On 30th September 2014, we applied for a classification of Stories Of Our Lives from the Kenya Film Classification Board in line with legislation regarding the public screening of films in Kenya.
On 3rd October, we received communication that the Kenya Film Classification Board has restricted the distribution and exhibition of Stories of Our Lives to the public in line with section 16(c) of the Film and Stage Plays Act (download as PDF). This, because the film “has obscenity, explicit scenes of sexual activities and it promotes homosexuality which is contrary to our national norms and values”.
This means that there will be NO further screenings, sale and/or distribution of Stories Of Our Lives in Kenya.
Does the film include obscenity? Yes. In one scene, an angry young man hurls insults at his best friend who he saw visiting a gay bar. Does the film include explicit scenes of sexual activities? That depends on your definition of “explicit”. Let’s just say the average viewer of Kenyan music videos would find the one depiction of sex in Stories Of Our Lives, very, very not explicit.
Does the film promote homosexuality? How exactly does one “promote homosexuality”? Pink leaflets handed out to unsuspecting passers-by? Is homosexuality some kind of fad, or like a cold you can catch from greeting someone in the bus? It is clear that the board thinks that Kenyan adults are unable to safely watch this film without turning into a horde of virulent, flaming homosexuals (one hopes members of the Board were not afflicted by “gayism” after watching the film).
Does the film transgress “national norms and values”? Stories Of Our Lives is a film about people, it’s about co-existence, it’s about finding love and belonging. We made this film to open dialogue about identities, what it means to be Kenyan, and what it means to be different. By placing a restriction on this film, the Board has chosen to delay this inevitable conversation.
We hope Kenyans will get to see this film one day, because we made it for Kenyans.
For those Kenyans who happen to be abroad, stay up to date with our international film screenings here. For Kenyans at home, you can listen to the soundtrack here or download it here. Hopefully, you won’t “catch gayism” from listening to it. :)