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Budding Filmmakers Prepare for Peer Review

Ian Kithinji amd Jackline Asava chat at a Lola Kenya Screen film forumDoes a man’s happiness lie in the number of women he relates with and a woman’s in finding romance in soap operas? Do perfect relationships exist? Is a wife’s obsession with settling scores with her husband fair game?

Answers to these questions are likely to be answered in Nairobi on August 29, 2016 when a group of up-and-coming filmmakers that was born in Nairobi in 2013 with a view to helping hone the skills of its members in the various departments of movie-making presents its work for peer review during the 95th Lola Kenya Screen film forum (LKSff).

Members of Mizani/Hamba Production shall present five short films titled ARE YOU HAPPY?, CLICHÉ, INDULGE ME, HAPPY VALENTINES and ROLEX for screening and discussion during Nairobi’s monthly networking forum for players in the movie sector at Goethe-Institut.

Mizani, that means both weights and rhymes in Kiswahili, comprises what Christine Kasiva Muthee, one of its leaders, describes as a team of dynamic, passionate and young filmmakers who have set out to hone their skills by making a short film every month.

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Christine Kasiva Muthee is a movie producer and editor who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Daystar University.

Mizani/Hamba Production members“My love for film started way back in campus where I was a casting director in our campus film project titled CONTROL,” she says. “I produced my first film with Mizani for the 48 Hour Film Project.”

Since then, she says, she has “produced and co-produced four more films for the Mizani/Hamba Production team.”

As if being guided by the saying education is a continuous lifelong experience, Kasiva says she received trained as an editor in a One Fine Day Films Workshop that equipped her with the skills she uses in editing some of the productions of Mizani/Hamba.

“As a producer, my team and I have been honoured as winners of the 2015 Machakosfest Short Film Competition," Christine Kasiva Muthee says.“As a producer, my team and I have been honoured as winners of the 2015 Machakosfest Short Film Competition organised by the County Government of Machakos for the short film, INDULGE ME, that is directed by Ian Kithinji,” she says.

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It appears lots of water has gone under the bridge since November 2013 when Mizani came together in order to participate in an initiative called 48 Hour Film Project that seeks to push filmmakers to the limit by having them produce a short film–from scripting to distribution–within 48 hours.

ROLEX, the film the group made, had one of its actors, Elsaphan Njora, winning the award for Best Male Actor.

From this promising start, Christine Muthee says the team set its focus on “producing quality short films for both local and international audience. Each member took up various roles in the hope of learning and practising using the newly acquired skills. Through this, members found themselves developing better understanding and respect for these roles that they otherwise would not taken up in their day-to-day jobs.”

For instance, while Christine Muthee co-produced INDULGE ME and ROLEX and ARE YOU HAPPY and edited HAPPY VALENTINES and ARE YOU HAPPY?, both Ian Kithinji and Tyler Martindale scripted and directed as Elsaphan Njora acted and scripted.

All these 30 members who have regular 8:00 AM-5:00 PM jobs, Monday-Friday, volunteer on all projects.

Eunice 'Freezzer' Ayuma starres in CLICHE, a short drama film directed by Firul Maithya.“In 2015, Mizani reunited after a break and formed Team Hamba for the purpose of participating in the Machakosfest Film Competition,” Kasiva explains why the team is known as Mizani/Hamba Production.

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Other players who merit special mention in this article are Firul Maithya who directed CLICHÉ and Tyler Martindale.

Maithya , who holds a Diploma in Journalism and Public Relations from Kenya Polytechnic and is actively involved in the movie sector, says he wants to specialize in movie directing.

Tyler Martindale, from Minnesota, USA, is a writer, community developer and film enthusiast who studied at Daystar University from 2010 to 2014. He helped to write the script for ROLEX and directed HAPPY VALENTINES.

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“I am currently writing a feature film that includes roller skating lizards, Sheng-speaking robots, and ancient Kung fu masters,” he says.

The entire team of about 30 members that consists of directors, producers, writers, actors, editors, and sound and lighting specialists, among others, is expected to attend the screening and discussion of their work at the networking forum.

Christine Muthee (centre) flanked by Roselida Taabu (l) and Mercy Adundo (r).

They include, among others, Eunice Ayuma, Sharlyn Mungai, Mike Owino, Benjamin Oluga, Tracy Mugo, Emmanuel Amimo, Ethan Mumo , Mercy Adundo, Jimmy Kimaita, Ian Kithinji, Christine Muthee, Elsaphan Njora, Isaya Evans, and Tyler Martindale.


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