POV Acquires Kenyan Documentary ‘Softie”

Magdael & Associates

POV Acquires Kenyan Documentary ‘Softie” at Sundance 2020


New York, N.Y. — January 26, 2020 — POV today announced the acquisition of the U.S. broadcast rights for Softie, directed by Sam Soko, fresh from its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2020. The film, which is the first Kenyan produced documentary to Premiere at the festival, will air as part of the series’ 33rd season, which kicks off on PBS in June 2020.

Premiering yesterday as part of the World Cinema Documentary Competition, SOFTIE follows political activist Boniface “Softie” Mwangi, a daring and audacious political activist, who decides to run for political office in Kenya after several years of fighting injustice in his country. But running a clean campaign against corrupt opponents becomes increasingly harder to combat with idealism alone. And Boniface soon finds that challenging strong political dynasties is putting his family at risk. Should country really come before family, as he’s always believed?

“Telling a story that speaks to our experiences, triumphs and tears as Kenyans and have it resonate with the world is an incredible honour. As a first from Kenya, I hope the film inspires audiences to become active citizens in their own right and find harmony with those they are fighting for and alongside.” said Nairobi-based director Sam Soko, co-founder of LBx Africa, a Kenyan production company, which was the service producer for the 2018 Oscar nominated short fiction film, Watu Wote.

When Justine Nagan and I saw Softie pitched at Hot Docs years ago, we knew we had to get involved.  The team is talented and vibrant, and the story of an activist turned politician feels urgent.” said Chris White, executive producer of POV, “It’s a classic POV and we’re thrilled to premiere it at Sundance and bring it to American audiences later this year.”

Produced by American Documentary and broadcasting on PBS since 1988. POV is American television’s longest-running documentary series.

POV’s 33nd season begins in summer 2020 on PBS television, PBS Passport as well as pov.org and amdoc.org, with exact premiere dates to be announced in Spring 2020. Softie will premiere with other announced titles including Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche and the two-part special And She Could Be Next by Grace Lee, Marjan Safinia, and Jyoti Sarda.

The Softie deal was negotiated by Justine Nagan and Chris White on behalf of POV, and Toni Kamau from We Are Not The Machine and Bob Moore fromEyeSteelFilm on behalf of Softie

Softie was produced by LBx Africa in association with We are not the machine and Eyesteelfilm with the generous support of Luminate, Just FIlms | Ford Foundation, Sundance, Bertha Doc Society, Hot Docs Blue Ice Fund, Hot Docs firstlook Pitch Fund, Quebec Production Services Tax Credit, Hot Docs Partners and Docubox.

About POV
Produced by American Documentary, POV is the longest-running independent documentary showcase on American television. Since 1988, POV has presented films on PBS that capture the full spectrum of the human experience, with a long commitment to centering women and people of color in front of, and behind, the camera. It’s on POV where American television audiences were introduced to groundbreaking works like Tongues UntiedThe Act of Killing and American Promise and innovative filmmakers including Jonathan Demme, Nanfu Wang, and Laura Poitras. In 2018, POV Shorts launched as one of the first PBS series dedicated to bold and timely short-form documentaries.

Over a generation, POV has championed accessibility and innovation in nonfiction storytelling. POV Engage works with educators, community organizations and PBS stations to present hundreds of free screenings every year, inspiring dialogue around today’s most pressing social issues. The series’ interactive arm, POV Spark, creates and advances experiential forms of storytelling and programming, redefining U.S. public media to be more inclusive of emerging technologies and interactive makers.

POV films and projects have won 38 Emmy Awards, 25 George Foster Peabody Awards, 14 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award. Learn more at pbs.org/pov and follow @povdocs on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

About EyeSteelFilm
EyeSteelFilm is a film and interactive media company dedicated to using cinematic expression as a catalyst for social and political change. It was created to develop cinema that empowers people who are ignored by mainstream media, a mandate that has taken the company to explore projects, people and ideas around the world.

At Sundance 2020 EyeSteelFilm is presenting Influence (Richard Poplack & Diana Neille) and Softie (Sam Soko) in World Cinema Documentary and Chomsky vs Chomsky: First Encounter (Sandra Rodriguez) in New Frontiers. 

Eyesteelfilm has been the recipient of over 100 international Awards including Emmys, Golden Horses, Canadian Screen Awards and numerous festival grand jury prizes.

About LBx Africa
LBx Africa is a Nairobi based production company that produces high quality Fiction and Non-fiction content. Founded in 2012 we collaborate with both local and international filmmakers to bring uniquely African perspectives to global audiences, almost always trying to have fun while at it.

About We Are Not The Machine
Founded in 2016, We are not the machine is an independent Kenyan production company that tells stories of outsiders, rebels and change-makers. We are not the machine provides creative production, fundraising and service production support and we regularly collaborate on shorts, features and series with content creators from across the world.

About ro*co films: Founded in 2000, ro*co films is a leading sales agency and distributor specializing in licensing documentaries to all forms of media worldwide, including North America.  ro*co films has a direct content distributorship with iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Netflix. ro*co films’ educational division creates campaigns for a documentaries, distributing them to schools, universities, church basements, and community centers – every place people gather to learn.

Since founding ro*co films in 2000, ro*co has distributed award-winning docs including eighteen Oscar-nominated feature documentaries, such as Born Into Brothels, Hoop Dreams, Jesus CampPray the Devil Back to HellGunner Palace, The Weather Underground, Promises, Street Fight, No End in Sight, Hoop Dreams, The Devil Came on HorsebackHow to Survive a PlagueThe Invisible War, Blood Brother, Particle FeverAfter Tiller, The Internet’s Own Boy, E-Team, The Case Against 8Inequality for All, Girl Rising, Miss RepresentationGoing Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Cartel LandThe Hunting GroundLife Animated, DOLORES, Knife Skills, Human Flow, An Inconvenient Sequel, Charm City, The Fourth Estate, Angels Are Made of Light and RBG.

LBx Africa Presents In Association with
We Are Not The Machine and Eye Steel Film


Directed and Written by Sam Soko
Produced by Toni Kamau and Sam Soko

World Premiere – World Documentary Competition – 2020 Sundance Film Festival


SOFTIE Sundance Film Festival Screenings
Saturday, January 25th at 9:00pm at Park Avenue Theatre – WORLD PREMIERE
Saturday, January 25th at 10:00pm at Holiday Village Cinema – P&I SCREENING
Monday, January 27th at 1:00pm at Redstone Cinema
Wednesday, January 29th at 2:30pm at Egyptian Theatre
Thursday, January 30th at 8:30am at Prospector Square Theatre
Friday, January 31st at 9:45pm at Broadway Centre Cinema SLC

About the film SOFTIE 
Boniface “Softie” Mwangi has long fought injustices in his country as a political activist. Now he’s taking the next step by running for office in a regional Kenyan election. From the moment Boniface decides to run, telling his wife, Njeri, in passing with a hesitant laugh, he responds to each challenge with optimism. But running a clean campaign against corrupt opponents becomes increasingly harder to combat with idealism alone. And Boniface soon finds that challenging strong political dynasties is putting his family at risk. Should country really come before family, as he’s always believed?

Director Sam Soko captures a charming idealist’s transformation through his grassroots campaign, while exploring the complexities of balancing Boniface’s deep love of country with the needs of his family. Moments with Njeri and their children deepen our understanding of the aspiring elected official, offering introspective respites from the turbulent pace of the campaign. Though set against the backdrop of a country in transition, Soko’s film goes beyond politics to reveal what fuels one activist’s need to push for change.

About the Director Sam Soko 
Sam Soko is a director and producer based in Nairobi. His work on sociopolitical projects in music and film has allowed him to connect and work with artists around the world. He is co-founder of LBx Africa, a Kenyan production company that produced the 2018 Academy Award–nominated short fiction film Watu Wote. The film Softie is his first feature documentary project.

Director Sam Soko, Subjects Boniface Mwangi and Njeri Mwangi

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