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The Kenya Oscars Selection Committee has nominated ‘KATI KATI’ as the Kenyan submission to the 90th Academy Awards (Oscars) in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. This entry of Kati Kati is only the first step in a series of stages that the movie has to undergo before being nominated. The nominees for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced by the Academy on 23rd January 2018.

According to a press statement by KFC, the move comes after a call for entries was announced through Kenya Film Commission and two entries that were received namely; Kidnapped a film about a jilted lover’s revenge and Kati Kati a film on a mythical place in between life and the afterlife.

Both films met most of the required specifications and were recorded as duly received and on Thursday 14th September 2017 at the Kenya Film Commission and who convened to view the entries as required by the regulations of the Academy. The selection committee had these remarks on the films submitted;


According to the statement, the committee was satisfied that this movie received extensive theatre release exhibition time and that the premier was a Red Carpet industry event which they encourage. The submission checklist provided had all items ticked. However, upon further inspection, the committee found that the technical issue of a minimum 3.1 sound configuration was yet to be completed and delivered together with the submission entry to the Selection Committee. The category of Best Foreign Language Film requires that the film must be predominantly in a language or languages other than English. Upon viewing, the film did not meet that threshold as the predominant language used is English.


“This film had all the items on the checklist and satisfied the Selection Committee on the completeness of the submission. It also had the minimum required theatrical release time and a Red Carpet premier event. On viewing the film, committee noted that the non-English dialogue was sufficient to enable it qualify as a Best Foreign Language Film entry. Although the main discourse is delivered in English, it has substantial amounts of Swahili, Sheng (Street Language) and splashes of vernacular,” read the statement.

KFC together with the committee is keen to see more entries in the running to represent the country at the Academy Awards whose specifications are available on the Kenya Film Commission Website and also on the Academy Website under Academy Special Rules and Regulations – Rule Thirteen on page 16.

Further, filmmakers are encouraged to script non-English dialogue for main characters. This shall give the films a competitive edge in the Oscar Foreign Language Film race. For future reference, the current acceptable ratio of non-English dialogue to English is above 50%.

In addition, film makers have been urged to market their productions, theatrical releases and even invite the Selection Committee to the premiers through the Kenya Film Commission. The minimum requirement for foreign language must not be underestimated. The more productions that meet the requirements set by the Academy the better for the local industry as it competes at a global level.

All aspiring entrants are encouraged to submit their films, Documentaries and Animations to local Film Festivals such as Kalasha and RiverWood and also to international film festivals such as Pan-African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), Berlinale, Cannes, Toronto Film Festival, and Sundance. This will expose Kenyan productions to the world and hopefully catch the eye of Academy members who will make the selection of nominees for the various categories in the Academy Awards.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (OSCARS) opened up the Foreign Language Categories to individual country participation through a selection Committee. Each Country is therefore required to present a select team to carry out this task through the various Film Commissions.

On 1st August 2017 the Kenya Film Commission formed THE Oscar Selection Committee Kenya to serve for a term of 3 years via the mandate given to by the Academy Awards Organizers. Their duty is to view entries and select the ONE entry to represent the country for the category of Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. The committee is also mandated to select the Country entries to the Best Foreign Language Documentary and Best Foreign Language Animation.

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