KARIBU NYUMBANI, 12min,. UK
Directed by Matthew Williams-Ellis
“Karibu Nyumbani” translates as “Welcome to my Home” in Swahili. Guides in the Maasai Mara have a deep-rooted pride, knowledge, and love for wildlife. This film encapsulates that passion from the perspective of George Osono, a guide in Mara North Conservancy, who completely embodies this spirit of caring for nature.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I had a month in Kenya and knew I wanted to produce a film in that time, but arrived with no specific narrative in mind. After speaking to the guides (and George in particular), I was struck by their genuine love, knowledge and passion for wildlife. Their desire to protect and conserve the animals that call the Maasai Mara home deserves recognition and I think often goes under appreciated. They are the ones who see the animals everyday and are often the first to alert charities if for example lions are found having been speared by humans. They are at the forefront of and are true ambassadors of conservation.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
It took just under a year. I shot the film over the course of a month in September/October of 2022. Spending at least 8-10 hours in the field a day meant there was then a lot of footage to sift through in the edit, but it was completed in time for an exhibition the I had titled 'Individuals' in July 2023.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The biggest obstacle was simply getting the compositions and shots that I had in my mind. In order to create an intimate feel to the film, I needed to be able to get relatively close to my subject and low down too. This is much easier said than done when dealing with subjects such as lions. After talking to the lodge I was staying at, I got access to an open-sided Suzuki with no doors, meaning I could be filming about a foot off the ground to get the look I was after.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It was great to see the varied things that different people picked up on. The ability of the film to help people feel connected to nature, and the 'gorgeous' cinematography seemed to be things that stood out.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I've been making dreadful home videos since I used to borrow my parents video camera when I was about 12! More recently though, I am always on the lookout for an interesting story for a next project.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
It might not surprise you to hear its the Lion King! I spent a few years growing up in Tanzania and this was one of only a small number of videos that we had, so I would regularly watch it more than once a day!
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Perhaps creating a Facebook group or similar as a place where people can discuss the most recent films and network with each other online for those who cannot make the films in person. And connections to possible distributors would be great!
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Flawless! It is so easy to use and simplifies what would otherwise be a extremely complicated task.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Spaghetti carbonara - perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I am returning to Tanzania/Kenya to run some photograph holidays in 2024, but while I am there I am also planning to create a new film so am looking for charities to partner with. I would love to delve into the human-wildlife conflict issue and create something that is truly of help to a conservation charity.