KENYA SUBMITS GAY KISS MOVIE TO OSCARS
Wed, 26 September 2012Kenya's official national submission to next year’s Oscar awards is Nairobi Half Life, a film notable for including a brief gay kiss.
The film is about a young, aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya who dreams of becoming a success in the big city. In pursuit of his goals he makes his way to Nairobi.
Joseph Wairimu, who plays the main character Mwas, received the Best Actor award at the recent Durban International Film Festival. Nairobi Half Life has gone on to become a popular and critical success in Kenya.
The Kenya Oscars Selection Committee has now submitted the film to stand in the Best Foreign Language category at the 85th Oscar awards. Nairobi Half Life has also been backed by the Kenya Film Commission.
According to Identity Kenya, one of the film's producers, Tosh Gitonga, said that the gay kissing scene was meant to be provocative and initiate discussion on the issue of homosexuality.
"It’s about time people addressed the issue of gays in our society. We did it, but not in the negative angle for once," said Gitonga.
Last year, South Africa also submitted a film, Skoonheid, with gay themes to the Oscars. It was, however, ultimately not selected as one of the five finalists to compete in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Gay sex is illegal in Kenya, with penalties including five to 14 years imprisonment. In May, Kenya's National Human Rights Commission urged the government to legalise homosexuality due to LGBTI people suffering "numerous human rights violations on the basis of their sexual behaviour and orientation".