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Lights, Camera, Action! Kenyan students take over filmmaking

 People watching movie in a dark cinema. (Courtesy)

The film industry is one of the most consumed forms of entertainment alongside music and games. It is also one of the fastest-growing industries in Kenya.

Several factors are associated with the industry’s immense growth, one of them being support from the government and the public.

Films have become popular over the years and the new generation is now investing in it not only as actors but as producers, directors and writers.

You would be surprised to find producers who are still on campus working on magnificent movies and series that are loved by the audience.

For an up-and-coming director, getting that first feature film made is a major milestone. That was certainly the case for the director of Mistaken Identity, Fabby Grace Njongoro, who described it as “sort of a dream come true.”

“This film was my debut feature as a director and judging from its success it is a piece I hold dear with gratitude. I wrote the script as an assignment while in my Second Year. Shot it as our final year project at KCA University 2023,” said Fabby.

Fabby did not work on this film as if it were just a school project. She put her heart and poured her passion into it, cooking it with all the might she had.

While just getting a first feature made is an achievement in itself, the director had an extra sense of pride since it was a true labour of love.

“I enjoyed every bit of the directing process. I was able to bring my vision to life and tell the story as it was originally written. I was fortunate to have an amazing cast and crew who worked diligently and in harmony,” she added.

The film’s producer, Decima Wesa, seconded Fabby adding that it was fun but not easy, bearing in mind it was shot during the nationwide protests.

“The entire experience was a rollercoaster of highs and lows, culminating in a gratifying premiere at Anga IMAX Parklands, where we sold out all three screening halls,” said Decima.

The 2023 crime/action film was their directorial debut after previously working on short films, a web series, and other genres like thriller and sci-fi.

Lynn Gitau, director of The Decision, a film which is yet to be released, said that the process of directing and writing requires perseverance.

“I had written and shot it before, but I did not like the outcome. I kept writing and rewriting it till I got the current script, which I feel like I am comfortable with. We had to shoot it again because I felt like it was a big script and I did not want to miss it,” Lynn said.

With Mistaken Identity, the crew got positive feedback. The audience showed love, making this one of the crew’s highlights for the feature film.

With this kind of reception, Lynn is positive that her film will also impact positively and more young people, especially ladies will take up filmmaking.

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