Kenya Submits ‘The Letter’ for International Oscar Race (EXCLUSIVE)

Naman Ramachandran
·2-min read

The Kenya Film Commission has selected “The Letter” as the country’s official entry for the Oscars’ best international film category.

“Filmed with a gentle pace and incredible closeness, ‘The Letter’ is an intimate family portrait that reveals an indestructible female power,” read promotional materials from the org.

A Kenyan family drama of Shakespearean proportions, “The Letter” is a tribute to the fearless spirit of 94-year-old Margaret Kamango. Her prized ancestral land becomes a target for close family members, who mount a witch hunt under the thinly-veiled guise of Pentecostal Christianity, as others, including her grandson Karisa, rally around her.

Following its world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2019, Maia Lekow and Christopher King’s film was screened at festivals around the world, including AFI Docs and Docs Barcelona where it won a Special Jury mention. It screened at the Durban International Film Festival, where it was nominated for best documentary. The film also scored a One World Media Awards nomination in April 2020.

“The Letter” will screen at the ongoing virtual DOC NYC as part of its ‘International Perspectives’ section (Nov. 11- 19), followed by the African Disapora International Film Festival (Nov. 17-Dec.13).

The film is produced by Circle and Square Productions and executive producers include Judy Kibinge, Cynthia Kane and Peter Mudamba.

Co-director Maia Lekow, also a prominent Kenyan musician with her band Maia & the Big Sky, has composed an original score for the film. She joined forces with Emmy-winning, Toronto-based composer Ken Myhr to create a sonic landscape, resulting in 11 tracks.

The nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards will be announced Feb. 9, 2021, ahead of the April 25 awards ceremony.

More from Variety

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.