It’s shocking to hear that, with all the buzz it has created so far, Nairobi Half Life is actually your first film.
Well, I have been involved in many local films, but in different capacities. I have worked as a tea boy, a second assistant director to a first assistant director. But this is the first film I have fully directed.
Assuming you started as a tea and errand boy in a film production, where was that?
That was about ten years ago when my aunt Njeri Karago, a popular film director, was setting up her office here in Nairobi. I had just completed school and I went to work with her where I made tea for the film crew, photocopied scripts, among other errands.
Is that how you learnt everything on the job?
Yes, I never went to any film school, I just learnt everything from working with film producers.
That means you worked elsewhere?
Yes, I moved from one production to the other doing different jobs behind the scenes. I was involved in movies like Dangerous Affair and TV soaps like Changes, which was showing on M-Net.
As a director, do you have your own film production company?
Yes, I started Film Crew in Africa last year with two partners, Ezekiel Onyango and Ledama Sempele. We worked on Nairobi Half Life together with other people.
How long did it take to produce it?
To get a script and put it together into a film took us about seven tough weeks. We took such a short time because we were doing it as a training project. Editing took a bit longer though.
You first premiered the movie in South Africa not Kenya, why?
We reasoned that launching a movie in a film festival would have more impact, whether it wins or not. So we took it to Durban Film Festival and we won the Best Actor award. We premiered it in Nairobi last week and it has been a huge success.
Have you taken it to other film festivals?
Yes, we are already in a film festival in Uganda and we are looking at more films in Europe and the US. I believe the next one year will be big for the film.
The gay scene in the movie, it is a ground breaking scene especially for a Kenyan film, why did you decide on it?
It’s about time people addressed the issue of gays in our society. We did it, but not in the negative angle for once.
What challenges did you face while doing this movie?
Time constraints was a real challenge. It is not an easy thing to shoot a movie in seven weeks. Coming up with the right music for the right scenes was quite a challenge as well.
What made it possible?
The experience in the field and also working with competent people made everything easier for us.
You studied marketing, have you applied it in the film industry?
Not at all. I think the only thing related to marketing which I did was hawking the movie Dangerous Affairs in the streets.
And your parents didn’t have a problem with that?
Not at all. In fact my mother encourages people to do what they want to do in life and feel comfortable. However, film industry is not new in our family, and after the success of my aunt in it, it has been widely accepted.
You are wearing a wedding band…
Yes, I’m married with two children.