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THE NGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

2023

Between the Rains: A perfect fit for THENGOIFF

Food Security • Tina Jonhk Christensen

The filmmakers behind Between the Rains are eager to show their documentary for a local audience in Kenya at THENGOIFF. It was made with the Kenyan audience in mind.

Andrew H. Brown and his team behind the documentary Between the Rains always intended for the film to be made primarily for a Kenyan audience. The film was shot in the northern part of Kenya and shows how a rural community, the Turkana-Ngaremara tribe, deals with a prolonged drought, and it was important for the filmmakers that it was made from the Kenyan perspective.

“It is a privilege for us as the mission of the festival and the mission of our film is a perfect fit,” says director Andrew H. Brown about presenting the film at THENGOIFF in Nairobi this October.

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and went on to Zurich Film Festival and has thus already been presented to an international audience. But for the film to screen in Nairobi to both an international and local audience is a special occasion.

“We always wished for the film to be seen by Kenyan audiences and all along it was important for us that the film was made with the Kenyan audience in mind.”

Andrew H. Brown, who is an American, co-directed the film with Moses Thuranira, who is from northern Kenya. The two co-produced the film with Samuel Ekomol, who prides himself on being a spokesperson for the Turkana tribe.

“I did not want to get in the way of them telling their own story,” says Andrew H. Brown, whose background is in humanitarian work in the region. “I wanted them to tell their own story.”

He did this by shooting 800 hours of footage in a period of four years from 2018 to 2022 and by involving the Turkana-Ngaremara tribe in the process.

“I had no business doing it any other way,” he says. “I just let the viewer experience and hear the story straight from the community’s mouth.”

Dealing with the Drought

The film follows two brothers from the Turkana-Ngaremara tribe named Kole and Patrick. Kole is a teenage shepherd, who is trying to find his place in the world, and Patrick is already a young man, who has gained respect in his community and seeks to teach his brother to toughen up and become a man.

“He was the only boy in this village who expressed that he did not want to be a warrior and that jumped out to me,” says Andrew H. Brown about focusing his story on Kole.

“He was an orphaned kid and his brother Patrick was one of the most respected men in the village.”

We follow the two young men as they deal with the conflict that arises with a neighboring community because of the prolonged drought. We see how they deal with the challenges inflicted by climate change and how they find their place within their community and their traditions.

“As nature changes, so must we,” says Patrick to his younger brother Kole as he realizes the effects of climate change on the ancient Turkana-community that dates back 28.000 years, is close to making them extinct. However, at the same time as nature is a kind of antagonist, it is also a holy spirit.

“It is easy to sensationalize their beliefs and we did not want that,” says Andrew H. Brown about portraying the traditions and beliefs of the tribe. “We wanted to do it appropriately. So we spoke to them about how we could speak about nature being angry without it affecting their relationship to their god, which is nature itself.”

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