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“Act of Love” film addressing maternal mental health to premiere on Mashujaa Day

A thought-provoking short film titled “Act of Love,” will immerse audience in the raw and emotional journey of Juliana, a young mother portrayed by Mwixx Mutinda, who grapples with life’s unexpected challenges in Nairobi.

The film, inspired by a true story, delves into the intricate tapestry of motherhood, resilience, and the often hidden struggle of maternal mental health.

Juliana’s life takes an unexpected turn when she loses her job at a local restaurant, forcing her to downsize to a modest one-roomed dwelling in an informal neighborhood.

The twist of fate arrives when she receives a golden opportunity—an interview with a prestigious accounting firm.

The catch? She has only a few hours to prepare, but there’s a catch—a final notice from her landlord, Mr. Mutisya, played by Dennis Musyoka, demands that she pays her overdue rent on the very same morning. Furthermore, her neighbor, Mama Mukami (Veronica Gatuguta), who had promised to look after her 2-month-old baby, has a campaign engagement for a local politician.

Sister Magdalene (Julisa Rowe), though sympathetic to Juliana, cannot allow her to leave the baby at the church due to a growing “pandemic” of mothers abandoning their children in the compound.

Undeterred by the mounting challenges, Juliana strives against the clock, determined to make it to her interview.

However, she must face the daunting task with her distressed baby in her arms.

A series of heart-wrenching events, triggered by her baby’s cries, causes Juliana to lose the promising interview.

Broken, frustrated, and clinging to her last shreds of sanity, she questions the depth of her love for her child.

“Act of Love” sheds light on the less discussed and often stigmatized side of motherhood. It portrays the painful reality of Post-Partum Depression (PPD), a condition that affects 10-20% of women globally and up to 32% of women in Africa.

In Kenya, maternal mental health challenges afflict 11-13% of mothers, significantly impacting the well-being of mothers, newborns, families, and communities.

The film serves as a poignant reminder of the emotional and mental struggles that many mothers face, aiming to raise awareness and ignite conversations about the pressing issue.

As Ms. Shelly Gitonga, the writer, aptly states, ” ‘Act of Love’ is a Film that makes society acknowledge the ugly side of Motherhood.”

The film has already made its mark on the international film festival circuit, having been selected for prestigious events such as the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), Sauti Zetu Film Festival in Tanzania, Swahili International Film Festival & Awards in Kenya, Fragments Festival in the United Kingdom, and the Hollywood African Cinema Connection (HACC) Film Festival in America.

The official premiere of “Act of Love” is set for Friday, October 20, 2023, at Anga Cinema, Diamond Plaza 2 in Parklands, Nairobi.

The filmmakers are intentional about premiering “Act of Love” on Mashujaa Day as a sign of solidarity with the countless heroes who battle Post-Partum Depression, either personally or by supporting their loved ones.

Film, as a powerful communication medium, aims to spark conversations and actions that lead to a positive change in maternal mental health and support systems.