Alison Ngubuini is an award-winning producer. Her work includes Siri, The Zain Challenge, the award winning film Shida as well as co-production credits on the MTV drama Shuga, among others. By Shirley Genga
You were one of a co-produced Shuga, which created quite a buzz; what do you credit to it’s huge success? Alison working on location Photos: Courtesy
Alison working on location Photos: Courtesy
I think it was successful because we did our research on today’s youth. We researched on what they wear, where they love to hang out and with whom. I wanted the film to not only open up young peoples mind to the fact that they are living dangerously but I also wanted parents to also realise that kids today are having sex at a higher rate than before and that parents need to talk to their children about sex. Its nice that people have watched it but I hope that they have gotten the message and not gotten diverted by all the glitter and glamour in the film.
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Have you always wanted to make films or is it something you fell into by mistake?
Growing up I always loved to read books and acted in as many plays as I could but I never really knew that it would be something I would be doing today. After finishing high school I did hotel management and worked in the hotel industry for a while but everything changed when I was advised by someone that I looked misplaced, that I would be feisty in marketing and communication and so I went back to school and did a course on Marketing and Communication
How did you make the move from Marketing to electronic media?
I don’t like to think about it like a switch because marketing and communication deals a lot with electronic media but more like growth. I worked for seven years at various advertising agencies before I decided to move to a production agency. I wanted to learn how to create and I felt I had leant all that I needed to learn under advertising. Advertising agencies work hand in hand with production agencies, the only difference is that, the advertising agency comes up with a concept and production company, bring concept to life. I wanted to learn how to create and not just how to come up with a concept and so I moved to a production agency. I knew how important it was to have mentors and I tried to get as many mentors as possible. In 2003,I finally opened up my own production company. I still do advertising but have expanded to other genres.
You have also worked for news network Aljazeera, how was the experience?
After the post-election violence, I did some pieces for the network and although it was a wonderful experience to work with the network it was disheartening to go to the ground and see firsthand what Kenyans were doing to each other. Apart from that I’ve done pieces on sport (cricket). I never like to box myself, one day I do features on football, the next day it’s HIV and Aids and next it’s female genital mutilation. My universe is always changing, that is what I love about my job
What are some of the projects you worked on in 2009 and what do you see in 2010?
2009 was a good year as I was involved in Shuga production, Siri season 2, MAMA Awards, I’m still doing commercials, I also did a documentary for National Geographic on the Nairobi US Embassy Bombings called Seconds before disaster. Season 3 of Siri and a documentary commercial on the indomitable lions Cameroon is already out . I also want to do some work with theatre this year. I’m working on a new television show, a reality television show and a new feature film but I cannot tell you anything more.