One of the biggest challenges the Kenya’s film industry faces is the lack of support from the locals who unapologetically shun the output of home-grown talent in favour of Hollywood and Nollywood productions. Their reasons for this are pretty simple: that Kenyan-made films are not good enough; that they do not know where to find local movies; and that the few available normally sell at higher costs.
FANS TURN OUT IN LARGE NUMBERS
It was therefore very encouraging to see Kenyans, even if not enough big names from the acting and film world, come out in large numbers on Wednesday evening in order to be part of the red carpet premiere of the much awaited movie Wrong Number, which had two screenings on the same day at the Alliance Francaise Auditorium in Nairobi.
TOP NOTCH INDUSTRY PLAYERS MISSING
As always, the cream of Kenya’s acting fraternity was conspicuous by its absence and the issue of actors and general players in the industry failing to support their own was clear for all to see, or rather, not to see. Although this Kenya Forum correspondent did notice a few topnotch actors who graced the event, including Gerald Langiri, Maureen Koech and Daniel Peter.
“Normally people in the industry don’t show up for other people’s premieres but it’s a great networking opportunity for everyone involved and a chance to show support. I would have loved to be there, but I was caught up at the immigration office,” said actress Lizz Njagah who admits that she was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of industry players at large in the House Of Lungula premiere.
A SUCCESSFUL SCREENING
However, producer Alex Konstataras, who is also married to Lizz Njagah, maintains that even though it’s a good gesture for players in the industry to appear in movie premiers to show support to fellow thespians, a successful screening is one in which the general audience outnumber the industry players by far.
“You know when you are creating a movie, you do it for your target audience so they should be the ones who turn out in scores and not the industry players in order for you to make returns,” he said adding that most of the industry’s players will expect to attend with a complimentary ticket anyway so their failure to make appearances shouldn’t dampen a producer’s spirit.
WRONG NUMBER REVIEW
The movie begins with a wide shot that showcases the magnificent Thika Road Superhighway and this immediately sets the scene at home in Nairobi.
The cast mostly comprises of new faces in the industry and despite a few technical issues like lighting, editing and sound, the crew still managed to make the production a reality and that is indeed a step in the right direction.
James Kariuki plays Morgan in the movie, a young, promiscuous, ruthless and rich drug baron who is ready to wipe out anybody and anything that threatens his survival. He brings out the role of a charmer who knows just the right words to use with a woman and leave her falling head over heels, and his performance stands out.
Biko Nyongesa, plays Kibunja, Morgan’s right hand man and partner in crime who is beginning to regret his choice of “career” as his family has been torn apart thanks to his ‘fishy’ lifestyle.
Lead detectives- Dt Douglas (Zeph Mwangi) and Dt Morris (Jacktone Busaka) are working closely with a brave and smart investigative journalist Kate Mawanda (Koi Ngunjiri) to leave no stone unturned in their quest to bring the criminal to book after the initial evidence points out to just one direction.
According to the producer, Mwangi Kaburugu (KBG) despite the challenges encountered along the way the production is just the beginning of better productions to come.
“We did face a few technical issues but we take it like a pregnancy, which is normally associated with many issues like the painful process of labour but at the end, a mother forgets the pain when she holds the baby in her arms,” he said, adding that the project has been a learning process.
His Co-producer, Zeph Mwangi, shared similar sentiments and mentioned that the project started two years ago but the team has never lost vision.
The film, directed by Philip Cristian Ochieng received a rather rare review from now popular film critic in Kenya’s film and TV industry after he gave it a nod for a good trial. “I think for a first production, the team has tried and am sure their next production will be way better,” said, Steve Anderson.