• It gives insights into his struggle to balance love for country with family needs
'Softie', a documentary by activist and photojournalist Boniface Mwangi, has qualified for consideration for the Oscar Awards shortlist in 2021.
‘Softie’ has been selected in the category of Best Documentary Feature and is among more than 40 documentaries shortlisted in the category.
The documentary follows the life of Mwangi, his wife Njeri and their children, and will premiere in Kenya from October 16.
After winning the Best Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival 2020, 'Softie' qualified for consideration for the Oscar documentary shortlist for the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The next ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, on April 25 next year.
The documentary was directed by Sam Soko and first premiered at Sundance in January, winning a special jury prize for editing.
It has received wide reviews, with critics citing its conscientious storytelling of Kenya’s struggle with political tribalism.
The film chronicles a seven-year journey, beginning with chaos-filled street protests and culminating in Mwangi’s decision to run for a parliamentary seat in his old neighbourhood Starehe.
He soon finds that challenging strong political dynasties is putting his family at risk.
The decision to run put his wife Njeri and family on the spot, and the documentary delves into the central question that many of the world’s change-makers have had to ask themselves, ‘What comes first: family or country?’
Soko, who had directed several short music videos and films before 2013, shot the documentary for five years, yet it was initially meant to be only for a year.
The film ended up giving insights into a young activist and his wife, their family life in a young democracy, and their struggle to balance their love for their country with their family needs.