INTELLECTUAL SCUM

Many articles have been published about the recently released, film Intellectual Scum directed by Njue Kevin. The film is an adapted from one of the most acclaimed and read articles in Africa in the last two years “You lazy African Intellectual Scum”, Written by Field Ruwe, an author and a professor in a university in Boston .The article was published in Mind of Malaka blog spot and it is through here that it gained its popularity and following.

Many have sought the film ,I seek to find the man behind it.

Meet Kevin Njue-the director

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Introduce yourself.

I am Njue Kevin, a film maker, not a student film maker I insist (chuckles) in my early twenties and I love making films.

Did they choose you or you chose them?

I think they chose me. I started watching films when I was six- seven. I have watched movies from the forties, I have watched Casablanca, vertigo , citizen kane of 70’s -80’s ,the godfather ,the taxi driver. So this spurred my interest from long ago.

 

What interested you in the film making business?

The fact that I could lie to people (chuckle). Anyway the fact that you can tell a story and people believe it’s true .For instance ,some movies that journey with you from the conception to in their destination and they make you believe it’s true, I live for such films. Films like Gravity you actually believe you are in space (pause)…and of course tell stories.

How many films have you done already?

I have done three productions that are mine , however I have been outsourced to do other projects. My productions are all short films, Saidia ,Sticking Ribbons and Intellectual Scum.

Are they all the same genre?

Actually no….actually yes (laughs). I mean they are all dramas maybe I’m not funny enough to do comedy, I just accepted that and moved on but my next project is not any other kind drama. It is a film noir psychological thriller, a genre that hasn’t been exploited in Kenya. It actually is a feature about an hour or so which Is still in post production at the moment.

What is Intellectual Scum?

It is a film about two people of different races (black and white) who meet in a plane and start a conversation about Africa and its state.

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Njue giving directions to his team while filming Intellectual scum

How did you get to talk to the writer?

I contacted Malaka on twitter, I in boxed her but she told me the article then titled “ You lazy African Intellectual scum” was not her’s so she gave me the twitter handle to the Ruwe’s daughter who then gave me the email address to Field and that’s how I got to him. He was actually cool with it.

How many days did you use to shoot intellectual scum?

I shot it in four tiring yet pleasing days of my life which was reciprocated in 15 minutes that every other person will acknowledge. It was challenging to shot I wouldn’t lie. We didn’t have a plane –that’s one of the locations we had to shoot in but we didn’t have the plane until the final day to the shoot. Imagine that! You’re set to shoot in a location that is missing!

Official Poster

You say Intellectual Scum was fully funded home, no foreign money, what would say is the secret to getting funds?

There is no secret to getting funds really. I think the most tangible one would be Learning to use what you have, make up your own savings ,ask a friend to pump you up and such however in Intellectual scum was a bit of everything .We won in Zanzibar last year and it had cash prize so part of that and our savings ,a little of this and that and viola we have intellectual scum!…Just use your brother who is an actor, maybe your dad has a friend who has a hotel and there you have a location! Learn to use what you have.

Can you mention any actors that are in intellectual scum?

Starred by Jason Corder playing Walter and Patrick Okech playing Ruwe, Mkamzee Mwatela, Kevin Samuel, Niki, Edward Kangure.

Do you want to do any more adaptation?

Yes of course I want to do the next fifty shades of grey (laughs and chuckles). Just kidding of course I would want to make many more an adaptations. We have very good stories in blogs and novels , very interesting ones so it’s something I would love to do. I am very interested in making “Going down River Road” a novel by Meja Mwangi

Why?

It has captured Nairobi in a very different way that no other movie has captured Nairobi, it is very authentic and I am so interested in that. (Meja Mwangi here’s someone who is interested in your book).

Another novel is “The trial of Dedan Kimathi ” by Ngugi wa Thiongo it talks about the last days of Dedan Kimathi.

Why do you think you’ll be a great film maker?

Watch intellectual scum and you’ll know why (chuckles) which premieres on 2nd April Michael Joseph Centre for the media screening which is private and followed by a public screening in May yet to decide on the venue .

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On set in shoot for Intellectual Scum

 Is there any challenge that is recurring on all your projects?

Dealing with my awesomeness (chuckles) but seriously the greatest challenge would be facing your own demons, trusting you own instinct ;you have all the doubts but at the same time you have all the answers so you keep thinking will it be good enough? Will it be accepted? Will people enjoy it. I think that’s the biggest challenge every other director faces.

Do you have any specific people that have to be on your team?

Of course Bill Afwani! The producer of Intellectual scum he is always there in my projects and I in his. I am sure maybe in the future we might do our independent projects but he has been in all of mine and I all of his.

Jim Bishop. I think he will be someone very instrumental in life.

 

Would it be true to say that you have your heights set for Hollywood?

Of course, who doesn’t want to go to Hollywood (pause) okay I don’t want to stay on Hollywood but I would want my films to make it in Hollywood. Hollywood is the biggest stage we have so yes want my film to reach there. I want to compete with the biggest guys in the business.

Any advice to film makers in Kenya right now?

Watch intellectual scum, that’s the standard that you should beat, after all you are only as good as you last project!

Parting shot.

(Laughs)I learned that I’m funny today(I’ve been told I am funny )so I might consider doing comedy! Of course I am looking forward for Intellectual Scum’s big reveal to the world on 2nd April at the Michael Joseph Centre.

You can catch up with this team in their website

www.rocquespictures.com

Check out the teaser trailer for Intellectual scum.

GOGO’S SEED.

We admire elephants in part because they demonstrate what we consider the finest human traits: empathy, self-awareness, and social intelligence. But the way we treat them puts on display the very worst of human behavior.

Graydon Carter

 Gogo’s seed is a four minute stop motion, written by Njonjo Kiroga, directed by E.M Mwangi and produced by Kibue Tracy and edited by Levis Isoe. It is a moving story of the elephant and it’s realization of a possible extinction because of their very things that make them live, their tusks. The journey is sour as we engage with Gogo(a female elephant) whose life is cut short by the poachers, who kill her leaving her baby motherless and the world less an elephant and a near extinction.

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This story is well told in a stop motion drawn by Paul Karanja that is well assimilated into the background music and the voice over to give a fine short piece of art. Having the idea from Paul Kahumbu Gogo successfully tells a story in a genre not well exploited in Kenya.

The film was supported by Wildlife Direct: HANDS ON OUR ELEPHANTS and recently premiered at the Brookhouse International School.

It is time we shared in their pain and told their stories.

Thailand's Elephant Hospital and Mahout School

An elephant crying.

You can watch the film here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBPujLCZc-c

OUTSET

Outset, just as the name suggest means the birth or the beginning of something. This is a film written by Charity Moraa, directed by E.M Mwangi, produced by the Flochamm films and Kingmoraa productions. Having its main actors as Oti played by Kimani Wandaka, Jenny played by Njeri Gatheru and Kingston their child, played by Glenn Leon Ageng’o.

Having One step at a time for a tagline this 20 minute family drama, showcases   the struggle in our current family set up. It seeks to journey with Oti in his midlife crisis which transcends to his drinking . The story illuminates on how tough life is getting upon every dusk and just how one can get stuck and trapped in the web of life. How broken dreams and lost hope have created holes in our hearts and yet we still manage to move on.

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Oti’s behavior is inexcusable and damaging yet in this spectrum of marriage he strains both Jenny, Kingston. All is not lost though as jenny receives counsel from a priest and decides to give Oti a chance. This was the turning point of their life. The small acts of mercy and goodness turn their world around.

Outset is an emotional journey that speak right to the heart, preaching what many people go through. “With the crew as the one I had, professional and dedicated ,as a director once you give them what your vision is they will deliver, but you also have to respect them so that they respect you ” says the director who mentioned the art director, Peter Pages, as the most outstanding crew member in his group. He attributed this to his prowess and eye for detail.

This film still in the post production is yet to disclose the premiere date. Stick around to know the dates of the premiere.

Below are some of the behind the scenes photos.

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The director framing a shot.

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The team behind the camera.

We wish the team all the best in this journey!

#youngfilmmakers

#thefilm_outset

TROTTING POLES

As you learn to ride a horse you get to learn that you need to trust other things, you need to able to learn to trust that the horse will not kick you, bite you or worse throw you down and tumble all over you. You learn a great deal of trust.

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First thing you will be told by your instructors is to look ahead. Just like with riding a bicycle riding a horse you have to maintain your head high in anticipation of anything. You have to always be on guard lest you fall off thinking of yesterday’s delicious meal or your girlfriend or worse the landlord knocking on your door. Thinking of which it should be weird you having the luxury of enjoying a ride with an unpaid for apartment, you should think about it however here is where you generally do not think about anything other than your horse and yourself. The two of you make a team and depending on how you treat your horse it will do the same to you. Be good to it and it will be good to you. Back to the instructor, “look forward, not down.” Get the balance on your horse and learn its rhythm, “look between your horses ears.”

Today’s lesson was therefore really hard for me because I suffer a lot when it reaches a place I need to trust people or things. I believe in myself and myself only. I hardly trust things, I normally do my piece and hope that the other partner won’t mess me up. Key word is HOPE. I hope for the best but expect the worst. I’m never shocked when people or things go wrong actually, the contrary happens I sort of expect such to happen. Back to the story TRUST is what you need. For a million times I stagnated in this position, a rising trot over the trotting poles because in my head I knew the horse would never go through the poles as expected and so many a times we would do a perfect rising trot and stop at the aligned trotting poles. Horses are intelligent beings, they would always sense if the rider is incompetent, afraid or confident and a leader. Valentino sensed I feared the trotting poles and it took advantage of that and stopped every time before the poles despite my attempts to keep him moving hoping he will listen to me.

“WILL YOU STOP LOOKING DOWN!” the instructor shouted at me “LOOK FORWARD” and for once I just looked forward way far from the entrance of the stables. The wind brushing softly on my face and towards the trotting poles we went. First round, “RELAX” and I did, I felt my tummy compress, my face feeling the air and Valentino getting his speed up for a perfect trot although I somehow thought we did it perfectly coz he knew my sessions were almost over but regardless we were able to go through the trotting poles without stopping. These were the reasons people rode, to relax, to enjoy, to learn the wonders of the unending world.

Today I learned a difficult lesson, a lesson that was contrary to all my believes, a lesson that gave me a different perspective of life. I was able to successfully go over the trotting poles, I was able to trust Valentino in his speed and control his mind with mine. Today I was taught a lesson of trust. I reminiscence of yesterday’s anger, build up emotions of defeat, the sobbing passion, the self analysis and I cannot find an answer. Today I learn to trust that when it rains it does not necessary have to pour. Today I learn to trust, to let go.

12/ Nov/ 2013.

GRATITUDE FOR THE SIMPLE THINGS

My year began with a bang! or should I say I was more positive towards life than I have ever been. I have had my difficulties and challenges but I choose to celebrate my victories and so I write, Gratitude for the simple things in life that bring us joy.

This year I have been able to direct my very first short film called CHANCES, this is probably the best and worst experience I’ve ever had, an oxymoron I know but seriously getting to direct a film regardless of it length makes you really appreciate any film you have ever seen and the men behind it. Chance is that film that I had envisioned and I knew exactly what I wanted however what I wanted was not possible so it taught to use the things that are available at that time.

As I write on chances I am thankful of the team I had. I experienced no fights on set no brawls whatsoever, what a good way to introduce me to directing I guess JI have to congratulate my team who won in their different departments, the winner of the best Actress Nidah ,my costume manager Lila and my make up artist Lizz. I cannot forget to pass my thanks to my D.O.P and producer Sandra Nyawira who believed in our abilities to take part in the Boys Vs Girls competition and not to forget the different department that so loyally came out and worked despite the major financial hurdles we faced, Head of department art, Salome Matu ,sound manager Cathy, lights peninah ,the production manager Magaret Njeri, my editor Elsie who didn’t sleep nonstop editing(the worst experience for me-not sleeping aargh) not to forget my able runner Mercy, vigilance for continuity, behind the scenes Masido and finally the able writing of Jean Akinyi. I believe the film gave us a chance to learn .I know I did.

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I can walk without crutches, I have discovered that I need to stay positive for life to be positive towards me and so that is what I will do. I am getting deeper into my field in film and the chance and opportunities are getting higher by the day. I threw the crutches away…yes they are props now haha…see me on the red carpet rocking heels? Who would have thought(somebody should really take an initiative to be dressing me for these red carpet event yawa…this is now becoming embarrassing)DSC_0328

My trauma is ending upon each day, I sleep with no fear. I can now handle myself on the highway. I am yet to seat at the driver’s seat but hey it takes a step to move a mile. I am taking time to heal Jso far the accident is just but the past and I have now moved on, no more scars.

Did I mention I am editing now? Yes ?No? Maybe? Oh well I’m starting to really teach myself how to edit and I hate It so far.it requires a lot of patience which I normally don’t have but I just have to know it. It is the key to being a good director so maybe that’s a good thing I don’t know!

Grateful for my life and its challenges. This is the new me, taking life positively …lemme see where this will lead me… J

END OF SEMESTER

I think I will be right to say this semester has been one short and fulfilling one. I have been more sentimental than ever. Releasing my feelings to the world and writing everything I went through. Despite the health issues that deemed the semester a disaster before the beginning of it , it has been a delight all through.

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An initiative I took to take up literature as one extra unit for so that I just read a lot of our African literary works bound results. The intertwined lectures of neo colonization and decolonization majored by the African cinema and literature lectures . The survey of African writers’ literary texts, of Ole kulet’s presentation of his book Daughter of Maa-a pure delight and twist of the traditional Maasai culture infringed by the westerners life of education. The spree of culture in that book and the effect of colonization in different colonies. The pain in the personas of the poems in the book When the bullet begins to flower-of slavery and colonization in west Africa. The voices of hope and smells of death as smeared into words and paper. The situation of Morris and his black brother jack in South African Blood Knots in the apartheid regime. The pain of the woman in Mariama Ba’s Scarlet Song among ,a man of the people. The always informing lecture of Dr. Mbai. The ever filled literature hall, the presentations on issues of feminism, colonization and decolonization of the mind.9780582785953

The one class I’ll miss is music’s Dr Shitandi’s class. It has nothing do with with storytelling nor it’s art but just the sheer scholarly arguments that filled the class 3 hour session. It was always a delight for the students(me) since they were passing time but this aids to see how people think which is very interesting. Of course the African cinema lecture. This lecturer, Mrs Hongo reminds me so much of my mum. My mum is this woman who I find very intelligent .that could be because she is always reading something. I like the depth she goes in to a discussion mentioning book A to book Z. Mrs. Hongo for me did this during these lectures. She could move from Mariama Ba’s So long a letter to Scarlet Song to Ngugu Wa Thion’go Decolonising the mind to a film Roots ,Winnie Mandela while explaining the colonization and scramble of Africa. She gave me a piece of mum J

This semester was more of creating awareness to us Africans through different texts and films as taught. To crown that up-the red carpet media screening of “Intellectual Scum” just to tell Africans to know what war they are fighting and who exactly they are fighting. I am definitely wiser than when I came in this January.

A Snake in the Gourd – #GarissaAttacks

Oduor Oduku

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When death is bounteous, and every flower is tattooed with the names of the dead, mourning is profound and prolonged. Sack clothes are worn and dirges clothe the air. The sheer immensity of death means it will not escape conscription into collective memory, into unwritten history books.  They become the fodder of national narratives. They become the eternal voices in oral narratives. Mother’s rocking their newborns remind them, for a thousandth time, how in the year XXXX, so and so happened and so and so was killed. And the children when they grow up, and marry, and birth – they too, when rocking their children to sleep will sing them a dirge-turned-to-lullaby about the year XXXX when so and so happened. And every day, old memories are etched on the minds of whimpering children suckling on mothers’ laps.

It is easy to talk about radicalization, while standing from a pedestal…

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