Maia Lekow and Christopher King
The letter
Part of
The letter

The letter

Maia Lekow and Christopher King

2019
82 min.
Kenya
English and Swahili
Subtitles: Catalan, Spanish and English

The surprising story between a grandmother and her grandson hides an indestructible female power.

Topic:

Datasheet

Show
Direction
Maia Lekow and Christopher King
Executive Production
Judy Kibinge, Peter Mudamba, Cynthia Kane
Sound
Maia Lekow
Distribution
DocsBarcelona Distribution
Production
Maia Lekow, Christopher King
Editors
Ricardo Acosta C.C.E and Christopher King
Writers
Lekow King, Ricardo Acosta
Cinematography
Christopher King
Synopsis

What would you do if your grandmother was accused of witchcraft? The times of the Holy Inquisition seem far away, but in Kenya today the reality of women with a special sensitivity is dramatic and brings us back to the terror of the middle Ages.

Young Karisa travels from Mombasa to his rural origins when he learns that his grandmother is in danger. Through conversations with his family, we discover in disbelief that his uncle, due to a combination of superstition and economic interest, is the instigator of the terrible accusation. Meanwhile, his aunts try to protect the grandmother, who now has to learn to coexist with the threat of assassination around her humble home. In Kenya, hundreds of elderly people are accused of witchcraft so that their land can be taken from them. A brave portrait that highlights how the values of rural communities have been disrupted by colonialism and religion. An intergenerational love story where Karisa's charisma demonstrates how it’s possible to resist greed, and where his grandmother's fragile body conceals indestructible female power.

About the direction
Maia Lekow

Maia Lekow

Director

Maia Lekow is a Kenyan musician and filmmaker, known prominently as the front-woman of the explosive...

Christopher King

Christopher King

Director

Christopher King is an award-winning filmmaker. Australian by birth, he has worked in Kenya for 13 y...

Awards and festivals

IDFA
Netherlands, 2019
Special Mention · DocsBarcelona
Spain, 2020
Dok.fest München
Germany, 2020
DOC NYC
United States, 2020
AFI Docs
United States, 2020
Denver Film Festival
United States, 2020
Melbourne International Film Festival
Australia, 2020
Durban International Film Festival
South Africa, 2020
Nominee · One World Media Awards
United Kingdom, 2020
Encounters South African Documentary Film Festival
South Africa, 2020
Tallgrass Film Festival
United States, 2020
New Orleans Film Festival
United States, 2020
Film Africa 2020
United Kingdom, 2020
One World
Czech Republic, 2020
Maia Lekow and Christopher King
The letter
Watch the trailer
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Reviews

An effective, emotionally immediate debut feature...

— Guy Lodge, Variety

Beautiful scenery contradicts an intensely cruel phenomenon falsely worshipped as ‘culture’ and ‘tradition’.

— ZAM
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