Mbithi Masya’s multi-award-winning debut feature, Kati Kati, is now streaming on Showmax. Creator Masya made his name as one-third of the cult Kenyan group “Just A Band” and while his music videos have been featured everywhere from The New York Times to Fader to Huffington Post this is his first venture into film.
As a first film it is quite the stellar entrance as it has gone on to win six international awards, including the Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics at Toronto and Best East African Film, AMVCA.
The film starts when Kaleche (Nyokabi Gethaiga), a young amnesiac, wakes up in the middle of the wilderness, she has no idea how she got there. She makes her way to Kati Kati, a nearby lodge, where she meets a motley crew of residents under the leadership of Thoma (Elsaphan Njora). As Kaleche strikes up a quick and intense friendship with him, she discovers that there’s a lot more to Thoma and the mysterious Kati Kati.
Lead actor Elsaphan Njora is a well known multi talented Kenyan artist who is mostly known for his acting and spoken word. He is the founder of EOPNATION; which is a spoken word event that is held in Nairobi every third Friday of the month and has been around for the last 9 years. His first recognizable breakout role was on Briefcase Inc. a show about two young Nairobi men trying to hustle through this life.
And the female lead Nyokabi Gethaiga is an actress known for her roles in Going Bongo (2015) and acclaimed Nairobi Half Life (2012).
At Toronto International Film Festival, the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI short for Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique) jury called Masya “an exciting and unique new voice in cinema” and praised Kati Kati’s “generous and poetic tone, not without a degree of anger at personal and political injustice.”
Reviewing Kati Kati at AFI, The Playlist hailed it as “vibrant and exciting… A condensed version of Lost… A small movie about big ideas… Plays like an act of discovery… An original, vibrant and exciting statement from a talented filmmaker who clearly has much more to say.”
Having been screened at over 40 festivals globally, Kati Kati has won the New Voices/New Visions Award Special Mention at the Palm Springs International Festival; the Filmpris at the CinemAfrica Film Festival in Stockholm; and the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the 2017 Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival.