Length: 85 min
Format: HD 16:9
Language: English, Kishuaheli, German
Directed by: Michael Trabitzsch, Katherina Kiecol
DoP: Fred Otieno, Julius Mwelu
TV co-producer: NDR, 3sat
Film subsidy: Goethe Institut; Medienboard; Nordmedia; Media
Worldsales: united docs
This film is a smaller African version of “8 Mile“, but in documentary form, about real people and real lives. The three main protagonists are Maureen Otieno Opiyo (21), Fred Otieno (22) and Julius Mwelu (19). They grew up in one of the toughest and worst slums in Africa, the Mathare District in Nairobi, Kenya. Their fathers are dead, either from Aids or violence. Their mothers tried, or are till trying, with great hardship, to raise them and their siblings. Fred’s mother was an alcoholic and prostitute and died when he was still very young. Maureen’s brother was shot by the police and Fred’s sister just died of Aids at the age of 20.
Early on both Fred and Julius were gang members and appeared to have no real future.
The viewer hears the story of these three kids and watches as their film, like a diary, unfolds. Much of it was filmed with two small digicams simultaneously, when Fred, Julius and Maureen talk among themselves and with friends and bear witness, creating a true “book of their life”. It is their cinematic diary and, as Fred says in conclusion, it is the only proof that they have really lived.