The Riverwood fraternity gathered at a lavish ceremony (by Riverwood standards) to mark the second annual Riverwood Academy Awards at the garden of the Alliance Francais in Nairobi. I missed last year’s and I had never attended A Riverwood event before so I was pretty curious.As I approached the venue, I met part of the Consigned to Oblivion team of Marvin Kariuki, who was a Best Cinematography nominee, and Charles Maina looking anxious. I entered the lobby and there was a lively buzz; guests arriving, the cameras clicking away at the red carpet and some lively music.
First person I recognized was Mwaniki Mageria, who was omnipresent throughout, welcoming guests at the door then running to mcee at the podium. Riverwood being a sector constantly bashed for below par productions, the set up was quite commendable. I panned around for more familiar faces and there was Nini Wacera seated on a high stool looking elegant but busy on her phone, she later gave out one of the awards.
A lovely hostess showed me to my seat after passing accreditation and seeing that I did not know details of the program, I sat there looking around.
Trust me this was no Oscars, I’m talking about the dressing. It was a pretty drab affair and most people looked like they were coming from church. Calif Record’s Clemo wore baggy jeans and a crumpled hoodie. Turns out this event was going to be live on QTV, the crew was testing their equipment, another feather to the organizer’s cap.
Meanwhile, Mwaniki continued to wear down the carpet shuttling between the stage and the door at amazing speeds. I turned to social media to follow the action as I listened to stale jokes from Maasai the comedian, not many tweets mentioning the event.
The ceremony finally kicked off, screams filling the air as the nominees for the first category were read. Consigned to Oblivion went on to bag Best Student Film and Best Cinematography. The winners were elated, but I started getting bored because almost all of them ‘didn’t expect to win’. Seated at the back, I was a bit distracted when theatre patrons emptied into the lobby from the auditorium after a play creating a noisy din for quite a long time during which i couldn’t hear any of the proceedings. When the nose subsided, Maasai was introducing a rapper who proceeded to mime over his song, I hate that. Mwaniki’s job also included reminding the DJ, all the time, to play some music as the winners walked down to the podium. The organizers of this ceremony need to realise that they should hire a proper MC beffitting a film awards ceremony in the future. You see, you can’t pick your local funeral, harambee and weddings MC for this kind of event. Mwaniki and Maasai robbed this event of glamour, if at all it was supposed to be glamorous.
Somewhere in the middle of the program there was a long break where a short clip was screening and it was sad to see that many guests (read actors, directors etc) snubbed it, walked to the back and started catching up creating so much noise for us seated there. They didn’t bother to resume their seat when the show continued, and from there the ceremony went down hill for me. At the end I meet Marvin Kariuki beaming from ear to ear with his award in one arm, his girlfriend in the other. At least someone had enjoyed this ceremony.