Documentary Filmmaking, News, Production Trips to Kenya

Week 2b: Visiting the XYZ Show with Tony Mboyo

Last week I felt like a kid in a candy store during a visit to the set and studio of the cutting edge The XYZ Show. Puppet master and activist Tony Mboyo is one of the first Kenyans I met while working on Peace in Our Pockets. Tony moderated the Sauti Yetu Debates and after interviewing him in November, I learned about his lifetime of using puppetry to entertain and promote human rights across Kenya, other parts of Africa, and the world. Tony has been working on The XYZ Show from its inception. I wanted to visit the show in action to capture Tony working the puppets.

Here’s a clip/music video about Party Hoppers…

Intersecting at Peace

I see connections between my peace film and this TV show, though they work in different cultural and social spheres. Sisi Ni Amani‘s peace builders are engaged at the grassroots, focused on pressing social issues and human rights concerns, and working at the micro level to transform the way politics and policies are shaped (and delivered) in Kenya. Sisi Ni Amani focuses on empowering citizens often neglected or ignored by their leaders. Most often, The XYZ Show is focused on the politics playing out among the elite in Kenyan National politics. While the show and Sisi Ni Amani appear to have separate agendas, they are interconnected, critically-needed forms of activism. Each effort is focused on promoting critical thinking, creating new ways of conceiving of and practicing democracy, and holding elected (and unelected) leaders accountable.

Below is a short iPhone movie from our tour of XYZ’s puppet making studio.

Tony and his work could be the subject of an entire documentary of their own. Too soon to think about that now…