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Kenya will be coming to cinema near you with the release of Maasai: The Rain Warriors, a stunning and highly original adventure story that is unlike any other film you have ever seen. Shot on location in the wilds of Kenya, this is the tale of an epic trek by a group of Maasai warriors to break a supernatural drought.

The new film Maasai: The Rain Warriors is a cinematic epic with a difference. Shot entirely on location in Kenya, with a cast of local Maasai warriors who had never even seen a film before they started work, and with dialogue in local Maa dialect- this sounds like a film destined for commercial disaster- or bound for screenings in a few arthouse cinemas at best.

But this is the latest work of the screenwriter responsible for the stunning and highly acclaimed Himalaya- a film that proved that real stories set in exotic and unknown locales can be a recipe for success.

The new film tells the tale of a group of young Maasai warriors, sent on a mission to traverse the breadth of Kenya on foot, hunting a mythical lion responsible for bringing about a major drought- and by doing so bringing back the rain.

With incredible cinematography, inspired use of the Kenyan landscape and a beautiful musical score that interweaves traditional Maasai song with a symphony orchestra- the film is an experience that will not be quickly forgotten by its audience.

The producers believe that they have made a truly unique film, offering a genuine insight into one of the world’s true tribal cultures.

The film was developed in partnership with the Maasai community, and tradition and legends were used as a basis for the story- which follows two young friends-Lomotoon and Merono- as they set out on the trek together.

The actors were all from the Loita Hills and had no former acting experience- in fact most of the cast had never left the area in which they lived. Yet they quickly adapted to working with a film crew, delivering lines and taking part in elaborate action sequences involving stunts, visual effects and trained animals.

Maasai: The Rain Warriors which premiered in Nairobi on the 22nd November, will be released internationally through December-January , bringing visions of Kenya to the world.

Generally your first visions of Africa were the cinema, it’s a good chance that the backdrop was Kenya- which has long been the location of choice for film-makers looking for the ‘real’ Africa.

Kenya’s role on the big screen dates back to the 1940’s. Many Hollywood jungle epics were shot in deepest darkest California, with stabs of stock safari footage intercut with reaction shots from the stars.

Taking a film crew to Africa was an expensive endeavor, but to the few who did- it reaped rich rewards, with the air of authenticity translating into box office return.

Kenya was a popular choice- and leant a genuinely exotic backdrop to early films such as Mogambo, King Solomon’s Mines and The Snows of Kilimanjaro.

For audiences who could only dream of traveling to Africa, the wildlife and landscapes of Kenya onscreen were a window into another world, which is what cinema is all about.

Cinema in Kenya reached its zenith in the 80’s- with a film that perfectly captured the essence of Kenya’s colonial history in a perfect romantic cinematic package- Out of Africa. The 1985 film, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford retold the story of Danish author’s Karen Blixen’s love affair with Kenya in general and Hunter Denys Finch Hatton in particular.

With its sweeping vista’s, stunning wildlife, exotic characters and an unforgettable biplane flight across the country, Out of Africa captured not just the Best Picture Academy Award, but also the hearts and minds of audiences all over the world.

Many visitors to Kenya today still carry with them memories of Karen and Denys safaris as they head out into the wild. Fortunately, they all find what they are looking for, as the romance of a Kenya safari is as genuine, potent and attractive as ever.
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