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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...

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Review: Solo Una Vita

Reviewer: Mutendei Writes

Solo Una Vita is a captivating film from start to end, its small production mishaps notwithstanding the film’s overall quality.

With a smooth introduction of a captivating mystery into its opening, the film immediately establishes who its main characters are within the first opening scenes.

With the mystery established, the mystery morphs into an artistic dissection of what community is all about, and exemplifies that community is not necessarily about the size of a group but the connections between them.

Connections that grow between the three main characters, Gea, a struggling but ambitious songstress or singstress as the movie captions her; Elvira, the aptly wise grandmother and landlady of the story and lastly; Nicola, the movie’s mystery and most damaged genius.
As an odd community, the three characters heal themselves by assisting each other with their uniquely specific problems, with the aim of overcoming their challenges, fears and losses.

The result is a rock (soft rock) movie dedicated to the positivity of art, without the assumptively assumed negatives associated with Rock music like, drugs, transactional sex, violence or mania.

If the movie was to be redone in the constructs of the English language, its title may have well been “The Fault among our stars.” However that title is already taken. Not that there is any need to worry or consider an English remake as the Italian (with dashes of Sicilian) music movie clearly establishes its own unblemished and standalone identity.

Identity becomes the back bone of the film and the central theme discussed through the interactions of the cast. In respect to the identity of the film, as mentioned by some of the audience members that watched it at a ROFFEKE event on February 13th at the August 7th Memorial Park in Nairobi, it seems to have been copied by another big budget Hollywood release that also focuses around struggling musicians; an opinion which should encourage you to be the judge of this for yourself.

While it starts out as a music film, it grows beyond that to be a film that covers the discourse and dynamics of art as a whole; the film is so well developed that any other genre of art could be swapped in for music and still have the same effect.

This allows different artists to step into the shoes of the musicians portrayed on screen and embrace the similarities, if any, of human artistic challenges they face.

Using music as a medium, the film explores art in its entirety as an exposition of human nature and not an escape. It presents art as an instrument of healing and coping mechanism for the failures of society and challenges of human existence.

Art is a tool for the exploration of the human condition and art is a home that the artists can be proud of building and developing their souls and talent within.

The film explores many metaphors relevant to human life and focuses on facets that everyone should consider.

Everyone plays different notes and everyone sings and writes differently, a reality that the film uses to highlight the fact that your problems are not bigger than the next person's, and should be considered in the same weight one assigns to one’s own burdens.

Elvira the wise grandmother and landlady, embodies this as a practice, through her own art of Kitsugi, a Japanese practice developed with the belief that “we are better when we fix our broken parts with better things!”

Without Art, we lose ourselves and our humanity.

Solo Una Vita clearly establishing art as a worthy undertaking. The film also explores what we give up for our art and the price we pay. What is the price of pursuing one’s dreams and can the price ever be too high?

Art is about hope. Art begins in Chaos and ends in harmony.

While the film fantastically succeeds in its exploration of art and the human condition, it is not without shortcomings which were alluded to at the beginning of this review.

The film’s transition from credits to first scene is a quick cut in and counterproductive in respect to establishing the film’s mood.

The film does have several errors in its subtitles either due to translation or truncation errors.

In addition to this while the film runs its course, some of the camera angles result in blurred focus and poor character tracking.

With quality of photography being a key consideration in any film, the film also seems to go overboard in cut aways and scenic landscape fillers that do not necessarily further the film and story’s agenda.

The film would have also benefitted from including flashbacks of the loss suffered by Nicola, to give more weight to the character’s burden and better connect the audience to his condition.

These downsides however, are a far cry from outweighing the good of the film, and by its strengths the film is a great investment for one and a half hours of your time.

Mutendei Bio

Mutendei Writes (Elias Nabutete) a Kenyan writer, with Kenyan & Canadian life experiences, writes & performs under the penname Mutendei Writes. As an artistic writer, using original, creative & structured writing, covering unique, genre inspired material, moving beyond the limiting modern day mainstream spectrum of content has been Mutendei Writes. Interweaving modern & cultural inclinations, with vivid storylines, Mutendei Writes artistically creates written & Spoken Word Poetry, along with short stories. With four unique books; The Poetry Express, The IdeaBankisms, Shadow Walkers & Everything Mutendei. Mutendei Writes has also maintained monthly website releases on mutendeiwrites.wordpress.com, adding to his works, while enabling others to pursue their literary goals.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Interview: Javier Lozano Sánchez - "Better Whole" director, writer, producer

ROFFEKE: When you were 6 years old, you started drawing comics based on your favourite movies from the eighties. What were some of these eighties movies that inspired you?

JAVIER: My first comics were based on the movie King Kong (1933) I drew several sequels. King Kong never dies in my comics. By the time I was 13 I had already drawn comics based on Ghostbusters, Robocop, Aliens, Terminator, Batman, Darkman, Star Wars, Mad Max, and many more. My first stories were almost copies from those. I think they taught me how to tell a story. It's something I learned very young, so I really feel comfortable writing stories. After those amazing comics I started to develop my own ideas.

ROFFEKE: You made your first short film with a hi-8 camera when you were 13. What was the short film about? How long did it take you to make the film? What did you learn from the experience?

JAVIER: It was about a mouse from outer space. A boy (my little brother) finds it and then the mouse turns into a kind of gremlin. It was like a home invasión movie, but with a gremlin. The gremlin was a puppet of Ernie (Sesame street) we really customized for the occasion; it even danced in a scene!

We made the short in a week. I had to edit on camera, so I recorded and watched and then we repeated again and again. The short lasted almost 15 minutes.

I learned that it's more difficult to make films than to imagine them. It was an incredible experience, I had no idea about making a short film. There wasn't youtube to look for a tutorial!

ROFFEKE: What lessons did you learn from doing the Better Whole music video?

JAVIER: I learned a lot about visual effects, especially about 3D compositing. It was the first time I used a green screen with actors (musicians in this case). But everything turned out ok. Better Whole is a first step for more ambitious projects.

And I realized again, like in all the projects I'm involved (especially in short films), that it's very difficult to get that incredible image you have in mind. I think images and emotions are mixed in your mind, so they are almost impossible to reproduce. You need to deal with that and try the hardest to get something similar to what you imagine and feel.

ROFFEKE: If you had a budget of 1 million dollars, what would you do different for the Better Whole music video?

JAVIER: I think it would be better technically, and... well... honestly, if I had a million dollars I would not spend it on a music video or a short film... I would probably finance my humble film production company. .. Maybe I'll end up doing the same, but it will take me a lot more time without 1 million to start.

ROFFEKE: If you had a chance to go back in time to meet your 13 year old self just before you made your first short film, what advice would you give him?

JAVIER: Make the short film, make more, and do not doubt about what you really want. I'll tell him: As soon as you finish high school, go do what you really want and forget about everything fucking else.

And after that, I'll visit Doc Brown.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

"Alone" joins the ranks of films with rock-fueled end credits

The Matrix had it. Dogma had it. Fight Club had it. And now Alone has it.

The Matrix
“Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine

Very fitting because: “By the end of the film, Neo literally wakes up from the technology induced slavery…”



Dogma
“Still” by Alanis Morissette

Very fitting because: “The story revolves around two fallen angels who plan to employ an alleged loophole in Catholic dogma to return to Heaven after being cast out by God;”

I am your joy and your regret
I am your fury and your elation
I am your yearning and your sweat
I am your faithless and your religion

I see you altering history
I see you abusing the land
I see you and your selective amnesia
And I love you still
And I love you still



Fight Club
“Where is my mind?” by The Pixies

Very fitting because: “No song has better captured the tone, mood and message of a film quite like this classic…”

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there's nothing in it
And you'll ask yourself

Where is my mind
Where is my mind
Where is my mind





Alone
“Mental Power” by Simply Tomas

Like Fight Club, “Alone” deals with matters of the mind. “Mental Power” by Kenyan rock artist Simply Tomas is simply, a perfect fit.

I cannot understand
The need to live like this
I want to take control
Before I lose my mind

Bridge:
Siwezi kuu-kataa
Kuna shida kubwa
Siwezi ku-kataa
Shida ni lazima

Chorus: X 2
(But) I’ve got mental powers
Working with spiritual powers
Even in the crazy hours
To keep me from self-destruction



“ALONE” SYNOPSIS.
ALONE is a psychological drama set in modern day Kenya.

EUGENE NJOGU 28 (Mwaura Bilalal) a hardworking, timid desk police officer with mild bipolar and OCD wants to earn his father’s approval and admiration by getting a promotion to a police spokesperson but his father PAUL SENIOR 61 (Ian Mbugua), for reasons not immediately revealed, gives him an ultimatum to either quit his job or risk being cut off from the inheritance will.

With the assistance from his happy go lucky artistic leaning brother MARTIN (Brain Shikhuyu) he has to navigate a series of extreme challenges from his boss Chief Inspector Malonzi (Clara Alitsi) and his father; leading to a grand revelation of their shared love and bond.

This is a story that touches on the sensitive issue of mental health and the family, hope, redemption and self-discovery.

#AloneFilmKE

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Reviews: The Neighbor (#ROFFEKEOFFICIALSELECTION2018)

Writer - Zain Ashar
Director - Reinaldo Garcia
Producer - Ricky Cruz
"Luke" - Zain Ashar
"Joe" - Willem van der Vegtkey
"Landlord" - Lucia O'Brienkey

Review by Mutendei

Right off the bat "The Neighbor" shows that a neighbor sometimes is the exact opposite of the word's meaning. Neighbour highlights that we sometimes can get more than we bargained for in the selection of habitation and that people just as much as space and amenities impact the quality of our living space.

"The Neighbor" opens admirably with a good pan acting as a neat transition into the first scene. The cut-aways in between the dialogue of the first two characters we see, hints at unwelcomed company and the cringe worthiness that the lady landlord runs away from. Just because someone hooks you up, doesn't mean they are doing you a bigger favor than the one they are doing themselves.

Having been hinted at being cringe worthy, Luke, the unwanted attention giver, in this case doesn't disappoint in playing his role, opposite the new guy, Joe who as yet unfamiliar with the irritancy of his neighbor, accurately and believably portrays a human response to his indoctrination to the neighbor menace.

From a technical production standpoint, "The Neighbor" moves at a very good pace giving a balanced view to the developments as the film progresses, one scene not losing its relevance to others, either before or after. The film however does not resonate extra emotion in the well-acted and scripted scenes due to the lack of a soundtrack, which is completely absent and a downside to the film, whether intentional or as the result of an omission.

In summary the film aptly explores the boundaries of human interaction linked to habitation and related social dynamics. In exploring this, "The Neighbor" cinematically expounds two truisms of human nature, the first being that familiarity breeds contempt and the second being that "birds of a feather, flock together" indeed.

I believe the overall point of "The Neighbor" is a question, which it internally debates rather well, a question which we all face day to day in some way: do we own our own space?

Audio Review by Wanjiku Francis



Audio Review by Chacha Rich



Audio Review by Kimathi Geoffrey



Mutendei Bio

Mutendei Writes (Elias Nabutete) a Kenyan writer, with Kenyan & Canadian life experiences, writes & performs under the penname Mutendei Writes. As an artistic writer, using original, creative & structured writing, covering unique, genre inspired material, moving beyond the limiting modern day mainstream spectrum of content has been Mutendei Writes. Interweaving modern & cultural inclinations, with vivid storylines, Mutendei Writes artistically creates written & Spoken Word Poetry, along with short stories. With four unique books; The Poetry Express, The IdeaBankisms, Shadow Walkers & Everything Mutendei. Mutendei Writes has also maintained monthly website releases on mutendeiwrites.wordpress.com, adding to his works, while enabling others to pursue their literary goals.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Spinoza Hotel - A short film by Robert David Duncan

I was quite captivated by the poetic narration in Spinoza Hotel. Below is my transcription of the first 1 minute and 30 seconds of Spinoza Hotel.

I channel it all
It’s an unbroken thread you see
It’s that line, that line that comes down
It has come down and I am it, you follow?
Everything that is here that exists here that has ever existed here
And there
Is still here
And there.

There is this thread
Call it madness, call it genius
That travels throughout history
Throughout the universe
And universes, multiverses, multiple verses, you get me?
I like to think of it as this little puddle, like mercury
And it flows around and settles, coalesces, like a bubble of mercury.
If it lands on you or even a bit of it lands on you
Lets say it’s splashing around coz the universe has got bumped or something
And a bit of it gets on you, or a lot, then you got it, you are part of it
And it will flow through you
And you will think and do cool things.
Like weird things even, magical.
Spinoza, for example, he got some.

Spinoza Hotel is #ROFFEKEOFFICIALSELECTION2018

Monday, December 10, 2018

ROFFEKE at MV Fest

On 30th November, ROFFEKE was privileged to be a part of MV Fest, organized by Olamart Creatives. The venue was the beautiful and serene Oak Place Hotel and Conference Centre. The workshop, titled "ABCD of Screenwriting", was attended by actors, screenwriters, film students, models, a music video producer, an artist and a teacher. I used various short films and music videos that were submitted to ROFFEKE to illustrate the basics of screenwriting.

ANTAGONIST

"The antagonist (not the protagonist) must have the greatest willpower, which makes him or her the most powerful character in your story."
- Michael Tabb.

Screening: THIS IS JOE



The protagonist can be his or her own worst enemy.

SCREENING: RITA



BACKSTORY

One of the many things that Backstory helps a writer to do is identify conflict. "Conflict is the fundamental element of fiction, fundamental because...only trouble is interesting. It takes trouble to turn the great themes of life into a story..." - Janet Burroway.

Screening: ROCK IS NOT AN ATTITUDE



CONFLICT

Three types of conflict:
Man versus self (intrapersonal)

Man versus man (interpersonal)

Screening: ON THE FLOOR


On The Floor from Georges HH on Vimeo.


Screening: TAP



Man versus environment

Screening: WALL OF DEATH

Synopsis: "A meteorite flies to the earth and threatens to destroy an open air rock'n'roll party. Through the power of a "Wall Of Death" the festival visitors can save the party!"



DIALOGUE

"A good film script should be able to do completely without dialogue." - David Mamet

One participant wanted to know what the screenwriter's role was if no dialogue was used in a movie. I explained that the screenwriter is the one who writes a lot of what will appear on the screen.

Screening: THE SOUND OF ROAD



Screening: MEASURE OF A MAN



(Check out the interview with Measure of a Man director and actor here)

I ended by asking the participants: What are the ABCDs in RED OMEN?

Screening: RED OMEN

Synopsis: "Award winning Canadian singer songwriter Ed Roman along with animator extraordinaire Nelson Diaz from There Be Dragons Creative Media in NYC have created an exquisite animation to the title track of Ed Roman’s latest album Red Omen. The message is for awareness of Dyslexia."



(Read ROFFEKE Volunteer, Zafrica Hasaja's review of Red Omen, here)

We ended with a short discussion on the challenges and opportunities in the Kenyan film industry.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

3 Reviews by Zafrica Hasaja

ROFFEKE is honoured to have a new volunteer, Zafrica Hasaja. Zafrica studied Theatre Arts and Film technology at Kenyatta University. He has worked as a video editor at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and was an intern at Royal Media Services. Below are his first three reviews:

RED OMEN BY ED ROMAN

Animated music videos are slowly becoming like an in thing and when I saw the video for red omen by Ed Roman I was curious to watch it till the end. Well let’s unwrap ‘red omen’. This song first of all, is an amazing track. I liked the hook and chorus; it’s catchy but you have to listen to the whole song to get the gist. The video is awesome. I loved the concept of the toy theme. It reminded me of when I was young. The guitar was a standout factor, wow! This is one track that should be on your playlist; even kids will enjoy this tune.



A BIGGER MAN BY PAPERFACE
'A bigger man' by Paperface is a creative rock music video. The song not only has an awesome message to it but also there is something special in the chillness of the whole vibe. To all rock fans, this tune captures the deepest part of the soul, sending your mind somewhere to oblivion.Yet again an awesome execution of the video. Honestly I can recommended this song to any one without second guessing. The video is an animated tale that will keep you glued to it till the end. For further understanding (so that it doesn't seem like I am mumbling a lot of nothing) kindly see the video on YouTube and if you like it just like I did, click on the like button and subscribe for more!



MARCH FROM THE UNDERGROUND BY LAST YEAR'S TRAGEDY

‘Last year’s tragedy’ is a Kenyan metal rock group. In review ‘march from underground’ is a fine one with some freshness to it. It has a lot of ‘emo’ to give out with a high tone. The rating for this one is fair. It would be a good composition for a concert. The video done in black and white fuses into the song's theme which was done in memory of one who was close to the group. It is intense and brings out the adventure in the track.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

"Rockstars vs Zombies" - a screenplay by Andrew Ward

Synopsis

Logline - The world brought to it’s knees by zombie hordes.

The hope of mankind is a group of rockstars...If they can stay sober long enough.

Comps – Shaun of the Dead, Airheads, Zombieland


Young wannabe rockstar, Damien escapes the zombies and finds rock legend Christian Blackheart (aka Leslie) to help him stay safe, until a pyromaniac arrives...

The zombie apocalypse is upon us and most humans have already been turned into mindless, brain-eaters. The six-part series of 25 minute episodes will follow the meanderings of Damien and Christian as they hazily shuffle through the hordes of zombies.

They will meet several other (fictional) heroes of rock music on their travels, as well as a few surprise faces. The group comprise of stereotypical rock stars from various eras; aging glam rocker, death metal, female rock star, punk rock, Britpop rock & roller etc.

The reason the rockstars are seemingly invulnerable to the zombie virus is the result of years of drinking and taking drugs. The rockstar’s blood (and brains) are poisonous to the zombies. Zombies are attracted to lights and some noise, but are scared of loud noises, another reason the rockstars are safe.

The group go through several comedic situations (usually involving Damien being in pain, or mocked) and eventually figure out that they will not be killed, as long as they are high, or drunk.

This helps them stay alive, but proves very difficult in getting them to their final destination of an ex-groupie who is a Scientist.

The only stumbling blocks are if the team can remember where they are going and why…

Damien is wilder than the average person, but nothing compared to the rest of the crew and acts as a voice of reason. He tries to keep the band together, helping them through the trip of a lifetime.

In the final episode, they reach the Scientist who is able to create a cure from their blood, but means anyone taking it is constantly high.

Monday, October 1, 2018

What Happens Next?

Two weeks ago, I created a contest on allpoetry.com, inspired by “Rumours”, a short film by Katlyn Cuilla-Martinez. Rumours is “A dark comedy about a young rocker couple who go through a break up at an inappropriate time.” My rules for the contest were simple: “Using not more than ten lines, write a poem about what happens next in this story. I am looking for creativity, humour and use of poetic devices. Have fun!”

Third place went to “Busted” by Hearthrob. The “stash” adds an interesting dynamic to the story! Second place went to “Nightmare Stage Night” by Alexander Boukal. It was a dramatic take on the prompt and was full of lovely poetic phrases.

First place went to “Sour Rock” by Red Head 1. The poem clearly answered the question “what happens next?”. Below is a sample of some of the comments on the poem:

“im an alcoholic...it's hard to iterate...i don't drink anymore...but i feel this deeply…”

“Oh, what a dramtic and gripping story. Your sure are an expert in creating imaginative narration... They sound and appear so possible and natural and yet the element of drama is so entertaining.”

Red Head 1 replied: “My husband is in a band, so some of it comes from second hand experience….But not the alcohol poisoning. Lol”

Director’s Statement:
“When I wrote Rumours, I gave myself the challenge to write something that, with a slight change in direction, could be equally hilarious or tragic. And so it became an excruciating tale of a couple in a moment of complete turmoil. I was intrigued with the raw result. Are Mickey and Nance two soulmates that are victims of a harsh environment? Or are they just two drunk idiots that bring out the worst in each other? We callously laugh at their ridiculous break up, as we are deign to admit that love is not for the faint of heart.”

About the director:
“K.B. Cuilla-Martinez is a feminist writer, director & actor. Known for her fiery personality on- and off-screen, Cuilla-Martinez fuels her work with passion, angst and acerbic humor. She is best known for directing Rumours, a punk-rock dark comedy; and Now Searching, a bleak take on friendship and dating in the modern world. She is currently working on several projects, including a semi-autobiographical series based on her tragic-yet-hilarious time as a Lyft driver. Originally a hippie-punk from Boulder, Colorado; she now assimilates in Los Angeles.”

“Rumours” is a #ROFFEKEOFFICIALSELECTION2017

Read Sour Rock, Nightmare Stage Night and Busted HERE.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Telling Tech Stories: ICT Conference on the Framework for Digital Markets in Kenya

On the 13th and 14th September, I was privileged to attend a conference organized by KICTANET and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS). Venue? The beautiful Tribe hotel located inside Village Market.


The afternoon session on the first day of the conference was a panel discussion titled "Framework for digital markets: in Kenya and EAC region Outcomes of all sessions." It was moderated by Barrack Otieno and was comprised of Rosemary Koech-Kimwatu from Oxygene Ltd., S.M. Muraya the Director of Salte Digital and Wilberforce Seguton of Bunifu Technologies. Wilberforce shared interesting insights from his visit to Germany and talked about some best practices he noted during his visit.

When the topic of telling tech stories came up, I just had to comment:

As a storyteller I just wanted to add a comment on the telling stories issue. I think that a multi-stakeholder approach is needed even in this. Storytellers just want to tell stories and techies can be allowed to just be techies. It’s a matter of collaborating. How can we work together? How can we help each other? As a techie, can you go to a filmmaker and say “let’s do something together”. How can my skills help you and how can your skills help me. So it’s just a matter of working together. Also, innovating the way stories are told. Make films, make reality TV shows, make game shows. Like Lion's Den but for technology. So it’s just a way of finding better ways of getting the story out there and making the story “sexy” so that the kawaida (non-techie) person is first of all entertained because that’s how people learn.



ROFFEKE Tech stories:
Nikola Tesla, Colorado Springs and Jardin de la Croix
Are hackers the new rock stars?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Alien and Alien: Interview - Mariusz Moscicki and Reviews by ROFFEKE Volunteers

"I don't know about you, but I just love that scene from the movie "The Fifth Element" (Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich) when Leeloo learns what [the] word "WAR" means. This inspired me to make this little animation." - Mariusz Moscicki

Synopsis
Alien visited Earth recently. He saw how people treat animals and each other. He got sick because of the air pollution and chemicals in food. He saw war, terrorism and death. Now because of all of that he can be compensated and law firm Alien & Alien is about to help him.

Format:
16:9, stop-motion animation.

Time: 1 minute.

ROFFEKE interviewed the creator and animator of "Alien and Alien", Mariusz Moscicki. His answers were short and to the point, like a commerical, like his animation. :-)

ROFFEKE: How long did it take you to create this animation?
Mariusz: 2 months.

ROFFEKE: What was the hardest part?
Mariusz: House on the rock.

ROFFEKE: Which software/technology, if any, did you use?
Mariusz: None.

ROFFEKE: There are many types of animation. Why did you choose stop-motion?
Mariusz: It's the hardest.

ROFFEKE: Why did you choose to do animation rather than live action?
Mariusz: I love animations.

ROFFEKE: Why did you choose the mock-commercial/ parody advertisement format?
Mariusz: It's a black comedy. I love this kind of humor.

ROFFEKE: Any advice for upcoming animation artists?
Mariusz: Keep your passion alive.

Reviews by ROFFEKE Volunteers

Coming from the perspective of an alien or a creature that is not from earth, this gives an earth resident something to think about in terms of all that’s going on in the world. I love the originality used in this especially the use of candy looking bits to make the characters and most things around them. The camera shots were quite well arranged and the sound is pretty awesome. There were, however, some parts in the commercial that were pretty graphic but I’m sure it was to make sure the message hit home though it could have been executed better without we the viewers getting to see all the blood and dead animals. All in all it was a good short film. - Lesley Gakuo

This video seeks to explain the shortcomings of the society in the World in present time. The law firm is interested in helping in these difficult times. The message being portrayed is very powerful in attracting clients but the quality of animation they used was not that good and was not doing the message justice. I feel like they should have done a better job plus some of the images they used were too gruesome and won't be appropriate to some audiences, for example the ones used to depict war. Overall, I enjoyed the video but I feel they should have done a better job with the animation. - Muthei Muni Nyangweso

I didn't like the video because, first of all the title. From my first impression of the video, based on the title, I was expecting it to be about "Aliens" not a Law firm called "Alien and Alien" so I think they should have chosen a better title for the video. The video itself isn't that interesting too and I don't think being an advertisement it was appropriate to use the picture of the slaughtered cow and the picture of the dead bodies. I don't think it will be comfortable for some audiences. They could have also done a better job with the animation - Ellam Minju Gathendu

"Alien and Alien" is a #ROFFEKEOFFICIALSELECTION2017

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Interview: Kurt No.5 - directed by Aleksandr Kirienko

ROFFEKE: Why Kurt Vonnegut? Why not a Russian author?

Aleksandr: Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite American writers. I have used an extract of a text written by Vonnegut at the beginning of my song "Kurt №5". It is a fragment of his autobiography "Fates Worse Than Death". When I read this passage for the first time, i was very impressed by that. I was born on the bank of a big river too. Therefore it is very close to my world view. It was the main source of inspiration for my song. Suddenly I've got a puppet "Kurt Vonnegut". So I came up with idea to make an animated clip for this song with the puppet Kurt in the title role.

ROFFEKE: What animation techniques did you use?

Aleksandr: I used puppet animation, shooting on location and shooting with a chroma-key. Some of the objects are painted by Vonnegut himself: a stork, a live chicken and a fried chicken, a house, a cow, an air ball, a car and a little dragon. So I've borrowed them from some of his books. The first scene of the movie takes place in Vonnegut's room in New York. Now there is his museum.

ROFFEKE: What parts of the video were the most difficult to animate?

Aleksandr: It was difficult and interesting to shoot at the Baltic Sea in St. Petersburg. On that day there was a strong wind, almost a storm. It was necessary to shoot many shots with Kurt sitting at the seashore, looking at the sea and moving like a real human - turning his head for example. But the puppet was falling all the time because of the strong wind. Despite this, I'm glad that there was a storm that day: it helped us to make a very exciting scene with strong waves, rugged cliffs, gloomy fast clouds and a small plush Kurt - it's very cool.

ROFFEKE: Why a puppet instead of CGI or drawings?

Aleksandr: The puppet itself inspired me so much, that I definitely wanted to make it the main character and I've got no idea of shooting the clip somehow differently. At one film festival in the Russian city of Kirov there was a funny story. It was a festival of feature films. There was only one movie in the animation contest - my "Kurt №5". One of the members of the jury expressed doubt whether it was correct to take my cartoon to this festival. In response, another member of the jury said that the puppet in my cartoon was acting even better than many actors in the feature films. It was very funny, everybody was laughing.

ROFFEKE: In what ways does the music complement the film?

Aleksandr: The main role of my film was played by the puppet Kurt. But the minor role was played by the Water. My video has a lot of Water in its different shapes: the sea, the rivers, the lake, the harbor and even the puddle. I tried to express this feeling of Water in my music. Guitars, synthesizers, voice and even drums are kind of water. Listen the song: all the time it flows, drips, streams and leaks. All water on Earth makes the World Ocean. In my movie, the music and the video are merged into one big sensual Ocean.

Interview: Measure of a Man

Melvin: Hi. My name is Melvin. I was the lead actor in The Measure of a Man short film.
Danny: And my name is Danny Sketch. I was the director, DP, writer and editor of the short film The Measure of a Man.
Melvin: Mil had invited us to come and speak at the screening of this short film but unfortunately due to busy schedules we were not able to make it. So we thought we would do a short video and answer some of the questions she would have wanted us to answer if we attended.

How and why did you become a director?

Danny:

First of all, let me clarify that my main profession is being a DP and not a director. But in the case of shooting Measure of a Man, I knew how I wanted to shoot it and how actors were going to portray the characters. So I figured, since I know all this stuff, let me just direct the thing myself and get it done. As for how, I do not like being in front of the camera.
Melvin: I know.
Danny: I can't act to save my life (laughs). I decided to focus more on behind the camera and technical side of film-making. The artistry of acting and all that stuff, I see it from an outside perspective. I learn how to converse with actors, give them directions and stuff but that's as far as it goes. Most of the times, I'm behind the camera, shooting.

How and why did you get into acting?

Melvin:

Why? I like film. I've always liked film. I'd go to the cinema and I'd watch, I'd think "that's what I want to be doing with my life." I've always liked the idea of playing characters who are very different from me because in my personal life, I'm very reclusive, very boring, so the chance to play people who are very far from my character is really entertaining. And I just like performing and film.

How I got into it. I always had the interest. At first, I didn't know how to go about it. I went for a couple of auditions at Kenya National Theatre but because I guess I was shy and maybe not too confident, I didn't enjoy that process of auditioning. So I thought maybe it would be easier if I just start making my own content so that I can have the chance to try and fail and learn in a safe environment.

What challenges were encountered while shooting the film and did you have any special preparations leading up to filming?

Watch the rest of the interview here:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Interview: Alec Herron - Producer of "The Music Stops Here"

ROFFEKE: What lessons did you learn from carrying out the Kickstarter campaign for "The music stops here"?

Alec: I learned to allow people to buy into the project, rather than just donate money. By this, I mean we hosted events where donors and potential donors could see the work in progress, feeling a part of an ongoing project that they could see and help progress and be a part of. It's also important to keep the donors updated on your progress, not just take the money and say 'thanks, cya'. You have to remember that were it not for their kind donations, your film wouldn't be going beyond your laptop screen.

ROFFEKE: In the BBC radio Manchester interview, you admitted that you were "losing money" because of this project. What priceless things have you gained from making this documentary?

Alec: This is our first documentary, both for myself and (Director) Adam Farkas. Technically we learned a lot about film-making and production, though this is quite obvious, I guess. From the Star and Garter I learned that culture means much more than anything else in this city. Manchester is a passionate city and at the heart of that passion are two things: football and music. I gained an even greater love for my city and for the people that make it so special; the unique characters, the creatives, the down-to-earth spirits and most of all, the people who keep enjoying the city's nightlife and don't give up on the music.

ROFFEKE: Which scenes would you have loved to be included in the final cut of the documentary?
Alec: There is a scene about the 'Smile' indie disco, which many will claim is the longest running indie disco in the city that, essentially, can claim to have invented indie rock. We just couldn't fit this into the shorter version of The Music Stops Here, but we will look to include this in a later form. There are also some great scenes which go into the local political situation that has led to the due closure of The Star and Garter, which add real depth, but might be a bit too overwhelming for a casual non-Manchester viewer.

ROFFEKE: If the "soul" of the Star and Garter could speak, what do you think it would say?

Alec: "Turn it down!"

ROFFEKE: Advice for aspiring documentary producers?

Alec: Just pick up the camera, find the right story and go for it. Don't worry so much about the technical side. People will forgive some dodgy camera angles or sound glitch, but they won't forgive a boring story. Also, when people say "No" to speaking on camera, try again another couple of times. Some of the best interviews you'll do are with initially very reluctant subjects. Equally, some of the worst interviews will be with people who have too much to say!

(Like Placebo:Alt. Russia, The Music Stops Here touches on SDG 11 and SDG 16: "Make cities and human settlements 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.")

Interview: Maxime Guérin - Director of "Save Me a Dance"

ROFFEKE: Why did you pick "1789" by Fuzzy Vox for the opening scenes of the film?

Maxime: A friend of mine made me discover Fuzzy Vox which is a "not so young" band from the suburb of Paris. I really loved their music that can be defined as a perfect mix between some pop Neo-punk such as The Hives and the old rockabilly standards. It's pretty bouncy and positive so when they accepted to lend me a few tunes, I immediately thought of "1789" as a very good opening credit song. It launches the movie in a rock'n roll and funny fashion and it drags the audience to the juvenile and reckless teenage atmosphere I was keen on creating.



ROFFEKE: The lyrics of "I'll be Gone" are very fitting for the theme of "Save me a dance". Did you consider the lyrics of the song when you picked it?

Maxime: It actually is a happy coincidence. The scene was horribly missing music and I added this tune to help the mise en scene and the suspense work. One can't imagine how a rockabilly song brings fun to a scene. Since the movie will mainly be seen by a French audience, I wasn't really paying attention to the lyrics. But when I listened to the song a second time, it became clear that the lyrics and the song were perfect for the scene. I hope it will help the movie catch the English speaking audience.



ROFFEKE: My favourite song in the film is "City of Quartz" by Nine Eleven. If you had to pick a song from a totally different genre for that scene, which song would you pick?

Maxime: Your question is really tricky since one of the main bets, if not the most engaging, was to use a dark hardcore song to cover the final sex scene. In a few festival screenings, some people left the room at this moment, missing the end of the short film. I totally own up for this choice of music which, in my opinion, transcribes perfectly the state of mind of these clumsy, furious and genuine teenagers. And to be honest with you, this bias was the very starting point of my project. So I really can't imagine any other type of song for that scene.



ROFFEKE: What are the advantages and disadvantages of both writing then directing your own film?

Maxime: This short film was a light project with a crew of friends, a young and vibrant cast and very little money involved. So I don't think it would have been possible and realistic to direct it without having written it first. It took me a very long time to get a final version of the script and to be glad and certain of what I wanted to tell through the characters. And even with all this subtle work I made mistake while directing the movie that gave me a hard time during the editing. So I don't see how the writer and the director could have been two different people for this movie.

ROFFEKE: Advice for aspiring writer-directors?

Maxime: Through the example of this short film I would advice anyone who wants to direct a movie with a strong bias and some fresh ideas to go for it. It's always worth it. A couple of years ago I spent almost all the money I had for this film, nowadays I'm not really missing the money, and I have directed a short film I'm proud of.

Review: Blurred Memories

Review by Joseph Ochieng(Intern)
Band: Shake The Deaf
Production: French Connection Films
Director: Joffrey Saintrapt
Actors: Tyler Parr, Kristi Ann Holt

The story, crafted by Joffrey Saintrapt, is about the life of an old man longing for the early days of his life. Moreover, this music video takes the viewer through a comparison of the then-versus-now of the man's life. The opening montage begins with fireworks then crosscuts help introduce the lead character (Tyler Parr) and the state of confusion he finds himself in. The Montage builds suspense as the viewer keeps guessing, while the events unfold. The character’s world is introduced by a montage of panning and tilting shots while he is still lying on a park bench, owing to the intrapersonal conflict he finds himself in, trying to unravel the circumstances which led to his current status.

The music starts from simple, melodious rock bits which escalate to hard rock as the viewer is thrust into the early life of this character. Joffrey Saintrapt has succeeded in the use of reverse motion during the flashback sequence. The actor enters into something like a daydream as he lies on the park bench. In the dream sequence, he leaps into his yesteryears, while all his idiosyncrasies play beforehand; he is energetic, swings himself at a park, meets with his love, walks in the streets, and goes to nightclubs. The reverse speed helps in getting into the mind of the character, as he is nostalgic about how he spent his youthful moments. In the flashback scenes, the reverse motion is accompanied by high pitched rock 'n' roll as well as the baroque tunes. The close-up shots of the words NO EXIT and EVICTION show that however much the character is on a journey of self-rediscovery, he might do only a little to get the answers he is seeking. Considering, he is aging, and life has reduced him to a pauper, a loner, and a binge alcoholic.

This is a music video that makes you want to pause in between the scenes to ingest every bit of the techniques used.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Interview: YJ Kim - writer/director of Chemical

ROFFEKE: What inspired you to write "Chemical?"

YJ KIM: Everyone needs a second chance in their life since we keep making mistakes unconsciously and continuously. The man in the film is me; he wants to have a second chance from the mistakes he has made so far in his life. The chemical in the film is a fantasy-like symbol of that second chance, as the man tries to re-start the relationship with the woman and in the end, the woman reacts with a smile, even though nothing can be changed for them and I would like to label this chemical as ‘hope’ or ‘second chance’.


ROFFEKE: What were the high points and low points of directing the film?

YJ KIM: High point: Dancing scene is the most powerful & imaginative scene from this film as the man and woman get over their trauma via dancing, which is what I love to show off to audiences.
Low points: I would have liked more balance between both the man's and woman’s stories, however, unfortunately, I could not do this due to time limitation and low budget.

ROFFEKE: "Sofia so far" by Goodnight Radio is such a good fit for the crazy dancing scene! What made you pick this particular song out of many other possible songs?

YJ KIM: "Sofia so far" is my favorite rock music song due to the amazing melody line, modern synth sound, powerful beat and rough voice. Thus, I always wanted to put this song in the most important moment of my life. As mentioned, the man in the film is me and the dancing scene is the most crucial moment for his second chance and there was no hesitation for me to put this awesome song in this film.

(ROFFEKE note: "Sofia so far" is part of the soundtrack for the Oscar-winning short film "Curfew")



ROFFEKE: Any advice for aspiring writer-directors?

YJ KIM: Making films is not easy. You could be depressed and stressed because of low budget, lack of inspiration and staff management etc. and so, taking a break is essential as much as diligence for making the film. A deep and good break will make you say ‘Shit, I need to make my next film because I can be better than that!’

ROFFEKE: Your favorite female directors?

YJ KIM: Zoe R. Cassavetes (It is such a pity that one cannot find even a single work of hers in South Korea as she is the best, no matter of male or female)

You can watch "Chemical" on the ROFFEKE OFFICIAL SELECTION channel, at 9.45pm Kenyan time.


Read Joseph Ochieng's review of "Chemical" here

Review: Chemical

Review by Joseph Ochieng
Director: YJ Kim
Actors: Eunmin Kho, YJ Kim, Juhyun Son

The narrative is about a jilted lover seeking reunion with his ex-girlfriend. The Implied silence at the beginning of the film creates suspense and enhances the mood. A blank screen with the words of two characters having a conversation stirs questions in the viewer’s mind. Are they insurgents, are they chemical doctors, and are they scientists? After a few seconds, the two mates are revealed talking matters love over a drink.

Costume design matches with the initial moments of the story. The silent conversation on a blank screen superimposes the dark clothing of the characters when we meet them for the first time. The plot twists and we realize that the two friends are involved in a discussion about love, its intricacies, and characteristics. How the director wields his creativity to relay the message is strategic. The film pace changes from slow at the beginning to a quick montage in the middle revealing flashback sequence and the thoughts of the characters.

Transition to the significant events in the story is primarily enhanced by fading to black. In the second part, Eunmin is introduced. Her boyfriend calls her, and she agrees to meet him. During the date, the man pours the chemical in Eunmin’s drink. The pace increases again when Eunmin’s thoughts play before her eyes, in a fast montage. The visual effects help enhance the mood of the bar scene. The reality is contrasted with Eunmin’s thought through color correction. The director has succeeded in getting his audience glued to “Chemical” from the point of hitting the “play” to the final minutes. The fading to blank screens enhance act breaks, giving the viewer a moment to internalize the previous acts, and prepare for the next events. However, the fact that dialog propels the plot is the main undoing of “Chemical.” Subtlety and suspense could still be achieved through the thought-provoking actions in the flashback sequences.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Successful Film Festival Management

Happy new year everyone! New year, new beginnings, new intern!

ROFFEKE is honoured to have Joseph Ochieng as an intern. Joseph is a graduate from Kenyatta University. He majored in Screenwriting and Film Directing and minored in Audio-Visual editing, Film Festival Management, Film Adjudication, Sound design and video camera operations. Below is his first blog post for ROFFEKE.


Film festivals are events which bring together various film enthusiasts - both the established and budding film producers, directors, actors, actresses, and cinematographers - to watch a series of different genres of film in one or more cinemas or screening venues. Usually, a festival can be local or global with most being the latter.

For a festival manager, there are specific issues which if not given priority, a festival is likely to go into the gutter.

When putting up a film festival, the organizers should be cognizant of the theme on which all films should be hinged. For instance, ROFFEKE incorporates rock films, that is, films with clear rock 'n' roll themes or films with any theme but with a rock 'n' roll soundtrack. Festival organizers need to specify in time what they need the filmmakers to know about the festival.

The second question to ask yourself as a festival manager or organizer is what type of audience are you targeting with your festival? There could be a festival that is specifically for and about the victories and challenges of women (such as Udada Film Festival). A festival might be set up to address LGBTQ issues in the society or an organizer might want to put up a festival which screens films made to advocate for the rights of the millennial boy child.

Additionally, the success of a film festival depends on originality. Before putting out a festival to the multitudes out there whether it is local or internationally, do in-depth research to avoid redundancies. Every film festival should have aspects of subtlety and ingenuity. The last thing you want to do is ape the previous festival you attended and try to put up exactly that. Implement your own ideas to realize your unique vision.

The screening venue is also an important aspect to consider. Which city’s counties or theatres are you likely to woo the maximum number of the festival goers? Does your excellent venue have proximity to transport system, shops, and accommodation centers or is it near the country’s most polluted area? The superb site will attract more film enthusiasts; the average venue will be filled with only a limited number of people. Consequently, a venue also depends on the theme of the festival. Films which narrate about life in the slums might just reach the target people when screened in slum areas. (Slum Film Festival is a good example of one such film festival.)

A festival manager should source for necessary sponsors, donors, and funders who can avail finances, equipment, tickets, help in the festival advertising and take care of any other logistics. Indeed, even the world’s established film festivals have sponsors who give them necessary assistance during the festival screenings.

It is commendable to provide the information about the festival calendar including official film festival submission dates, the preliminary and final deadlines and the proper screening, judging and awarding days. Locking filmmakers in a puzzle where they are oblivious to the exact festival dates and deadlines is very unprofessional. Clear communication concerning the official festival calendar allows the filmmakers to prepare themselves for doing final touches on their films, hustling for the submission fees and arranging travel and accommodation plans. There is no magic wand required for this, just strategic planning and management.

There is need to establish a good rapport with film distributors. Do a good background check of the films that your team of jurors has given the green light. Do they have exclusive distributor agreements which your festival should know about? You cannot afford to plan the festival for a whole year then get flagged by a distributor for screening films which you do not have permission from the owners/distributors. Some distributors choose specific festivals for the movie they are in charge of so even if it is the producer or the star who submitted the film, ensure the film is free from lawsuits.

A festival should have a team committed to overseeing successful selection, screenings, awards, advertisements, bookings and extra logistics. As a festival manager, you need to do appropriate staffing for your fabulous event. The festival director needs to have a clear vision for the whole team and work closely with all the departments to ensure the smooth running of the festival. Furthermore, units like advertising, venue bookings, accounting department, licensing, transport of guests, equipment, emergency, masterclasses and workshops, food and any other logistics all require appropriate departmental heads. You need to thoroughly work with the screening department to ensure the projectors are in excellent condition; the screens are working, lighting is okay, the public address has no hitches, the film aspect ratios enable them to be projected on wide screens or cinemascope, etc.

A festival manager needs to have the license to all of the screening venues. Get the permission to use all the places to avoid being at loggerheads with the authorities. Your guests cannot come all the way from their home counties or countries then fail to watch the movies because you did not do your homework by booking the venue in time and paying the required fee!

Finally, how do you store films that the festival will screen to the public? Do you have enough storage devices like large hard drives and computers? You might want to argue that filmmakers need to carry copies of their works, but well, sometimes people don’t want to bring DVDs or flash drives to movie theatres.

Appropriate planning and strategic management should form an integral part of any film festival. Before a festival runs, the managers should do a good job regarding publicity, excellent communication, funds management, transport system and securing of venues. Most importantly, a film festival should be devoid of any a form of favoritism. Awards should be given to the filmmakers who deserve them, not those who paid something extra. Proper management ensures fewer migraines before, during and after the festival.

- Joseph Ochieng(jphochieng971@gmail.com)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Interview: "Fat Punk" director Robert David Duncan

WINNER, MOST AVANT GARDE FILM
WINNER, BEST EXPERIMENTAL FEATURE FILM
WINNER, BEST EXPERIMENTAL, FEATURE CATEGORY
WINNER, BEST WRITER - ROBERT DAVID DUNCAN - FAT PUNK
NOMINATED, BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE FILM
NOMINATED, BEST DIRECTOR - ROBERT DAVID DUNCAN

"A triumph of solo-shot, punk-style D.I.Y. smartphone filmmaking, Fat Punk explores the space beyond life and death, where memories live on even though the world that contained them is long gone. With its themes of love, struggle, loss, coming of age and aging, Fat Punk is a beautiful tribute to the original era of punk, and the special past that lives on in each of us."

ROFFEKE: The opening images of Fat Punk are quite striking. Why graffiti as the opening images?

Robert: I wanted to be able to have a central visual frame or container for the wanderings that the protagonist takes in the film, and the graffiti-filled alleyways provided that. To some extent, he is wandering though the past - both his own, and the physical past of the city where he came of age. He perhaps is even caught somewhere between life and death, which is something each viewer can ponder and decide about, if they wish to. I had fallen in love with the alleyways of downtown Vancouver while wandering around filming other stuff, and I really liked the picture they present of art, anger, hope, decay and a beautiful array of emotions. As the main character, FP, wanders back in his mind through the life-changing summer he had decades before, the alleys seemed to represent a perfect symbol of that journey.

ROFFEKE: What technical and non-technical special effects did you use in Fat Punk?

Robert: Well, one of the first things that the viewer will pick up on is that the film is shot in first-person camera point-of-view (POV), with an unseen main character. I liked this because it meant I could make the main character really larger than life! This meant hand-holding the smartphone camera rig at a height of around 2 metres. I'm already quite tall, so this was pretty easy, and quite fun. You may notice how much everyone else in the film looks up! This also meant I could play the main character as well as the main supporting character Leo. The protagonist is unseen but heard, and Leo is seen but unheard, so it worked with me playing both.

I also faded from colour to B+W early in the film to show the transition from present day back into the memory world that the bulk of the film takes place in. I used a pencil sketch special effect during post-production that gives the film a sort of graphic novel look, which was intended to heighten the dreamlike quality of memory. Are our memories accurate, or are they created in our own minds like a film or comic book?

ROFFEKE: How much of Fat Punk is autobiographical?

Robert: Like most of my films, there is no "me" character in the story. There are, however, elements that I am familiar with, and emotional themes that I feel a real kinship with. For example, I wasn't the picked-on kid, but I was the kid who didn't join a band when I had the chance, feeling more comfortable keeping my bass-playing for home, and being a band photographer instead.

Similarly, I didn't lose my parents young, but I did lose them, and for various reasons I know what it is to feel fatherless. I think so many of us grow up without the parenting we would have wanted, and I do feel that leaves a permanent sorrow that doesn't go away. This is at the root of the relationship between the main character, FP, and his mentor, Leo. Of all the characters in the film, I perhaps identify most strongly with Leo.

ROFFEKE: Who have been the Leos (mentors) in your life?

Robert: Most of them have been teachers of one sort or another! Early on in school there was a special education teacher who took me under his wing a bit and showed me some cool things with music and other activities. I think he may have sensed a lack in my home life, as perhaps did other teachers, who would spend extra time with me, letting me talk with them. I'm still grateful for that, and for how school was a stabilizing influence in my childhood.

The mentor-protege connection is something I enjoy exploring in my stories. I have a theory that both the mentor and the protege have a lack inside them, and they unconsciously or subconsciously seek each other out. The dynamic between FP and Leo is such a positive one, and is almost a story in itself. Hopefully everyone comes across a positive influence like that at some point in their life.

I've been lucky to have other figures who have served as role models and mentors in my adult life. I try to give some of that back as well, by doing talks, teaching, coaching and writing books, sharing my knowledge. As I get older, I realize there are fewer and fewer older people around to be role models for people my age, so it kind of falls to each of us to step up and try to mentor ourselves and others.

ROFFEKE: In Fat Punk, you turned the weaknesses of having no budget into strengths. If you had a big budget, what major changes would you make to Fat Punk?

Robert: The script has gone through so many changes! The original film I wanted to make was set in 1979, a period piece, and would have had actors playing FP as a child, a teen and as a young adult. I was going to play Leo. I realized early-on that it was beyond my capacity at that time to make that film. Believe me, I tried! I did at times also consider sock puppets, shadow puppets, audio plays, a comic book, a graphic novel, a stage play script, even 3D animation which I started but couldn't get the characters to look the way I had hoped.

I started rewriting the script over and over again to try and drive out costs and complications, simplifying the story every way I could. I was getting tired of this failure or "non-success" hanging over me, so I told myself there was no way I was going to carry this untold story with me into the following year. I was either going to do it or dump it, and I think the latter would have been a shame, because I feel it is a beautiful story of love, loss and empowerment.

Around that time I started experimenting with first-person POV shooting, where I was an actor, but also the cinematographer and director. The FotoSafari MoJo-7 rig I have for my iPhone made that quite feasible. We shot my web series "The Four Letter Words" that way, with me playing an integral but unseen character, while filming and interacting with other actors. Around then I must have had the "a-ha!" moment, because I realized I could perhaps shoot "Fat Punk" from the POV of someone my age looking back in time.

It was amazing how quickly the pieces fell into place after that. This story wanted out! I wrote the final script, dropping many of the earlier story elements and some characters, in just a few days. That became the shooting script, and I only ever printed a single copy of it. Actors that I had been talking to about the longer original version were still willing to come out and do some quick cameos, and the rest is history.

In a perfect world, sure, I'd love to be sitting in a cinema or a stage audience someday and see the original period piece, as written, with all the vintage costumes, set decoration, live music and stuff, but for now, I know I've taken the story as far as I need to for the moment and am getting it out there for people to enjoy. Hopefully they like and get something from it. It was made for $500 in the end, so if nothing else, that should be an inspiration!

ROFFEKE: Favourite female director(s)?

Robert: I suspect some of the people I have in mind might prefer to be known simply as directors rather than female directors, but here goes:

Anita George
Jenell Diegor
Lana Read

They are all directors that I have a lot of respect for. I like how they experiment, push boundaries and do great work, while also being positive and supportive influences for other artists. I recently re-watched "The Savages" by Tamara Jenkins and was again really impressed with the awesome telling of such a realistic and human-scale story. I also came across a film from 1971 called "A New Leaf" and was really interested by both the writing and directing of Elaine May. In general, I think writer-directors rock!

***

Robert David Duncan is the author of Microshort Filmmaking



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."

PROGRAMME

6:01-6:05
Welcoming Remarks
Metta Rep.

6:05-6:10
Business - How much must we sacrifice?
Narissa Allibhai
Feminist, activist, creative, modern Pan-Africanist. Masters graduate from University of California, Berkeley,Founder of #savelaketurkana

6:10-6:15
Goinghomedotcom
David Ogot

6:15-6:20
Screening: Wild Oates
Director: Joshua J. Provost
Synopsis:
John Oates (Hall & Oates) is pushed to the limit during a tedious music video shoot in this retro musical parody.
Philosophy:
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.
Business:
"Entrepreneurial envy damages social ties and potential collaborations, and its particularly pernicious because its often unspoken." - Kate Swoboda in "Overcoming Entrepreneurial Envy" entrepreneur.com



6:20-6:30
Screening: On The Floor
Director: Georges Hauchard-Heutte
Synopsis:
An upcoming Heavy-Metal band. Two brothers - singer and guitarist. A fight during a concert leads their band to darker days.
Philosophy:
"At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst." - Aristotle
Business:
"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

6:30-6:35
Screening: Rock is not an attitude
Director: Xiaoxiao Tang
Synopsis:
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.
Philosophy:
"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." – Aristotle
T.E.A.M – Together Everyone Achieves More; Synergy

6:35-6:47
Screening: Somos Amigos (We are friends)
Director: Carlos Solano Perez
Synopsis:
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.


6:47-6:51
Screening: This is Joe
Director: Francis Diaz Fontan
Synopsis:
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)



7:00-7:20
Screening: Frontman
Director: Matthew Gentile
Synopsis:
"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', stephencovey.com

7:20-7:25
Q and A Session
Mildred Achoch

7.25-7.30
Poetry: The philosophy of love
Carmen Tiiri

7:30-7:50
Live Band
Murfys Flaw

7:50-7:55
Vote of Thanks
Mildred Achoch/
Metta Representative

7:55-8:00
Networking/Guests leave at their pleasure

#bizandphilosophy

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:
texchrisdavesaw.wordpress.com

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.