News

Somali Film Company Launches in Kenya

Roopa Gogineni

Somalia, with help from its African neighbors, is trying to re-establish a central government in Mogadishu.  But since the state's collapes in 1991, many citizens of the country have had to establish roots elsewhere. A pair of Somalis in Nairobi are trying to establish a film company in neighboring Kenya.

In the Somali neighborhood of Eastleigh, in the eastern suburbs of Nairobi, two businessmen have launched a Somali film production company called Eastleighwood.  

Ahmed Shariff, one of the founders, hopes to change people’s impressions of Somali society. “What has been dominant in the mass media outside was an image that represents a people that are violent and extremists, people who are starving to death. With Eastleighwood, what we want to show is the other side of the story," he said.

Eastleighwood aims to fill in the gaps by depicting the everyday lives of Somalis, mainly of those living in the diaspora.

Hassan Abdul, an Eastleighwood actor, fled his Somali hometown of Kismayo in 2003. Still under the control of al-Shabab militants, residents of Kismayo are forbidden from listening to music or watching movies.  Now in Nairobi, Hassan is free to pursue his career as an actor and singer. “We are trying [to] make Somali movies, talking about love, talking about culture, Somali culture, talking about the reality, the reality in Somalia," he said.

Love is Blind, a film currently in production, tells the story of a blind girl living in Eastleigh who is courted by three different men.  It illustrates key themes in the lives of the diaspora, such as the vital financial remittances sent from the U.S. and Europe that support many in Eastleigh.

With limited funding, almost everyone who works on the films is a volunteer. The production sets are often crewmembers’ homes and the actresses double as singers.

Though Eastleighwood is not turning a profit yet, many see opportunity in Somali-language programming.  The audience is global. In Somalia’s two decades of statelessness, millions have fled the country and settled abroad. There are now more Somalis living outside Somalia than within.

Iman Burran, the chairman of Eastleighwood, knows this well. “My mom lives in LA, my brother also lives in California, my other brother lives in the UK, my younger brother lives in Lahore, Pakistan, so you see we are global, so Eastleighwood is targeting a global Somali community," he said.

Four films are currently in production. When complete, they will broadcast on two Somali satellite TV stations reaching Somalis from Mogadishu to Minneapolis.

Somalia is a place that is largely captured by images of war and famine. Eastleighwood hopes to show something markedly different, that there is great diversity in the Somali people and their stories no matter where they are living now.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs