• June 18, 2024
  • Last Update June 18, 2024 2:12 PM
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Kenya’s Tosh Gitonga Wins Best Documentary Award for ‘Two Villages’ at Open World Toronto Film Festival

Kenya’s Tosh Gitonga Wins Best Documentary Award for ‘Two Villages’ at Open World Toronto Film Festival

By Jehoshaphat Kanyoro Njaro

Acclaimed Kenyan filmmaker Tosh Gitonga has won the Best Documentary award for his film “Two Villages” at the Open World Toronto Film Festival (OWTFF).

Expressing his gratitude on LinkedIn, Gitonga wrote, “And Another….. Grateful To Sir God for this journey!” along with a congratulatory message from the festival organizers.

The message from OWTFF organizers read, “Dear Tosh, Congratulations on winning the award for Best Documentary for Two Villages at the Open World Toronto Film Festival (OWTFF). We would like to welcome you to the festival, which takes place June 28 to June 30, 2024 at the Factory Theatre in Toronto.”

“Two Villages” explores the profound disparities between two neighboring communities on opposite sides of the Mara River in Kenya.

Based on the Swahili proverb “Ndovu wawili wakipigana, nyasi ndio huumia” (When two elephants fight, the grass gets trampled), the documentary highlights the stark contrast between Chemengwa village and its flourishing neighbor, supported by the North American-based NGO, WE Charity.

The film’s synopsis describes one village thriving with clean water, ample schoolrooms, and a well-equipped hospital, all provided by WE Charity. In contrast, Chemengwa struggles with extreme poverty, lacking access to clean water and essential healthcare, with the nearest hospital 80 kilometers away.

An investigation by CBC’s The Fifth Estate previously exposed WE Charity for misleading donors by claiming to build two schools but only completing one, leaving Chemengwa in dire conditions.

Despite WE Charity’s denial of these accusations, the documentary sheds light on the community’s struggles and Gitonga’s efforts to bring their story to a global audience.

Tosh Gitonga, known for his award-winning film “Nairobi Half Life,” which was Kenya’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards, continues to garner accolades for his impactful storytelling.

“Two Villages” recently won the Best Short award at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival (JDIFF) in May 2024.

Gitonga’s latest project, a teen drama series titled “Volume,” is currently streaming on Netflix, further establishing his reputation as a significant voice in Kenyan cinema.

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