African Film Directors: Kenyan Film Directors Nicholas Wambugu and Jim Chuchu
Jim Chuchu is renowned Kenyan film director, writer, photographer, singer-songwriter and visual artist. Titles that he executes excellently as revealed in his works. Jim is a co-founder and creative director at The Nest – a multidisciplinary art collective in Nairobi. He was a member of the popular Kenyan band, Just A Band, before his exit to pursue his passion in filmmaking.
Jim Chuchu made his directing debut in 2013 with a short film ‘Homecoming’ – a film that takes a a quirky, light-hearted look at obsession and the desire to be seen. The film premiered at the Durban Film Festival and went ahead to be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and Seattle International Film Festivals among other festivals. In the same year, Chuchu directed other short films (fashion films), ‘Dinka Translation’ and ‘Urban Hunter’.
But perharps what made him widely known is his controversial feature film, ‘Stories of Our Lives’ – a film about the true lives of the LGBT community Kenya. The film received critical acclaim internationally despite its ban in Kenya. The film was rejected for screening and distribution in Kenya with the argument that it violated the Kenya Films and Stage Plays Act. ‘Stories of Our Lives’ premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014. This rejection at home did not kill Jim’s directorial dream. In 2015, he directed a fashion short film, ‘To Catch a Dream’, a popular web series ‘Tuko Macho’ in 2016, a VR film ‘Let This Be a Warning’ in 2017 and ‘We Need Prayers’ in 2018.
“I want to make films like that say so much without saying a word” – Jim Chuchu
You can find more of his work here> http://www.jimchuchu.com/
Nick Wambugu is a young Kenyan filmmaker who creating change in the Kenyan film industry by making films that tell human stories. Before making his debut in the filmmaking industry, Nick was a programmer at an insurance company but quit to follow his passion in film. He is also a cinematographer, producer and drone pilot.
Nick co-owns a production company, Folklore Films, under which he has directed several documentaries including ‘Above Kenya’, ‘Above Marsabit,’ Journey on The Pedals’, ‘Above Turkana’, commercials and music videos.
In 2015, a short film he directed while studying film in Italy, received a Kalasha award. His short film, ‘Who Knows’, a short documentary on the story of “The Street Dance Family” and how they navigate the tough streets of Nairobi in order to earn their living and escape a life of drugs and crime, premiered in January 2018. The emotive film, based on the real lives of The Street Dance Family in Nairobi went viral and received positive reviews. The short film will be turned into a feature film later this year. As an executive producer and 1st AD, Nick has worked on a short film, ‘Passive’, which follows the moments before the exposé of a man living a double life.
“I’m interested in stories that affect humanity. Stories that revolve around people and witness on a daily basis. Basically, real stories as opposed to fiction”. – Nick Wambugu
Check out more of his work here> https://vimeo.com/folklorefilms
To laud the great contribution by African film directors, Film Link Africa will be highlighting film directors from around the world in a series we are calling; African Film Directors.
In this series, we will list African Film Directors in no particular order. This series is not about comparison. It’s not about who has made more films or won more awards. It is about celebrating African Film Directors by highlighting their work and contribution to the African film industry, irrespective of their age, race, number of films and/or awards.
See also: South African Film Director Gavin Hood