Jeroen van Velzen’s made its world premiere on Dutch television in 2014. Its festival circuit included Traverse City, Sarasota, Camden, Movies That Matter, and One World, among others.
A look at African democracy in a microcosm, van Velzen’s appealing project follows a secondary school presidential election in a small Kenyan village. The three-way race is between Said, a popular rich kid; Harry, a quiet boy from the poor side of the tracks; and Magdalene, who dreams of being the school’s first female president. While Said aims to charm his classmates by composing a catchy rap, Harry hits upon the idea of bribing voters with goat meat, and Magdalene attempts to disrupt the boys’ efforts by creating a unified female student voting bloc to place her in power. As a midlength, the film demonstrates compact observational storytelling – but perhaps a bit too compact, limiting van Velzen’s ability to fully flesh out his protagonists. Still, in a nation where many past federal elections have included charges of fraud and led to violence, this offers an interesting exploration of these young subjects’ perceptions of how political campaigns are meant to operate.