CULTURAL DIPLOMACY

Spain’s efforts to tap art talents in slums

Spain is the second largest language in the world after English not just in numbers but also in terms of the countries speaking it

In Summary

• The Slum Film Festival website describes itself as “a celebration of the creativity of filmmakers living and working in slums"

• It seeks to promote the works of each festival cycle, and has created SFF Awards, where exemplary filmmakers and works are recognised

Ambassador Javier Viedma of Spain
Ambassador Javier Viedma of Spain
Image: ERIC THUO

Founded in 2011 in Nairobi, partially supported by Spain, the Slum Film Festival is a community based annual film festival featuring stories from, by, and about people living in slum areas.

The Slum Film Festival website describes itself as “a celebration of the creativity of filmmakers living and working in slums, as well as an opportunity to promote a diverse range of films within communities with limited or no access to cinema”.

 

They do this through outdoor screenings.

 

It seeks to promote the works of each festival cycle, and in this regard, has created SFF Awards, where exemplary filmmakers and works are recognised, across all countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.

Spain and some EU members are forming cultural bureaus and will promote Spanish culture.

“We also do festivals, photography exhibits and theatre and also the film industry. We are also working and celebrating the music festival of Kenya,” Ambassador Javier Viedma of Spain said.

“Through the music festivals all over Spain, we signed an MoU where we get a large group of musical groups from Kenya, they upload their music in a webpage, and our experts in Spain select some sounds and with that, they come back to Kenya and organise a festival, which is also done in Ghana, Equatorial Guinea,” he added.

Two people are declared winners and they get a trip to Spain to attend the international festival. There, they get potential producers who can introduce them to the Spanish market

SPEAK SPANISH

 

Spain is the second largest language in the world after English not just in numbers but also in terms of the countries speaking it, Vedma said.

 

More than 20 countries have it as their national languages and some of those speakers have it as their mother tongue. It is also the second most used language on the internet.

“Kenyans speak good English and are perfectly bilingual but I think the second option would be Spanish. We can do this with other Spanish-speaking countries that have representation here,” he said.

In this regard, Spain has a plan to start teaching their language.

“This year, we finally had lecturer of Spanish in Kenya and we will do this within the UN framework and also with Kenyan universities. I encourage Kenyans to learn Spanish because we have cooperation in university education and exchange of students.”

Spain has an important network of universities with MBA courses, 10 or thereabout of the best in the world and are offered in English.

“While it is more expensive to live in London, Paris, New York, it is cheaper in Madrid where you can study these MBAs. Kenyan students can study their MBAs in English and later opt to learn Spanish,” he noted.