The feature film “Mvera” by Daudi Anguka is Kenya’s official entry for the International Best Feature Film category at the 96th Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars. The award is set for March 10, 2024, and is one of the world’s most prestigious film accolades.
Set in an indigenous community “Mvera” is a tale of the interdependence between poverty and corrupt governance. The story revolves around a Mombasa community plagued by corrupt leadership and finds itself ensnared in the clutches of poverty.
A cunning millionaire named Thabiti, who owns a local company, exploits the desperation of young people by offering them opportunities to work abroad. Among the applicants is Mvera, a self-centered woman on a quest to find her lost mother. Unbeknownst to them, they have all fallen prey to an organ trafficking ring masterminded by Thabiti.
As Mvera realizes the dire situation they are in, she embarks on an unexpected hero’s journey. Her mission becomes twofold. Not only does she seek to save herself and her fellow victims, but she also has the determination to return home and warn her fellow villagers about Thabiti. Ironically, the same man they plan to choose as Governor due to the facade of “support” he appears to offer. Through her harrowing ordeal, Mvera learns a profound truth. Not every opportunity is a genuine chance for a better life; some can lead to unimaginable darkness and despair.
“Mvera” premiered last month at the Nyali Cinemax in Mombasa and is currently being screened in theatres nationwide. Its stellar cast includes Patrick Owino, Hillary Namanje, Carolyne Rita Mutua, Kibi Salim, Susan Kadide, and Linah Sande, who plays Mvera’s character.
Kenya has made submissions for this award since 2012. Mvera joins the list of Kenyan films such as “Nairobi Half Life,” “Supa Modo,” and last year’s entry, “Terastorm” that have been submitted for Oscars consideration. So far, none of the Kenyan films ever submitted have made it to the final nominations.