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Kenya international sport film festival encourages movies on sportsmen

CultureKenya international sport film festival encourages movies on sportsmen

Kenya International Film Festival is hosted every year by Safinaz Foundation that is steered by the former captain of the Kenyan international cricket and tennis national teams, Aasif Karim.

The 5th edition of the Kenya International Film Festival (KISFF) is set to be held in a hybrid mode from 27 – 30 October, 2022. The sports film festival was inaugurated in 2018 and is the first in Africa. It is the hosted every year by Safinaz Foundation that is steered by the former captain of the Kenyan international cricket and tennis national teams, Aasif Karim. This year the organizers are anticipating a bigger event having emerged from the past four editions with a wealth of experience and global recognition. Not to mention, the learnings from hosting two back to editions of the festival during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

Aasif Karim.

One of the primary objectives of the Kenya International Sports Film Festival is to encourage documentaries and movies done on Kenyan sportsmen and women to have them compete at the festival alongside international films. “My idea was to encourage more producers to make films on Kenyan sports stars. The ministry of Sports and the Ministry of ICT should be at the frontline supporting this venture and this way Kenya will bequeath her future generations a great history that cannot be better told than in the way of film,” explains Karim who is currently chairman of the Kenya International Sports Film Festival.
In the inaugural edition held in 2018 at the Louse Leakey Auditorium at the Museums of Kenya, over 1300 sports movies / documentaries were received from all across the globe. In 2020, the Kenya International Sports Film Festival was hosted virtually. The 2020 virtual event commanded a 25,000 people audience online. Last year, the festival embraced a hybrid format with a physical event being hosted in Kenya and getting live-streamed across the globe. “We started hybrid last year with my personal office getting converted into a studio. And I got the Kenya Film School to do the production. With the hybrid model, I am getting a global reach. I am getting more people outside of Kenya watching our festival than in Kenya. Also, what it has helped us achieve in limited resources is absolutely staggering,” explains Karim.
Karim fondly remembers the rivalry he shared with the Indian players on a cricket field but he has great respect for them, particularly Sourav Ganguly and what he achieved for Indian cricket during his tenure as captain. “India was always tough to play against but on a couple of occasions we did manage to beat them fair and square. Also, in the 2003 World Cup during the Super Six stage, we had India cornered but Sourav (Ganguly) and Yuvraj (Singh) saved the day with the former scoring a scintillating century in Cape Town,” recollects Karim.
Karim’s family roots can be traced to Kutch. His father Yusuf Karim played tennis and was the champion for the coast open tennis championships for a cumulative 25 years. Karim himself captained the national tennis team to the Davies cup in Egypt in 1988 before shooting high at cricket where he played at three ICC World Cups. At his last world cup in 2003, he made the Australian batsmen dance to his tunes. During a dream spell, he claimed the wickets of star Australian players, finishing with figures of 8.2-6-7-3 and collecting Man-of-the-match honours. “Well, I can say that it was my day. I don’t think I bowled any differently but every delivery I bowled proved to be virtually unplayable for the mighty Aussie batting lineup,” rejoices Karim.
‘The Karims- A Sporting Dynasty’ retraces the lives of his family’s exploits in sports. Each generation of the family has shouldered the responsibility of keeping this legacy alive. This documentary celebrates their achievements and contribution to sports and society. To quote the former Bangladesh cricketer Athar Ali Khan, “This is a story and a family that has been a source of inspiration for generations of Kenyans.” The documentary film was a recipient of an Honorary Mention Award at the FICTS Grand Finale in Milan, Italy in 2020.
Karim loves visiting India. He recently had flown to India to be a part of special screenings of Indian filmmaker Ajay Govind’s indie sports film titled ‘Madapally United’ in multiple cities in India. The film revolves around school children who get deprived of playgrounds due to land grabbing by businessmen and politicians.

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