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The First Grader Details


An educator must stand up for the rights of an unusual student in this drama from director Justin Chadwick, which is based on a true story. In 2002, the government of Kenya announces that free education will be available to the nation's children for the first time, and as principal Jane Obinchu (Naomie Harris) enrolls hundreds of new first grade students in her ramshackle school, she's greeted by one prospective student who stands out -- N'gan'ga Maruge (Oliver Litondo), who is 84 years old. Maruge is illiterate and wants the chance to improve himself before it's too late; Obinchu initially turns him away, but Maruge isn't easily dissuaded, and after he keeps returning to the school Obinchu agrees to let him enroll. When word gets out that an octogenarian farmer is attending Obinchu's school as a first grader, many in the community are puzzled and outraged, and the news media picks up on the story, turning it into a nationwide controversy. But Maruge stands firm, and as others learn his remarkable story -- he was a rebel soldier who fought for Kenya's freedom during the colonial era -- his need to educate himself no longer seems like the eccentric whim of an old man. The First Grader was an official selection at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:May 13, 2011


Oliver Litondo
as Kimani N'gan'ga Maruge
Naomie Harris
as Jane Obinchu
Israel Makoe
as David Chege
Tony Kgoroge
as Charles Obinchu
Mumbi Kaigwa
as Education Secretary
Rachel Jones
as BBC Journalist


Justin Chadwick
David M. Thompson
Richard Harding
Ann Peacock
Rob Hardy
Alex Heffes
Composer (Music Score)
Paul Knight
Vittoria Sogno
Production Designer
Trevor Ingman
Ed Rubin
Associate Producer
Joe Oppenheimer
Executive Producer
Anant Singh
Executive Producer
Helena Spring
Executive Producer
Julian Slater
Sound/Sound Designer
Deborah Saban
First Assistant Director
Moonyeenn Lee
Yahya Chavanga
Location Manager
Jayne Spooner
Script Supervisor
Lorea Hoye
Visual Effects Producer
Paul Cotterell
Re-Recording Mixer
Gisela Evert
Post Production Supervisor
Nico Louw
Sound Recordist
Sarah MacFarlane
Second Assistant Director
Stefan Drury
Visual Effects Supervisor