By Ogova Ondego
Published July 27, 2013
Kuku ya Yellow (Yellow Chicken in Sheng), a 35-minute film touching on an urban young man’s search for love and the hustles he goes through as he tries to fulfill the desire of his heart—getting a maiden to love him—is lined up for screening and discussion at Goethe-Institut during Nairobi’s premier critical Lola Kenya Screen peer-review forum on July 29, 2013 at 6.00PM.
Also scheduled for screening and discussion is 20-minute Malika that also looks at the quest of a girl to quench her thirst for formal education despite the darkness enveloping her in the informal settlement she calls home.
Whereas the former is scripted and directed by Samuel Wambua, an up-and-coming film director who works with Divine Touch Studios (DTS) Films based at Kitengela on the outskirts of Nairobi, the latter is an advocacy work made by Bee Gilbert co-produced by Anno’s Africa, Laurentic Film Productions and Springing Dog Productions.
Samuel Wambua, who uses the pseudonym Deejay Msalaba and says he ventured into filmmaking in 2010, has so far made three films—Kuku ya Yellow,The Artistic Ladder, and Nimekunoki Jirani—which are all based on Christian themes.
“I began with some short films as I continued learning from the internet about filmmaking and scriptwriting as well as watching films and TV series over and over again,” he says. “I have not learned cinematography in school but rather through curiosity and adventure.”
Deejay Msalaba says his interest in filmmaking began in 2009 when he was fascinated by Cobra Squad by Alfred Mutua—a former Spokesman of the Government of Kenya—which was then airing on NTV.
“I was shocked by the public outrage that was directed at the series by viewers. It was this concern that led me to do research as to why people didn’t appreciate Cobra Squad but they would spend hours watching Jack Baeur’s 24,” he says.
He scripts not just “to test myself” but also to “apply what I have learned.”
So how has the journey been so far for him?
“I am a work in progress; all my films are still personal self assessment projects. I am yet to graduate,” he says. “This year I decided to subject my films to public screenings as a way of getting feedback from the public and professionals out there in order to propel my skills to the next level and thus make me a better filmmaker in-the-not-so-distant future.”
Deejay Msalaba says his 35-minute Kuku Ya Yellow—that is scheduled for screening and discussion during the 68th monthly Lola Kenya screen film screening, discussion and networking forum at Goethe-Institut in Nairobi on July 29, 2013 at 6.00PM—is the first film with which he is testing the waters.
“It has had its first screening at AITEC’s Broadcast, Film and Music Africa conference and exhibition at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in June 2013. I was humbled to have screened my film alongside other local productions like Ni Sisi and Something Necessary. The next stop is at the Lola Kenya Screen film forum from which I purpose to learn from anyone who is willing to teach me or share their knowledge with me. God willing, I look forward to a Kenya Film Commission-organised Kalasha Film & TV Awards nomination, if not an award. I also look forward to air play on local free-to-air TV channels so that I can benefit further from public viewing feedback.”
Deejay Msalaba appears to specialise in social commentary as demonstrated in his other shorts–The Artistic Ladder and Nimekunoki Jirani. While the former is about a young man’s pursuit of a career in music to the chagrin of his parents, the latter addresses the issue of why good girls are usually attracted to bad boys.
The trailers of Deejay Msalaba’s three shorts can be viewed at:
Kuku ya Yellow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f74PWmgGpxg
The Artistic Ladder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i6sVI8l7iA
Nimekunoki Jirani https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_HcwxxtZpc
The Lola Kenya Screen film forum (LKSff) is a specialised platform for practitioners—filmmakers, film critics, film writers, students, scholars, policy-makers, funders, performers, social awareness groups, cultural agencies and other players with a stake in the film sector—in the eastern Africa audiovisual media sector. It is aimed at critiquing, encouraging and exploring ways of integrating film production in Kenya and eastern Africa with other socio-cultural and economic sectors in order to come up with a vibrant film industry.
The initiative of ComMattersKenya/ArtMatters.Info in conjunction with Goethe-Institut that is held every last Monday of the month throughout the year, LKSff is part of the Lola Kenya Screen (LKS) audiovisual media festival, skill-development programme and marketing platform for children and youth in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa region.