On a chilly July morning in the little-known village of Kabuku in Limuru’s Tigoni ward, Kiambu County, the cast and crew were in the warmest outfits while on set, shooting Supa Modo. The movie was a result of DW Akademie, One Fine Day Films, and Ginger Ink’s cooperation that brought together local writers and directors for a script writing workshop dubbed ‘Brain Room.’
The One Fine Day Film Project gives African filmmakers a chance to write and produce their own stories for an international audience. The masterclass is open to everyone, especially those without formal training in script writing.
During all stages of the production, the film crew was mentored by experienced international filmmakers, including production mentor Tara Biere, directing mentor Claudia Prietzel, cinematography mentor Volker Tittel, assistant directing mentor Manuel Siebert, locations mentor Rolf Viehrig, costume mentor Barbara Schramm, sound mentor Bernhard Joest-Däberitz, and script continuity mentor Martin Nyakabete.
One Fine Day Films and Ginger Ink were in charge of shooting the movie that featured a cast and crew of more than 70. On this day, the crew and cast were on their third week on location. The movie, directed by Likarion Wainaina, who was a participant in the masterclass in January, is the story of a young, ambitious girl whose dream of being a super-heroine is cut short by a terminal illness. It takes the intervention of a whole village masterminding a genius plan to make her wish come true.
Starring Stycie Waweru as Jo (the terminally-ill girl), Maryanne Nungo, and Nyawara Ndambia alongside a slew of other actors and extras, the movie caused a stir in this sheltered village. The equipment on set, police presence and the large crew and cast saw them taking up all the bed space at Jumuia Conference and Country Home.
“We had 17 writers and directors in the Brain Room workshop, who were divided into four groups. Each group came up with a script in a two-week project led by a script coach from Germany. We picked this one out of them,” says Ginger Wilson, one half of the heads — and also producer — at Giner Ink. “The writers involved in creating the script are Mugambi Nthiga, Silas Miami, Wanjeri Gakuru, and Kamau Wandungu.”
She says the story’s appeal is that it is about community and people overcoming their differences to support a family with a child who is dying. She believes it is a universally traditional story. Though it is a little bit wacky when you have children and elderly people running around trying to be action heroes, it is also very moving.
“Film is supposed to show something that you didn’t imagine before. It would be super boring if we did what everybody else has done before,” says Sarika Lakhani, the managing partner and producer at One Fine Day Films, on why they took the comic super heroes angle.
The full estimation of the movie’s production cost is not immediately available since a lot of the shoot has been on pro bono. Supa Modo is the sixth feature film developed and realised within the One Fine Day Film project.
Enos Olik, a cinematographer, found himself on the project by chance because jobs were hard to come by during the electioneering period. Besides music videos, he has also done television productions.
“I applied to their call-out after I read the script’s touching story. I decided to be part of this because I’m also planning to do some feature films,” he says.
Ginger was disappointed that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority still prohibits filming using drones. She also wishes the government could give tax incentives to film produces, like South Africa.