African docu-drama of Kenyan Islamic terrorism foiled by passengers nearly wins an Oscar

African docu-drama of Kenyan Islamic terrorism foiled by passengers nearly wins an Oscar

The Faith

It didn’t bring home an Oscar this week, but a film nominated for one is helping to spread a message that many Africans said is too rarely heard: that people from different religious groups on the continent can be each other’s heroes.

VIDEO: Background on Oscar nominee ‘Watu Wote: All of us,’  which chronicles an event in Kenya where Muslim passengers defended with their lives fellow Christian passengers targeted for death by the Islamic extremist group Al-Shabab.


“Watu Wote” (“all of us” in Swahili), nominated for the best short film (live action), tells the true story of a 2015 attack on a bus in Mandera, in northeastern Kenya, in which Muslim passengers saved Christian passengers from death.

Al-Shabab gunmen had hijacked the bus and asked the Muslims to separate themselves from the Christians. But the Muslim riders refused and announced that if the extremists wanted to kill the Christians, the gunmen would have to kill everyone.

Though the 22-minute film was made by German graduate students, “Watu Wote” was filmed in Kenya with an all-Kenyan cast of both Muslims and Christians. And much pre- and post-production work occurred in Kenya. 

The Academy Award nomination was a cause for celebration throughout the country. President Uhuru Kenyatta tweeted after the 90th Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday (March 4):  “You have won our hearts as a nation … Keep telling our stories through your camera and you will win next time.”

This article continues at [Religion News Service] Interfaith film misses Oscar, but raises hope in Africa

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