Kenyan-Somali Feature Film Sparks Controversy Ahead of Warsaw International Festival Premiere
Cultural Video Production, famously known as The Nrb Bus, is set to ignite controversy with the premiere of their latest cinematic creation, “BUFIS,” at the esteemed Warsaw International Film Festival (WIFF) on the 6th of October.This groundbreaking moment marks the first
Kenyan-Somali feature film to participate in this prestigious event, a testament to the audacity of African cinema on the global stage.
WIFF, one of the select 12 FIAPF accredited film festivals, shares the spotlight with renowned festivals like Cannes, Berlinale, Venice, Toronto, and Sundance.
“BUFIS” will compete in the Free Spirit Award category, dedicated to independent, innovative, and rebellious feature-length fiction and documentary films from around the world.The festival’s bold interest in “BUFIS” is driven by the film’s audacious narrative, which promises
to challenge norms and provoke discourse.
Against the backdrop of Poland’s migration crisis, the film delves into themes that are uncomfortably close to home. Recent successes, such as the Polish film “Green Borders” at the Venice Film Festival, and allegations of visa scams involving non-European citizens, have only heightened sensitivities. “BUFIS” courageously explores these controversial issues.
“BUFIS,” co-directed by veteran Vincenzo Cavallo and the emerging Somali-Kenyan talent Mahad Ahmed, brings together the creative minds behind previous award-winning works like “WAZI?FM” (Golden Dhow, Zanzibar Film Festival, 2015) and “Almost Somali” (Best Continental Documentary, Cape Verde, 2023). The film’s narrative, based on true events, unveils a visa scam orchestrated by a mysterious Somali broker in Eastleigh, who ingeniously sends numerous Somalis to the USA through fabricated family connections.
As the US Embassy opens its green card lottery visa, the fictional broker, Assad, crafts compelling stories of families fleeing conflict. When one of these tales gains acceptance, Kamal, a repatriated Somali-American, helps identify suitable candidates for embassy interviews. The
duo’s clandestine operation, responsible for many pseudo-families gaining access to the USA, now faces exposure. “BUFIS” follows the classic heist movie structure, but instead of robbing a bank, this unique family is attempting to scam the US Embassy, and hilarity ensues.
The directors understand the potential for controversy within the Somali-Kenyan community.
However, they firmly believe that storytelling is a potent tool for challenging established norms and fostering courageous conversations. In their own words, “Drawing inspiration from Martin Luther King’s audacious stance that we have the moral right to resist unjust laws, we grappled with the daunting task of confronting an entire immigration policy. Our response takes shape in this film, where humor becomes a daring spotlight, daringly illuminating the inherent contradictions of our world, deliberately inviting intense scrutiny and courageous conversations.”
“BUFIS” is set to premiere in Kenyan cinemas after the 26th of October, offering audiences an opportunity to engage with this thought-provoking and entertaining cinematic journey.