Despite coming up with creative scripts and fantastic production teams, most filmmakers don’t follow-through their projects due to lack of funding

Little is known about filmmaker, Jackline Emali. Yet, she is the Miss Moneybags of film production.

Emali started crowdfunding to source capital for potential filmmakers.

“Last year, together with friends in the film industry including Domiano Gomba, Malerk Shikanda, Tabitha Kongoine, Nereah Obimbo, Melissa Nyaboke and Horrence Opondo, under the guidance of Cajetan Boy, we formed Chap Chap Shooters with the goal of producing Kenyan content. However, although we were a super team of people who specialised in different areas in production, our biggest challenge was funding,” explains Emali.

“One night, as wondered where to get funding for my projects, I came across M-Changa, an online platform that facilitates funding for different projects. It enables the use of mobile technology to raise funds, thus reducing costs and automating manual processes.”

According to Emali, their first film project was Light Sleeper and they were able to raise Sh20,000 through crowdfunding for catering purposes, while USIU donated equipment and location for shooting the short film.

“The second film we made was Band Band and we raised about Sh30,000. The third was Amazing Grace for which we raised Sh25,000. Our current film is On Your Max and through crowdfunding, we have been able to raise Sh100,000 for it,” she reveals.

On Your Max, which is still in production and for which Emali wrote the script, tells the story of Kiburu, an athlete who is publicly disgraced because of doping.

Besides his dwindling career, his life is in a hell on earth marriage and risks losing his son. The film follows him as he tries to make a come-back and fight for his son.

“On Your Max is a short film which will be about 30 minutes long. We are currently shooting it with the objective of raising funds to make a feature film. Initially, we had a cast and crew of about 35. We spent about Sh30,000 on food. Currently, we need funding for one more scene, a 400-metre race on a track with athletes and spectators. We have already secured the track and gear for the scene, but we need to raise money for transport and food for the cast and crew,” says Emali.

She adds that they offer incentives to attract contributions.

“We reward those who give contributions. Those who contribute Sh1,000 and below get a ‘thank-you’ note; For Sh3,000, you get an invitation to be on set and a guest appearance in the movie. Those who contribute Sh5,000 and above get an invitation to a private screening. For Sh8,000 and above, you get a special thanks credit (logo or name). For Sh10,000 and above, you qualify to be an ‘Associate Producer,’ receive a private screening and dinner with the cast and crew. Those who contribute Sh20,000 and above qualify to be ‘Executive Producers’ but with no creative control,” explains Emali.

Another person who has combined funding with film production by involving the public is Brenda Wairimu, whose approach also involves creative contribution.

Although known for her role as an actress, she is now going behind the cameras and headlining a new film project together with Nick Mutuma.

“I now present to you my next film, a romantic comedy that will be made together with the public, a ‘crowd created film’. Ever watched a movie and felt like you could have developed the characters better, or written better dialogue, or better ending? Well, we are providing that chance to the public to shape a film from start to finish. It is a one-of-a-kind project,” says Brenda.

Brenda and Nick will be working hand in hand with one of Kenya’s leading scriptwriters, Mungai Kiroga.

The project will see their fans come up with a film concept, develop the script, write actual scenes, audition the supporting cast, select filming locations and produce the film themselves.

Interestingly enough, it all began with a tweet.

In November last year, Brenda posed a question on her social media pages; which two actors would you like to see star in a romantic comedy film? Dozens of her fans responded saying they would like to see Nick and Brenda in a romcom.

The project was then divided into several stages that would include the participation of the public.

“First, fans were invited to submit their ideas for the film. From the submissions, Nick and I will select our favourite concepts. Once that is done our social media followers will be asked to pick one story, which will then go into further development,” she explains.

“The participation of fans does not end there. Throughout the writing process, fans will also have the unique opportunity to shape the story and once the script is complete, the project will move on to pre-production, where fans will get the chance to play an even bigger role in the project.

“There will be a public audition process. Aspiring actors will be invited to upload audition footage onto their YouTube channels. From their footage, the supporting cast will be selected. Finally, fans will also help scout for filming locations, props and wardrobe. There will also be opportunities for fans to feature in the film as extras,” she further explained.