The filming of SOUL BOY

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Beautiful ‘making of’ photos from the set in Kenya…


A little while ago I got an email from a German NGO called One Fine Day Films. They had a request and provided us with the following information:

One Fine Day Films was founded by Tom Tykwer (Oscar nominee for Run Lola Run, director of The International and Perfume) and they told me that they were currently preparing for their first training workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, together with their local partner DW-Akademie and the Goethe Institute.

In September 2010, they planned to hold 7 workshops in the field of Film Production, Directing, Cinematography, Editing, Sound, Production Design and Scriptwriting. 60 young African film enthusiasts would be tutored by film professionals from Germany and the UK.

To give the students an introduction to the art of Film Production, they said they would very much like the participants to work with the book Basics Film-Making: Producing by Charlotte Worthington.

Cover-IFC 01071_C3.indd

We ended up sending them this book and others from our Film-Making series. I was particularly intrigued because I love Run Lola Run, and our book The Fundamentals of Film-Making includes some images from this film.


ava fundamentals


So I asked for a bit more information and this is what they told me…

Two years ago, we shot a 60 minute feature film in Africa’s biggest slum, Kibera.

The story is of 14 year-old Abila, who, faced with his father dying, embarks on an adventurous journey to search for his lost soul.

Tom Tykwer and his partner Marie Steinmann came up with the idea of adding a film workshop to the various other workshop One Fine Day offers in Nairobi, and during this process they decided that one can only teach how to make films by actually making one. ARRI in Germany contributed with rental & post-production and we were able to shoot a 35mm film with a small crew of mostly African professionals and a much larger apprentice team.

SOUL BOY, the title of the film, was so successful that Tom and Marie decided to continue. Together with DW-Akademie and our local co-producer Ginger Ink we founded FilmAfrica! and expanded our workshop idea:

  • in September we’re holding a two-week “mini filmschool” in the fields of directing, production, cinematography, scriptwriting, editing, sound and production design
  • in October/November with a selected group of young trainees from our “mini filmschool” we will shoot a new feature film. The script is currently developed by 3 Kenyan authors under the supervision of SOUL BOY writer Billy Kahora.

 We have opened our program to not only Kenyans, but also participants from almost all African counties.  Tom Tykwer and Marie Steinmann remain the heart and soul of our initative and spend the little free time they have on our project. We are very happy to have found such an enthusiastic crowd!

From 2nd – 9th September 2010 Soul Boy was showcased at the Women of the Sun Film Festival by director Hawa Essuman. This was the first ever African women’s film festival. Hawa is one of the 23 female film-makers who made history at the Festival, which featured 25 films from 15 African countries (see this blog for more info). According to their website, with the support of the Department of Arts and Culture and the SABC, it has been decided that the festival will travel to all provinces in South Africa.


One Fine Day Films sent us the following evocative collection of snapshots from the set, featuring the cast and crew.


Hawa Essuman and actors

Hawa Essuman and actors



Tom Tykwer,Hawa Essuman,Billy Kahora

Tom Tykwer (producer), Hawa Essuman (director) and Billy Kahora (writer)



SOUL BOY Abi and Shiku walk

SOUL BOY – Abila and Shiku



Aunt Susan off Bus

Filming Aunt Susan getting off the bus



Sarika with Willie

Sarika and Willie on set



SOUL BOY Boys in crowd

SOUL BOY – Boys in crowd




Kibera, Kenya



On Set in Kibera

On set in Kibera



Premiere in Kibera

Premiere in Kibera



SOUL BOY Abi and Shiku

SOUL BOY – Abila and Shiku



SOUL BOY boys at the railway

SOUL BOY – boys at the railway



SOUL BOY Shiku gets Abi

SOUL BOY – Shiku gets Abila



Through camera

Through the camera lens



SOUL BOY Team Foto

SOUL BOY team photo


Now watch the film!

The images above were provided courtesy of One Fine Day Films in partnership with FilmAfrica!. To find out more, please visit their respective websites. We are looking forward to hearing more about the progress of the workshops and the new film :)