Kenya Picks Kati Kati for Oscars Foreign Language Category Submission


The Kenya Film Commission who are the custodians of the Oscars in Kenya has submitted the film ‘Kati Kati’ for the Best Foreign Language category for the upcoming 90th Academy Awards. This comes after a close call for entries was announced through KFC. The two film entries were recorded and duly received on 14th September 2017 at the Kenya Film Commission. Here they convened to view the films in accordance with the regulations of the Academy. The selection committee also went ahead to attach comments on both the films.

The two entries that were received were ‘Kidnapped’ which is a film about a jilted lover’s revenge. This film ticked most of the specifications on the checklist which is provided by a Selection Committee on the commission website. These specifications include extensive theatre release exhibition time and a red carpet premiere. However, the filmed lacked a minimum of 3.1 sound configuration which should have been delivered together with the submission entry. There is a requirement which states that the film must be predominantly in a foreign language. The film was found to have English as its predominant language.

Kati Kati‘, a film about a mythical place in between life and afterlife was found to have checked all the requirements in the checklist. Its language selection had substantial amounts of Swahili, Sheng, and splashes of vernacular. After careful consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of both film entries, they selected ‘Katikati’ as the Kenyan submission to the 90th Academy Awards (Oscars). However, 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.


The Kenya Film Association says that they would like to see more entries in the running to represent the country at the Academy Awards. The specifications are available on the Kenya Film Association website and also on the Academy website under Academy Special Rules and Regulations. They urge filmmakers to script non-English dialogue for main characters which gives the films a competitive edge in the Oscar Foreign Language race. The current acceptable ratio of non-English dialogue is 50%. In addition, they ask filmmakers to market their productions theoretical releases and even invite selection committee to the premiers through the Kenya Film Commission. The more the films that meet these requirements, the better for the Kenyan Film Industry as we compete at global standards.

They advised aspiring entrants to submit their films, documentaries, and animations to local film festivals such as Kalasha and Riverwood and also international film festivals such as Pan-African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), Durban, Zanzibar, Dubai, Berlinale, Cannes, Toronto and Sundance International Film Festivals. Next year, the Kenya Film Commission hopes to extend the call to include Best Foreign Langauge Documentary and Best Foreign Language Animation. Interested parties are told to look out for the call in mid-2018 plus the periodic communication from the committee each quarter.


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