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Ezekiel Mutua in trouble for illegally screening ‘Watu Wote’

The makers of Oscar nominated movie Watu Wote have questioned Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) CEO Ezekiel Mutua’s decision to screen the film in the US without their permission.

The Hamburg Media School has issued a statement following inquiries from the public after KFCB sponsored its screening on March 8 at the Eclipse Theatre in Las Vegas, US.

“As the owners of all copyrights for Watu Wote, want to point out very clear that KFCB and Dr Mutua had no rights to so, this screening was an illegal act and a copyright infringement,” read part of the statement.

The Hamburg Media School further reiterated that all the copyrights for the film and the rights to exhibit the film, privately or in public, lie with the school.

The statement also denounced claims by Mutua that he officially attended the 90th ceremony of the Oscars in support of the film.

“Contrary to these claims, Dr Mutua was not in attendance at the ceremony, and did not participate in the Oscars with us. He never received an invitation and was never asked to join us,” the statement went on.

TERROR ATTACK

The school said it has written an official letter to the head of civil services and copied it to KFCB over the matter.

Watu Wote, a film based on events of December 21, 2015 when Al Shabaab militants attacked a bus en route to Mandera from Nairobi, was nominated for the Best Live Action Short Film category during the 90th Oscars ceremony on March 4 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

The film, however, missed out the award to The Silent Child, a film set in rural England about the life of a deaf four-year-old girl.

Dr Mutua, who is always quick to blowing his own trumpet, has remained silent on the matter. Our attempts to reach him on phone went unanswered.

This is not the first time he is getting into trouble with stakeholders in the Kenyan film industry. Last year he faced heavy criticism for joyriding to France for the prestigious 70th Cannes Film Festival.

Two main actors of a Kenyan film that was picked to be screened at the festival accused Dr Mutua of joyriding to the event yet his board had contributed nothing to the project.