GUEST POST BY FILMMAKER SIMIYU BARASA
A spoiler cum disclaimer; This article will contain scenes and faces that you already have seen on Kenyan TV. However, any relation, real or imagined, does and does not bear resemblance to them. More importantly, they haven’t paid for name placement. I have desisted from names of people I have directly worked with to avoid accusations of kuwatetea. And oh, its going to be quite a long read.
|Nollywood stars in Kenya for 2011 AMAA nominations gala night.|
This has been a year that has made me think deeper about our industry, especially on the commercial viability of it. Several things have converged to make me ruminate on actors. Yes, we love them, but because we so love our Kenyan actors, lets spank them a bit. Do we have bankable actors in Kenya? You say yes? Ok, I mean do we have star Kenyan actors, whom Kenyans would block Mama Ngina street as they rush to 20th Century Fox to watch them? Who’s faces if they appear on DVD covers would create a human traffic jam in Nakumatt, as Kenyans seek to buy these optical discs and watch them? Kenyan actors whose names in the trailers can ring a bell in Dar-es-Salaam to Kinshasa and Lagos? You sure? A Kenyan actor who can make an independent producer take a loan knowing he’ll make his money back, due to the starpower of the actor?
A couple of things have led me to the following conclusions. Early this year, during the AMAA nominations night in Nairobi, dubbed Nairobi Rocks with Stars, I sat on a table watching the forlorn faces of our acting stars being totally rocked as the whole ballroom turned to bow down to the Nigerian actors entourage. Some Kenyan actors fell over themselves to take mobile phone photos of these stars, and in the newspapers lets just politely say, the stories were full of foo foo served with a sprinkling of nyama choma.