By Ogova Ondego
Published April 27, 2014
The Digital Generation—they that were born in the 1990s as pluralism and digital technology were entrenching themselves in Kenya—is taking over the motion pictures sector of Kenya. That’s the conclusion one is likely to reach in the evening of 28.04.14.
Wondering what this is all about? I shall tell you.
The excitement about ushering yet a new crop of of filmmakers—fully digital compliant—in the limelight through Nairobi’s premier critical film forum that has come to be seen as one of the first—and perhaps the only one—places where new films can be seen and young talent spotted, is almost palpable as TOO LATE, a film conceived and made by youth in central Kenya on the dangers of one’s over-reliance on ‘something’ other than oneself in charting one’s own way forward, premieres during the 75th monthly Lola Kenya Screen film forum at Goethe-Institut.
The 20-minute film—made by and starring newly graduated or continuing university students led by director Mark Maina Maingi, a Computer Science graduate from University of Nairobi (UoN) who has taken to film writing, directing and editing—is the story of a young man whose life goes into a tailspin following some calamity that befalls what he considers to be the centre of his universe.
A student project, the film was shot over a three-day period in Kiambu near the Kenyan commercial and political capital, Nairobi.
“The discovery that film can bring about social change has deepened my passion for creating public awareness media content. With the burgeoning penetration of technology in Kenya, disseminating educational content via film and Information Technology outlets will play a decisive role in social awareness. This is why I am focusing on filmmaking,” says Maingi whose other film—CONSIGNED TO OBLIVION—is awaited.
Ariel Gakunga Kamau, who served as Production Designer, is a second year student of Interior Design at UoN who is also studying Animation and Digital Media Design at Nairobi Institute of Technology in order to position himself well in the digital world.
Charles Mwangi Maina, an Accounts student at Kenyatta University (KU), worked on the original concept, script and lighting.
“I can play just about any role in filmmaking: from originating concept and scripting to shooting; and to lighting, acting and directing,” he says.
While Screenwriter Charles Mwangi says that he is driven by the desire to tell the world that there is another side of Africa instead of just doom and gloom, Charity Maina, a student of Forensic Science at KU who served as Assistant Director specialises in acting, directing, scripting and pre-production. And, I can’t help noticing that the curriculum vitae of this youngster who has already appeared in five short films shouts (It is set in ALL CAPS!).
“I endeavour to merge science with art in making films that can stand scrutiny at the highest levels of plausibility,” she says.
Cinematographer Marvin Kariuki is a student of Statistics and Applied Mathematics at KU. He says he has already worked on 15 short films.
“I aspire to become a world-renowned photographer and filmmaker,” he says.
Vincent Masore is the lead male actor. This student at Kenya School of Law has appeared in Mark Maingi’s TOO LATE and MISTREATED short films.
Angela Muthoni Chege, the lead female performer, is a student of Community Development at Daystar University where she is active in the drama club and serves as secretary of her church’s youth group.
The film is produced by Rachael Wainaina, the executive director of the Kiambu-based Youth Film Platform under whose aegis it was made from an eight-month training programme.
But whether the youngsters will give a good account of themselves remains to be seen; the sweetness of the pudding is in the eating, not in praising its colourful decoration. And so I shall let my tale rest here for a while. But before then, however, I recognise the crew and cast of TOO LATE:
Mark Maina Maingi (Director)
Rachael Wainaina (Executive Producer)
Charles Mwangi, Mark Maina Maingi, Charity Maina (Screenwriters)
Ariel Gakunga Kamau (Production Designer)
Marvin Mwangi, Brian Murimi (Cinematographers)
Cast (in order of appearance)
Angela Muthoni Chege