72hours Film Competition Winners 05122018 01
Three freshmen and their instructor: the team that won the Best Student Short Film Award at the 72Hrs Film Series 2018 competition on Thursday, November 29 pose with their trophy. From left: Collins Akunga (Director), Andrew Ogonji (Actor, Film Editor), Rachael Muthoni (Actress, Production Manager), Assistant Professor of Film and Animation Dr. Rachael Diang’a (Producer) and Achleus Barrys (Scriptwriter). PHOTO:DAN MUCHAI

By Rachael Diang’a

USIU-Africa floored thirteen other film schools in Kenya to win the Best Student Short Film Award at the recently-concluded 72Hrs Film Series 2018 competition held on Thursday, November 29 at the Anga Diamond Cinema, Diamond Plaza in Nairobi. USIU-Africa’s film, Mad Love, impressed a panel of jurists comprising renowned film makers from the France, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Spain, Uruguay and the United States.

72Hrs Film Series is an online Pan African film competition aimed at unveiling the untold African stories, by giving both industry professionals and student filmmakers a platform to tell African stories by Africans, to the world.

The Kenyan edition premiered the series in Africa, and for USIU-Africa, it was timely as its start favorably coincided with the start of the Cinematic Arts training.
The team comprising Collins Akunga (Director), Achleus Barrys (Scriptwriter), Rachael Muthoni (Production Manager), Andrew Ogonji (Editor), Assistant Professor of Film and Animation Dr. Rachael Diang’a (Producer) and Radio and Television Technician Mr. Zerubbabel Odera (Technical Advisor), worked day and night over a period of 72 hours between October 20 and 22, to come up with a concept, script, plan, shoot and carry out post-production.

The film - Mad Love (2018) - stars Andrew Ogonji (as Red) and Rachael Muthoni (as Debbie).  Red is madly in love with fellow college student Debbie, but he cannot face her in broad daylight. He inwardly yearns for her but cannot fathom freely expressing his feelings to Debbie, who is known for her off-putting high social standards and influence in campus.

Red tries several crude means to reach out to Debbie, ultimately physically assaulting her, which forces him to explain himself. Debbie is actually more shocked at this revelation than the physical attack, especially when he loses hope of living, if his life has to go on without her.

Remarkably, given that this is the first film that the Film Production & Directing freshmen have entered into a film festival/competition, its success has positioned USIU-Africa’s Film Production & Directing program as a game changer in the country and the region.