“Shout to the Eastlands ‘coz it’s culture made me!”
I got immersed into film because I needed a tool to escape reality on the ground. Born in a cruel society where crime made you earn respect, prostitution earned you protection and a living, poverty made us worship NGOs while they encouraged us to be positively defiant to the system using music and films. That’s how I was introduced to film – thanks to World Vision Kenya.
Citizen Journalism didn’t work for me despite writing articles for Daily Nation, Standard newspapers and The Star. I felt shackled to the reality I was escaping from. After all, no one wanted to be reminded what was happening rather, it became a lifestyle. For Instance, a five year old could easily tell you this sound was produced by fireworks while that other sound was from a pistol, AK-47 or G3 over lunchtime. This hostility made us hostile. Everything we saw or talked about, was from a victim’s point of view. We mastered the art of inferiority complex. Though now I accredit my sound designing prowess to it.
One day in a Film Screenplay Class, my lecturer who later turned to be my boss made a light comment after reading my three page script “You are a sadist.” My response was “…sir you told us to write about what we see daily. This is what life has shown me. In fact it happened yesterday. This is my world.” Of course my script won but after deep reflection I realized that it was too dark. My life too was extremely dark. My perspective on life was biased and indeed, I needed some light.
Socially, film became my light, a tool through which I would paint and document memories in every perspective – same to my peers. I have learnt to paint every frame with intent determined to make films with an international standard. A standard which has led me and my team to work for both local and international parties resulting to distribution on major platforms accompanied by several awards.
With Internet being my tutor, YouTube, Vimeo and blogs became a great tool towards shaping my skills. Still is. Despite the Eastlands’ cultural hostility, there was and there is vibrant beauty amidst all that mess. Having mastered the skills, all I had to do is adjust my mind and heart settings. When that happened, originality sprout.
It’s true, film industry is not an infant baby anymore in East Africa. But it is now a ruthless bully teenager who chooses to be fair to whom it chooses. However, with technology disruption through innovation, independent film makers are crippling studio monopolies opening doors for more indie creatives un apologetically. Hence tremendous growth. The good news is, every film made whether successful or not, has been a building block to both the industry and indie film makers. However, in this status quo, a lot of work is yet to be done targeting various policies, introduction of proper film schools, distribution & marketing strategies, better wages and working conditions.
I launch this site to escape from the shadows of anonymity which I have embraced for years so as to inspire and interact with my fellow film enthusiast impacting those who need to be lifted up while contributing to the industry and proving to the world that Kenya too has what it takes. It’s true, I’ve just started as a film maker. And together with my team and loyal friends are determined to shift this turbulent in a direction aiming the development of a more beautiful environment in support of creation, protection and appreciation of art on all grounds starting with film.
We are not yet there but we are almost there.
With over 500 motion clips produced, Monicah Mugo Films, has helped develop motion visuals by collaborating with major studios with a need to design new visual products for their audience and major clients who are not afraid to step out and embrace new story telling techniques. As a result, we’ve now stretched forth to producing original content from talented independent filmmakers in East Africa.
The power of collaboration got us here and we firmly believe that through the same spirit of excellence, only the sky will be our limit. No table will be left un turned for we are responsible for the future of film as it stands. The best best way to identify with an experience is to be part of the experience yourself.
Experience the difference. Let’s collaborate.