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SOUL BOY

SOUL BOY
Scene from SOUL BOY (photo © Christian Almesberger)

Nairobi, Kenya. 14-year-old Abila lives with his parents in Kibera, one of the largest slums in East Africa. One morning the teenager discovers his father ill and delirious. Someone has stolen his soul, mumbles the father as he sits huddled in a corner. Abila is shocked and confused but wants to help his father and goes in search of a suitable cure. Supported by his friend Shiku who is the same age as him, he learns that his father has gambled his soul away in the company of a spiritual woman. The teenager does not want to believe it and sets about looking for the witch. When he finally discovers her in the darkest corner of the ghetto, she gives him seven challenging tasks to save his father’s lost soul. Abila embarks on an adventurous journey which leads him right through the microcosm of his home town...


Hawa Essuman was born in 1980 in Hamburg. She performed in various theater plays and two films before she found her way into the world of production, where she worked on TV commercials and documentaries before taking the plunge into directing on a Kenyan TV drama series. She then wrote and directed SELFISH and later THE LIFT, both released in 2009. SOUL BOY celebrated its premiere at the 2010 Göteborg Film Festival. She is currently working on her next film project, a feature set at the Kenyan coast.
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2010
Director Hawa Essuman
Screenplay Billy Kahora
Cinematography Christian Almesberger
Ng'ethe Gitungo
Xaver von Treyer
Naima Mungai
Cast Samson Odhiambo, Leila Dayan Opou
Producers Marie Steinmann-Tykwer, Tom Tykwer
Co-Producers Verena Rahmig, Sarika Hemi Lakhani
Production Company One Fine Day Films/Berlin, in co-production with Ginger Ink Films/Nairobi
Length 60 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 Swahili/English
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals Zanzibar 2010, Göteborg 2010, Rotterdam 2010, Afrika Filmfestival Löwe 2010, Berlin 2010, Montreal 2010, Hamptons 2010, Edinburgh 2010, Durban 2010, Warsaw 2010, Palm Springs 2011, Sprockets Toronto 2011, ViewFinders Halifax 2011, SANFIC Santiago de Chile 2011
Awards Signis Award Zanzibar 2010, Dioraphte Audience Award Rotterdam 2010, Veto Award Löwe 2010
With backing from Goethe-Institut Kenya, ARRI Film & TV Services, Göteborg International Film Festival Fund, Huber Bals Fund Rotterdam
German Distributor X Verleih

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