "You're never gonna make it, Robbie". This line was relevant to me when I wrote it, because it brings home the point that Roseanne is still in love even though commercial success for Robbie has become hopeless. So this line indicates that Roseanne might be ready to move on, or perhaps, she is just "stuck".

As it stands, Roseanne's straight to camera glance that ends the film says a lot without words. There is a certain sadness in her eyes, but also a joy, sexiness and mystery. We don't know quite what she's thinking or what her next move will be. However, it can be said, that Roseanne has "taken over" the scene. She is on top, both figuratively and literally. So James ends the film on a metaphorical question mark, rather than a period, which is actually keeping with my style as a writer and filmmaker myself. James understands that is my style because we've worked with each other intensely on other projects, such as the footage that became Distance from Avalon Teaser, also featured in Rock 'n' Roll Festival Film Festival, Kenya.

The title got abridged on the end credits as just Hail! Hail! with the words "Rock 'n' Roll" edited out. I personally would have kept "Rock 'n' Roll" in the the title to indicate the fun and backdrop of the piece and to avoid confusion with a more political statement. So, I've taken the liberty of making the title "Hail! Hail! (Rock 'n' Roll) as our festival entry official title as a creative compromise.

I would use the term tweaked about the Director's choices and I fully understand and appreciate the creative collaboration necessary, especially under time constraints. A Director must be trusted with the material. Script edits happen during film, especially independent film, quite a bit, by my experience. There is often simply not enough time to shoot every desired shot or written line of dialogue, so decisions must often be made on the fly, on the set itself. In the film medium, the Director often has much more leeway and the final word, than in the theater, where dialogue is often the key component. Writers for the stage enjoy protection of their words through certain agreements and contracts. Not so much in film, at least in my independent film world experiences. So, as a screenwriter, one must accept and even embrace this.

Of course, in bigger budgeted films especially, things can get even more "interesting". Producers, financiers and other interested parties, such as distributors, may also be part of this "creative process", often to the chagrin of both writer and director. These contributions - or interference - can be great or disastrous depending on any particular project, team or circumstance. I've read about such complicated situations with recent big budget films such as Fantastic Four and Suicide Squad and the stories are not pretty. So, bigger budget does not always equate to creative freedom for the actual writers or directors. And for a combination Writer/Director, or aspiring or established auteur, these collaborations may be frustrating and/or heartbreaking.

In the end, if a film is made, that is usually much better than it just being a stack of black words on white paper, collecting dust in the bottom of a closet.

Overall, I trusted James' direction on Hail! Hail! (Rock 'n' Roll), especially because he initially requested the script with certain parameters, and was ready to "rock" with it, so to speak.

As a writer, it's great to see one's words come to life, in a colorful and passionate way. The time and energy everyone put into the piece has reached a great audience and looks to open a dialogue and bring an important conversation to the good Rock 'n' Roll and film fans in Kenya.

Thanks for the opportunity, Mildred! - MIKE



MM: While all artists are represented by their work, the rock 'n' roll musician, especially a lead singer, is also represented by their appearance. How much time do musicians spend going into "their look" as opposed to a writer, for example? Compare Britney Spears to Stephen King for a quick illustration.