Interview: The Kenyan Film Industry Scene

That no matter what your past looks like, no matter how many obstacles you meet on your way, no matter how many times you fall and rise, remember that with a CAN DO attitude, whatever you are looking for is also looking for you!

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 09, 2020/-- Kenya is steadily becoming a reputable and formidable breeding ground for top actors and actresses in the world. In these exciting times we are lucky to have Eunice Ayuma on Kikao. We pick her brain on her journey, perspective of the industry and more.

Let Kikao begin...

[Question 1] Welcome to Kikao. Who is Eunice Ayuma?

In my journey of becoming, I have been a creative/film enthusiast, sales representative and a business development executive. I define myself as a leader who shows up every morning to learn and teach something new in equal measure.

[Question 2] Share with us your first acting debut role and journey so far.

My debut role was on a segment series by Lolani Kalu on NTV’s Swahili prime time news. I was narrating Swahili poems and acting them out. I later played Annabelle on Rush TV series that has been translated into French and Portuguese, Wrath TV series, Clichè, Sage and Mission short films and the latest season of Jane & Abel TV Series, some are distributed to FTA’S, Cable TV, Streaming platforms and other non convectional distribution channels across the globe.

[Question 3] What lesson do you pick from the global success of Lupita Nyong’o, Edi Gathegi and Kiran Shah?

That no matter what your past looks like, no matter how many obstacles you meet on your way, no matter how many times you fall and rise, remember that with a CAN DO attitude, whatever you are looking for is also looking for you!

[Question 4] With the rapid growth and expansion of streaming services in Africa, will Kenya join the likes of South Africa and Nigeria as key hubs of creation and demand?

Absolutely, Kenya is in the top 3 largest markets in Africa together with Nigeria and South Africa. Both Amazon Prime and Netflix launched in some African countries in 2016. The penetration of international SVOD platforms brought new competition to the streaming space, this has transformed the African media landscape by opening us up to a far wider audience, we’ve seen the recent release of Netflix’s first African original series, seen acquisitions from Nigeria, and the growth snowball keeps rolling, its circumference is bound to grow.

[Question 5] Few people know of the appearance of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta in the 1935 movie Sanders of the River and music maestro Sal Davis in The Syndicate (1968). Other notable Kenyan personalities from other fields have also made contributions in the acting scene. Is the Kenyan film industry receptive of this diversity and what are its effects?

When the first Kenyan president took part in Sanders of the River he was not yet the president, he used his skills and ability as an African artist to tell the story the best way he knew how. Music is a piece art, locations whether designed or natural are pieces of art, costumes, make up, different lights, characters are pieces of art, the art of story telling using audio visual is a collection of putting pieces of art together to give life to a masterpiece that is film, TV shows, movies, TVCs you name it.

To answer your question I’d say, there is a lot of power in collaboration! The Kenyan Film industry understands this fully and hence you will find the likes of Bobby Trabolee’s still alive collaborating with the makers of Monsoons Over The Moon, Sautisol featuring in films like Veve and now on a global space in Queen Sono, Governor Alfred Mutua, with Machawood, he is creating an enabling environment for the growth of the creative industry, Multichoice with Talent Factory, other government bodies in the Ministry of sports, Culture and Heritage are also collaborating with creatives, the future is brighter!

[Question 6] “Evening Walk With Eunice Ayuma”. What is it all about?

This is a movie! Okay I’ll be brief.

After work, I always found creative ways and spaces to escape Nairobi’s evening rush hour, being an enthusiast in the entertainment space, I found my true north leading me to creative hubs around Nairobi, a lot of the action worth sharing in Nairobi happens in the evening or over the weekend, be it book clubs at the Kenya National Theatre, Local and International film or Documentary screening at the cinema halls, Art Exhibitions, discussions with industry players, community outreach, activation gigs, general forums and networking with other people out of the entertainment space. This is before the curfew in 2020, lol!

So I needed an outlet to share the little lessons I picked to my online organic audience, there I chose to use and honing my skills by penning down the stories through my blog that I named #EveningWalksWithEuniceAyuma.

I then expanded my walks to a national level while filming and yo! Kenya is such a beautiful filming destination, since the days of Out of Africa up until now, I have so much about Kenya’s jaw dropping scenery I am yet to share!

[Question 7] As a creative, how are you coping with COVID-19 pandemic?

My very first acting coach Neil Schell told me amongst other students in one of his sessions that as a creative, one must endeavor to have both technical and soft skills that can earn them something when cameras and microphones are not rolling. So with a blue ocean mindset and grateful to the almighty for the Internet, I am finding ways to work with and around this endemic by; providing my services from home, learning, unlearning and relearning a lot of stuff, reconnecting with family and friends virtually, reading the books I shelved, binging on the shows and movies I promised myself to watch, attending the webinars I can, taking up new courses and above all, listening to podcasts, my favorite now being Activate Gems and Nuggets.

The written interview was compiled by Phineahs Munene – Co-founder of Wazo Moja for Eunice Ayuma – of eayuma.com

Dressed by House of Ruma

Distributed by Wazo Moja on behalf of Eunice Ayuma

SOURCE

Eunice Ayuma