To wrap up the Showmax Originals slate for the year, Showmax has released the trailer for A Familiar Christmas, Kenya’s first-ever Christmas feature, to premiere on 15 December 2022.
A Familiar Christmas follows the Moran family as they reunite to spend a Christmas holiday together for the first time in three years. Their plans for a loving holiday are disrupted when secrets and a meddling mother wreak havoc in the household.
Written by Natasha Likimani (Sincerely Daisy, Disconnect), A Familiar Christmas is directed and produced by award-winning filmmaker Reuben Odanga (Selina), making this his second feature film after the history-making Nafsi, which became the first Kenyan film to achieve an 8-week consecutive theatrical run.
“I love Christmas because it’s usually a time to step back and let go of the pressure of the year. In Kenya, Christmas means going home for the majority of us, where we get to interact with our extended family,” says Odanga.
“To be the first to direct Kenya’s first Christmas feature film means documenting our present culture to offer something that is relatable to the Kenyan audience. It’s daring and exciting at the same time,” Odanga adds. “I have always felt that our content sometimes doesn’t take significant calendar events like Christmas into account. A Familiar Christmas captures the mood of the season from our perspective; it’s a step to bring our content and culture home.”
Meet the cast
Pascal Tokodi, popularly known for his role in the Swahili telenovela Selina and Disconnect, plays Melita, the casanova of the family who falls in love rather too quickly. He’s also a bit of a rebel who doesn’t mind causing a little tension at a family gathering.
In her first-ever acting role, Elani band member Maureen Kunga plays Noni, Melita’s uptight sister, who comes home with more problems than the family anticipated.
Keith Chuaga (Igiza, Famous) plays Allan, Noni’s husband, who’s loved by the family but not so much by Noni because of his past mistakes.
Zora actress Alice Mbeyu plays the family matriarch Tabitha, a woman with a know-it-all and mother-knows-best attitude that sometimes rubs her two children Melita and Noni the wrong way.
Dennis Musyoka (Maria, Crime and Justice) plays the Moran family patriarch Frank, who’s sometimes rather passive to squabbling and tension, and watches from the sidelines as his wife Tabitha interferes with their children’s lives.
Other cast members include Ugandan Ruth Kamanzi (Sanyu), Charles Agengo (Selina), Ann Muli (The Good Child) and newcomer Hannah Wanjiku.
First announced in March, A Familiar Christmas is the second Showmax Original film in Kenya after the coming-of-age drama Baba Twins – nominated for eight awards including Best Feature Film at the 2022 Kalasha Awards. It’s also the sixth Kenyan Showmax Original title in 2022 after 2022 Kalasha Awards nominees Single Kiasi; Crime and Justice S2 and County 49; Igiza and the just-launched crime drama series Pepeta.