In Summary
  • As Sticking Ribbons is not a commercial film, they could not get a movie theatre to screen the movie before the awards. However, the crew plans on screening it free of charge to encourage other aspiring film makers.
  • The greatest challenge young film makers get is obtaining resources and the required experience in order to make strides in the industry. For the sticking ribbons crew, it was no different as established film makers shunned their idea and even tried to put them down.

A Kenyan film by university students has won an international award in the Zanzibar International Film Festival (Ziff) during the award ceremony held on Saturday..

The film, ‘Sticking ribbons’ was awarded as best East African Talent.

Directed by students Bill Jones Afwani, produced by Kevin Njue who is also the film’s scriptwriter, with Brian Achar as the sound engineer, 'Sticking Ribbons' was Kenya’s only win at the festival that brought together film makers from across the continent.

The 18-minute long film tells the story of a young recovering addict (Kimberly) who tries to ‘stick the ribbon of her life together’ by embracing forgiveness and healing from her abusive past.

Actress Maureen Koech in a scene from the film 'Sticking Ribbons' which scooped an award at the Zanzibar Film Festival. PHOTO/COURTESY

Actress Maureen Koech in a scene from the film 'Sticking Ribbons' which scooped an award at the Zanzibar Film Festival. PHOTO/COURTESY

The first time film makers are third year film students at Kenyatta University.

The Best East African Talent award is given to recognise a promising, talented new film director and comes with a monetary prize of Ksh87,000($1,000).

Afwani, says the award has greatly motivated them and sets them off to a great start in the industry.


Njue, the writer and producer of the film says the idea of the movie, Sticking ribbons, was conceived while chatting with friends at the campus hostels.

“We worked as a team and developed ideas that I later developed into a script, casting was a challenge as established actors were not willing to participate in a students’ project that was not aimed at making money,” he stated.

However, the young filmmakers were able to convince Award winning actress Maureen Koech (Mokko-Lies that bind), Patrick Oketch (Chali-Mother in Law) and Zeph Mwangi to star in the film.

 “Sound has always been a challenge in Kenyan productions, for us, we managed to get good sound from our borrowed equipment and choice of serene locations that had little interference,” says Brian.

Shot in November 2013, it took the crew three days to shoot in the various locations with the help of renowned cinematographer Jim Bishop who offered his equipment and expertise that guaranteed the project’s success.

“Being our first film, we had numerous challenges but were determined to win our first international award so we put in all our efforts by seeking help from an established cinematographer to obtain quality equipment,” said the 22 year old.

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