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Supa Modo

Directed by Likarion Wainaina
Kenya, Narrative, 2018, 74 mins., in English, Kikuyu, and Swahili with English subtitles


If you would still like to enjoy this film, it will be playing as part of the festival. Dates and times here.


Themes & Subjects: Kenyan Culture, Power of Art, Power of Film, Adolescence, Family Relations, Death & Dying

Synopsis:  Sometimes a little escapism is just what the doctor ordered. Equally a superhero flick, a comedy about grief, and a family drama, Supa Modo focuses on superhero- and action-film-obsessed nine-year-old Jo (earnestly performed by newcomer Stycie Waweru), who dreams of the supernatural but whose terminal illness brings her home to spend her last moments surrounded by friends and family. Motivated by the young heroine’s strong spirit and imagination, the village members rally together to help Jo make a movie that ultimately immortalizes her as a superhero. A mostly self-taught filmmaker, Supa Modo is Wainaina’s debut feature and demonstrates on-screen—and through its surprisingly scrappy production—the resourcefulness of Kenyan communities and the healing power of cinema.

Kenya’s foreign-language Oscar submission.

Resources for teachers:

CNN video interview with Director.

Video about making-of and African film culture.

Global Classroom FAQs

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.