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Swahili comedy named Kenya’s best film at Riverwood Awards – PHOTOS

Kizingo, a Swahili comedy, was named Kenya’s best picture at the annual Riverwood Academy Awards as television series Mama Duka and Seed, a short film, emerged the big winners of the night as they each bagged three awards at the gala on Saturday night.

The ceremony was held at Kenya Cultural Centre, Nairobi, which was previously known as the Kenya National Theatre,

Auntie Boss, a comedy show that airs on NTV, was the awards favourite as it had received nine nominations but it won only one — Best supporting actress, won by Sandra Dacha.

Sandra Dacha, who won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the television comedy ‘Auntie Boss’, at the Riverwood Awards gala. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
Sandra Dacha, who won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the television comedy ‘Auntie Boss’, at the Riverwood Awards gala. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

Top individual awards produced upsets with breakout stars beating veterans to the top prizes.

Keziah Mugure won the Best Actress award for her role in the drama  Kigorogoro (Drunkard) while John Oron was named Best Actor for the Luo comedy Otoyo Mang’ang’a (Fantastic Hyena).

Accepting her award, Ms Mugure thanked the producers of the TV show, who she said plucked her out from oblivion and believed in her to deliver an award-winning performance.

Anubhav Garg won Best Actor in a film award for his depiction of a disabled person in Beyond.

Keziah Mugure, Best Lead Actress, and Anubhav Garg, Best Lead Actor, pose with their awards at the Riverwood Awards ceremony held at the Kenya National Theatre. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
Keziah Mugure, Best Lead Actress, and Anubhav Garg, Best Lead Actor, pose with their awards at the Riverwood Awards ceremony held at the Kenya National Theatre. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

The awards are a brainchild of Riverwood Ensemble Filmmakers Association, which brings together producers from all over Kenya. The winners in various categories showed the changing face of Riverwood, which now includes films in different languages tackling a range of topics that speak to the Kenyan experience.

Women, too, are making a mark behind the scenes. Betty Kathungu-Furet won top honours as the producer of Kizingo and Njoki Muhoho for Mama Duka.

Muhoho expressed her joy at being recognised at home, saying: “An award won at home means more than one won elsewhere.”

Raymond Ofula poses after winning the Living Legend and Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
Raymond Ofula poses after winning the Living Legend and Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

The biggest shock of the evening was delivered by Violine Ogutu, who won Best Director for the short film Seed.

She initially rejected the award, only to accept it after further assurance.