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Christopher Campbell

Another Student Academy Award winner, the 22-minute Watu Wote was director Katja Benrath‘s graduation project at Hamburg Media School. Scripted by editor Julia Drache with input from Kenyan storytellers Alexander Ikawah and Brian Munene, the film follows the true story of a Christian woman riding a bus that’s stopped by Al-Shabaab terrorists. This is apparently a common occurrence around the dangerous border of Kenya and Somalia, but this 2015-set film shows one time when Muslim passengers stood in solidarity with the Christians on board.

Watu Wote isn’t particularly poignant with any original thoughts about its incident or the greater issues of religious discrimination or fundamentalist terrorism. It’s really just a dramatization of a single event and not that powerfully depicted. There’s also not anything wrong with it as it is. The cast of local actors is terrific, and the film looks great. For something intended just to show what happened and to honor the heroic demise of one of the passengers, it does its job. And like Wilson, Benrath shows promise that she’ll be going places.

Could it win the Oscar? If voters want to go with something more political or issue-driven, this would be the pick, but I don’t think it stands out enough otherwise.

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Another Student Academy Award winner, the 22-minute Watu Wote was director Katja Benrath‘s graduation project at Hamburg Media School. Scripted by editor Julia Drache with input from Kenyan storytellers Alexander Ikawah and Brian Munene, the film follows the true story of a Christian woman riding a bus that’s stopped by Al-Shabaab terrorists. This is apparently a common occurrence around the dangerous border of Kenya and Somalia, but this 2015-set film shows one time when Muslim passengers stood in solidarity with the Christians on board.

Watu Wote isn’t particularly poignant with any original thoughts about its incident or the greater issues of religious discrimination or fundamentalist terrorism. It’s really just a dramatization of a single event and not that powerfully depicted. There’s also not anything wrong with it as it is. The cast of local actors is terrific, and the film looks great. For something intended just to show what happened and to honor the heroic demise of one of the passengers, it does its job. And like Wilson, Benrath shows promise that she’ll be going places.

Could it win the Oscar? If voters want to go with something more political or issue-driven, this would be the pick, but I don’t think it stands out enough otherwise.

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