SA pips Kenya in bid for film

CityPress - - News - BIÉNNE HUIS­MAN bi­enne.huis­man@city­press.co.za

Kenya’s four-day West­gate siege – which saw 68 peo­ple dead and more than 175 in­jured in Septem­ber 2013 – will be re­lived in a Hol­ly­wood film set for pro­duc­tion in South Africa.

Kenyan news­pa­per the Daily Na­tion re­ports that Os­car-win­ning ac­tress Hi­lary Swank ( pic­tured) will star in the tragic film, but did not elab­o­rate on the part she will play.

A man from Lit­tle Mow­bray in Cape Town, James Thomas, was killed in the mass shoot­ing that rocked Nairobi. The Daily Na­tion quotes Amer­i­can pro­ducer Richard Harding. He said the movie would be made in South Africa in­stead of Kenya due to bet­ter film-mak­ing in­cen­tives here.

“Kenya is a beau­ti­ful coun­try with a lovely pool of tal­ent. Un­for­tu­nately, it is the only coun­try with­out in­cen­tives or re­bates to at­tract film mak­ers. That is why many movies about Kenya are made in South Africa.”

The film has sparked wide crit­i­cism for be­ing dis­re­spect­ful of be­reaved rel­a­tives. A friend of Thomas’, Mau­ri­etta Ste­wart, from Cape Town, said in an on­line fo­rum that Hol­ly­wood should re­spect the de­ceased.

Lucy Wam­bui, who lives in Nairobi, wrote: “The whole thing is in ex­tremely bad taste and it makes my stom­ach turn al­ready. Hol­ly­wood will cheapen the lives of those who per­ished in this tragedy.”

The Daily Na­tion also re­ports that an­other Kenyan story will be filmed in South Africa soon. The movie, called Africa, will be based on the life of Kenyan con­ser­va­tion­ist Richard Leakey and is said to star Brad Pitt – with pro­duc­tion and di­rec­tion by An­gelina Jolie.

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