By Daisy Nandeche Okoti
Published August 4, 2014
A new feature film on love, crime, vengeance and death premieres in Nairobi on August 22, 2014.
The 106-minute drama titled STRATA that shall screen for three days at Nairobi’s Alliance Francaise auditorium is directed by Cajetan Boy of Et Cetera Productions and produced by Desmond Boi and Caroline Odongo with Colo Shivere, Andrew Kulei and Cajetan Boy being associate producers. The fictional film on urban crime tells the story of a woman on a mission to make her fiancé’s killers pay for their crime. But before then, one may have to decide for oneself when a murderer is both the antagonist and the protagonist.
Though the film was completed in 2012 and should have been released in December 2013, this is the first time it is being shown to the public in Kenya. The Nairobi screenings shall be followed by other shows across all the 47 in Kenya by the end of 2014. The producers say holding at least two shows in each county will see the production break even.
Taking up the lead male role is Gilbert Lukalia, an experienced stage and screen actor whose film credits include THE FIRST GRADER (a 2010 film on an 84-year-old Standard One Kenyan pupil directed by Justin Chadwick) and KIDNAPPET/Lost in Africa (a 2010 Danish family thriller shot in Kenya and directed by Vibeke Muasya).
Taking up the lead female role is Veronica Waceke and Sabina Stadler.
While Sabina Stadler’s screen acting credits include Kenyan TV series such as SAINTS, THE TUSSLE, CHANGES (season 3) and CHANGING TIMES, Veronica Waceke who starred in Kenyan TV series like HIGHER LEARNING, GUY CENTRE, MAKUTANO JUNCTION and BE THE JUDGE. She has also taken part in local films such as MAKUTANO JUNCTION and GHETTO HEAVEN.
Also starring in the film that was made in 2012 is producer and sound engineer Amin Virani Elchie and stage and screen actors Omfwoko Aswani and Edyth Luseno.
It is expected that the film will attract many viewers to the nine shows as its action is driven by a cast that is familiar on the local theatre and television scene.
Speaking about the making of this film, Cajetan Boy says that he would rank it as his real debut feature film as a director. He says STRATA is a landmark film by his Et Cetera Productions because it is the first film by the production house that is specifically written for the screen.
“All the other productions we have made at Et Cetera are adaptations from stage plays and because of this fact, I know that STRATA has certain strengths that may not be present in the other films we have made,” says Boy who specialises in scripting.
The August 22, 2014 premiere shall be followed by four shows on August 23 and another four on August 24, 2014 at the same venue.
While each guest to the premiere is expected to pay Sh1 000, tickets to the other eight shows will cost Sh200 (adults) and Sh100 (students). Shows for students are scheduled for 11.00AM-1.30PM on both August 23 and 24. It will be accompanied by discussion on how to make high quality films on low budgets.
“The idea behind these special shows for students is to open up the mind of students because ‘small budget’ is one of the main challenges in a country like Kenya whose film sector is still not able to support itself,” Boy says.
Boy says he hopes that proceeds from the paid-for screenings will cover the production cost and that if it succeeds it will set an example to follow by other filmmakers in the country.
“Scripting STRATA took three years. During this time, the script was subjected to a series of re-writings and feedback from people who understand the script-writing craft,” Boy says. “As the film’s script writer, I took a lot of time on it because I believe a good film script is like a good foundation for a house.”
He says the reason why Kenya that abounds in stories does not have a vibrant visual stories industry is because scripting is not handled with the seriousness and care it deserves.
“A film script gives the whole film direction. A lot of care and attention should be given to it because any cracks that develop later in the story have their foundation here,” Cajetan Boy says.
“I decided to learn the craft of screenwriting at Maisha Film Lab because I find that the screen has a longer lasting and greater impact than the stage. which. A screenplay can travel across the globe and retain the same form. But a stage play cannot because each performance is new each time it is presented,” he says.
Et Cetera’s collaboration with Daystar University brought down the cost as the film had various interns from Daystar besides using its premises for filming. Other locations for the film were private spaces and this made the shooting easier, cheaper and more convenient.
Overall, about Sh1 000 000 (about US$11 765) was spent on making the film that is about to be served to the public.