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
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.
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!
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
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 .
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!
(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
Check out the teaser trailer for Intellectual scum.