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Available on 10/10/2020 10am
On the face of it, GITONGA is a film about a Kenyan father who rediscovers his love for hiking and sets out to follow his dream of becoming the first black Kenyan to climb Mount Everest. At its heart, this is the beautiful and emotional story of an extraordinary man who explores what it means to be a hiker, a father, and a human being. A man on a mission to inspire his son, his nation and the world to follow their dreams and do what ‘makes their heart dance’. CRITIC REVIEWS "A life enhancing documentary and a study in quiet indomitability. Beautifully shot, it is a story of warmth, generosity and an undaunted human spirit.” - Neil Norman, Independent (UK) "A great film full of optimism that superbly captures Gitonga's enthusiastic spirit. This film needs to be seen.” - Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail (UK) "Every second of the film oozes inspiration and pride - of a father to a son, and a whole generation of courageous Kenyans." - Kenyan Film Commission (Kenya) “A heartwarming tale that reads like a novel. The first of its kind." - Daily Nation (Kenya) “Wow! Who knew a documentary could be so captivating, empowering and emotional! Just brilliant.” - Anne Wafula Strike (MBE, Paralympian athlete) WHY IS THE FILM SPECIAL? 1) It’s an inspiring African story told from an authentic and powerful AFRICAN perspective. Too many films / stories about Africans pander to negative Western stereotypes of Africa, falling into the trap of telling a ‘single story’ – something which writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warns so powerfully against. This story – Gitonga’s story – does not do that. Narrated by Gitonga himself, the film gives this extraordinary man a platform to tell his own story in every sense of the word. 2) This is an opportunity for YOUR amazing festival to give this inspirational black African voice a chance to be heard on the global stage. Gitonga is a unique voice with universal message that transcends race, gender, religion and nationality; a message that the world needs in this time of deep division and polarisation. 3) It’s a film with a purpose. GITONGA is not just a story. It’s a partnership of two friends - Gitonga and director Joe Bunyan - on a mission to inspire Kenyans and people around the world to follow their passions and dreams. 4) It has inspired and touched millions of people around the world already. The film premiered to 1.4 million Kenyans on TV (3 national channels showed it all at the same time) and has been watched by 5,000 people online. The feedback from people around the world has been incredible (Please see our website for quotes). 5) It’s a not-for-profit film whereby any money generated goes towards Gitonga’s Everest bid as well as environmental and educational causes.

Included with

Director Biography - Joe Bunyan

Joe Bunyan is a director with one intention: to give unsung heroes like Gitonga Wandai a platform to be heard and a chance to tell their stories in their own words.

Director Statement

A joint statement from Joe Bunyan and Gitonga Wandai:

Since the very beginning – from the moment we met by chance at Kathmandu Airport in 2017 and decided to shoot this film (on just a DSLR and an iPhone) – this has been a partnership of equals between two souls, two friends, both taking a leap in the dark to try and feel what it is to live a dream.

We have different backgrounds, different skin colours, and our countries have a fractious history of colonial conflict that is yet to be fully and fairly exposed. Yet we are bound together by a powerful friendship that is underpinned by shared values, a shared belief in the power of the human heart and of the human spirit, and by a burning desire to change and unite the world for the better.

As such, we wanted to make this statement together.

We believe that cinema is at its best when it offers fresh new perspectives that speak something to the world. GITONGA is a film and a character who do exactly that – in the most honest, authentic and inspirational of ways.

This is the story of a black African man whose story has inspired people in Kenya and around the world with a message that transcends race, religion, gender or nationality.
It is a Kenyan and African man telling his own story in his own words – a fresh perspective that doesn’t pander to Western perceptions of what African stories are or should be about, and simply tells Gitonga’s story in the way he wanted to tell it.
It is a film shot on a DSLR and an iPhone by a debut filmmaker who used his life savings to shoot a film he thought would only be watched by his mum.
Fundamentally, it is a story of hope, optimism, and the power of the human spirit that speaks to everyone.

We are aware that some may look at Joe’s British nationality and skin colour and make assertions of a white privileged male telling the story of an African man. To do so would be to misunderstand Joe as a person, underestimate our joint effort in telling this story, and to underestimate the very thing that binds us together as human beings: the power and beauty of empathy.

This story, this film, is our film. It is the product of a beautiful three year journey and friendship and is our way of offering hope and inspiration to the world.

The film is real and true of what it means to vulnerable. It is a journey of embracing the unknown and loving to live it. It represents what binds us together as human beings, not what divides us. We hope you agree and give Gitonga a chance to be heard.

Thank you,

Gitonga & Joe


Directed by Joe Bunyan

Produced by Gitonga Wandai
Joe Bunyan

Cast Gitonga Wandai

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