The highest grossing Kenyan film in theatres last year was a documentary.
Softie, an energetic profile of famed photojournalist turned political activist Boniface Mwangi premiered at the Sundance film festival where it won a special jury award for editing. Even though its festival rollout was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, Softie stayed the course, playing several online festivals and picking up a few more awards along the way. The Sam Soko directed docu-thriller eventually arrived Kenyan theatres for a limited release sometime in October.
Despite critical acclaim and international support, exhibitors in Kenya were not enthused about Softie’s box office chances. Soko recalls, “They took a chance and allowed us screen [time] for two weeks, but we were eventually in theatres for eight weeks. No mean feat.”
Growing success from Africa
Softie’s overperformance reflects a trend of
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