Kenyan Oscar Contender, Subira, Lands On Showmax

Tirath Padam Taufiq
[Photo/ Courtesy]

Subira, Kenya’s entry to the 2020 Oscars and winner of five Kalasha Awards, is now streaming on Showmax. 

Set in Lamu and Nairobi, Subira is a coming-of-age story that follows Brenda Wairimu (Monica, Disconnect) in the titular role as a free-spirited Muslim girl who struggles against traditions and gender stereotypes to live out her dream of swimming in the ocean.

From a young age, all Subira has ever wanted was to learn how to dive in the ocean. And her fisherman father (Abubakar Mwenda, Nairobi Half Life, Mission to Rescue) is willing to teach her when the right time comes, much to the disapproval of her mother (Nice Githinji, Rafiki, Lusala), who like others in their conservative Lamu community, prepare their daughters for only one thing – to be married to a good man from a good family.

As Subira comes to womanhood, can she become her own woman and achieve her dreams? Or will traditions constrain her?

At the 2018 Kalasha Awards, Subira won five awards, including the coveted Best Feature, Best Director and Best Actress for Brenda Wairimu. The film also won Best Indigenous Language Movie – Swahili at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards in 2020.

Subira was also selected to represent Kenya in the International Feature category at the 92nd Academy Awards – the fourth film since the country’s maiden entry in 2012. Subira joins other Kenyan Oscar contenders on Showmax like Tosh Gitonga’s Nairobi Half Life (2012), Mbithi Masya’s Kati Kati (2017), and Likarion Wainaina’s Supa Modo (2018).

KenyaBuzz praised Subira as “the sweetest movie to come out of Kenya in 2018”, while The Hollywood Reporter called it “ a coming-of-age story that addresses the universal issue of taking control of your life, regardless of the challenges society and culture bring.”

Based on a 2007 award-winning short film of the same name, Subira is written, directed and produced by Ravneet Sippy Chadha (Kibera Kid) and also stars newcomer Tiram Padam, Melvin Alusa (Crime and Justice, Mission to Rescue), Shirleen Wangari (18 Hours, Sense8), Ali Mwangola and singer Chantelle.

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