Kenyan award-winning producer Toni Kamau has been awarded the Amazon, MGM Studios Producers Award for non-fiction at the Sundance Film Festival.

The We Are Not The Machine founder bagged the award for her work on the documentary Battle For Laikipia which screened at the film festival under the World Cinema Competition category.

The film explores home and belonging through the lived experiences of Samburu pastoralists, cattle ranchers and conservationists who inhabit one of the most beautiful places in Kenya, Laikipia, which is grappling with the harrowing impact of climate change, which contributes to conflict over diminishing resources.

The award was presented to her by Jonathan Wang (Everything Everywhere All At Once) who congratulated her on her bold and courageous body of work.

During his keynote address, he said of producers, “Our work is hard, our days are long, and many of us have experienced things on sets and in offices that are flatly traumatic.

“I want to acknowledge that we work in a hyper-competitive, highly public and notoriously toxic trade and that we as the producers — and I will also add directors — must recognise the way people are entering into our spaces, our sets and our projects.

“I challenge us to be present with those we are here with and to make space for them to be seen. And I challenge us to take this spirit of care, and to infuse it into our lives, our sets, our stories and our planet.”

The award is a producer’s award collaboration between the Sundance Institute and Amazon MGM Studios. Kamau won the award alongside Brad Becker-Parton for his work on Stress Positions.

Directed by Daphne Matziaraki (Greece) and Peter Murimi (Kenya), The Battle for Laikipia is a collaboration between Kenyan and international filmmakers. 

kra