Mpakani: A Kenyan show to the world

Mpakani: Story of the North

Mpakani, a Kenyan series on Netflix, has seen several international film directors give it commendable reviews.

It has ignited anxiety on its prospects in the upcoming Kalasha Film and TV Market as well as the Kalasha Awards with all the biggest players in the continent expected in Nairobi next month for the big film fete.

Mpakani, Swahili for "on/at the border", transcends its literal translation to become a cinematic exploration of the human spirit pushed to its limits in the unforgiving terrain of the Kenyan north. This gripping film, directed by Victor Gatonye, is not just a visual spectacle; it's a deeply emotional journey that lingers long after the credits roll.

Mpakani is a 45-minute action drama (10 Episodes) that features a special intervention unit of the administration police.

This Special Intervention Team (SIT) is dispatched to the frontline in Wajir on the Kenya/Somalia border to deal with the threat posed by the notorious Al Shabaab Commander Burhaan, the chief antagonist, who is planning a major terrorist attack in Nairobi.

The show looks at the inner workings of the six-member unit stationed in a regular RBPU base and as well as the personal challenges of the diverse members beyond their professional world.

It is set at the Kenya-Somali border and the unit occasionally makes incursions into Somali territory on different missions.

Typically, in each episode, the unit formulates and executes a mission based on intelligence received as they seek to thwart attempts by the Al Shabaab to infiltrate the country and cause harm.

“Film is about storytelling and there are so many stories to be taught right from here, home. We have had many great productions coming from Kenya in the past years and we expect the trend to continue. Mpakani is a good story well presented in film. It is one people can relate to. It cuts through cultures and borders,” said Timothy Owase, the Kenya Film Commission (KFC) CEO.

“Kenyan film is going big. We have a lot of attraction coming from Hollywood and this will have a ripple effect on our film industry. The films coming from here are as good as those coming from Hollywood and the difference is only on the production but which is being worked on,” said Owase.

We see Burhaan together with his henchmen plot their revenge while overcoming the challenges thrown to them by the SIT. Besides Burhaan there is a humanitarian lady, Zari. She seems to love children and has opened an orphanage within Burhaan’s camp, but there is a twist.

The show’s twists and turns give it an edge over other shows ever produced in Kenya.

“The working of Mpakani has been exceptional. Both from the conceptualization of it to the execution. It has been well received and the teams are happy. It is good to see Kenyans and the entire world appreciating a Kenyan film,” says Zachary Githathi, who is part of the Mpakani marketing team.

“One of the most amazing things is that the producer of the film is relatively young and so is most of the cast, some who were not as known before this,” he said.

The film is produced by Kara Loise Wambui who is one of the youngest and multi-disciplined Senior Producers and whose projects are geared towards entertaining and educating the masses.

It is directed by Victor Gatonye who wears many hats as an Actor, Director and Writer. The cast includes; Bilal Mwaura, Brenda Ngeso, Claude Zatara, Kagendo Kaecha and George Mo.

The film is expected to be part of the film screening during the Kalasha Awards next month, an event that has attracted film stakeholders from Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa among other countries.


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