“I would like to be remembered for telling our stories in truth as an actor and as a producer”
Introduce yourself; name, where you’re based and occupation in film.
My name is Joe Kinyua. I am an actor based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Your film journey; motivation, inspiration, ups and downs encountered and what kept you going? Did you attend film school or get any training?
I have not attended any film school nor have I received any form of training in acting. I have always loved acting ever since I was in high school, and I used to take it as a hobby. In 2006, together with a few friends we produced a very low budget play at our local church. We were 5 of us. At the end of the production we didn’t break even but the whole experience was so satisfying that I decided I want to join the acting industry and take it as a career. I officially joined the acting industry in 2008. The journey has been tough with the biggest challenge being getting projects constantly. This is changing slowly. Nowadays I get more projects than I used to.
Projects worked on so far? Notable projects that have impacted you greatly and you’re really proud of?
I have worked on several projects both on stage and screen. Some of the Tv series I have done include ‘’Lies that bind’’, ‘’Changes’’, ‘’How to find a husband’’, ‘’News just in’’, and most recently ‘’Sue na Jonnie’’. I have also done a few films, with the highlight of my career being featured in a Dreamworks movie, ‘’The fifth estate’’ in 2013. I have also worked with several theatre groups and I must say the most memorable project I have worked on was the play ‘’Fences’’ by August Wilson which was produced by The Phoenix Players in 2016. That script is a masterpiece!
Any nominations or awards?
I haven’t received any nominations or awards yet……
Why do you love acting? What fuels you?
It all boils down to one thing, passion. When I am on stage or in front of a camera, I am home.
How do you pick roles and prep for them? Are there role you’ve passed up and why?
At the moment, time constraint is the only thing that would prevent me from taking a role. I am at a point in my career where I want to diversify and do as many different roles as possible for my own personal growth.My process of preparing for a role is simply reading the script over and over and over again. Not just to get my lines, but to also understand the whole story and all the other characters’ journey in relation to mine.
What do you think makes a great actor?
I believe a good actor is a diverse actor, one who can take up any role and do it justice.
What do you think is the role of a filmmaker in the society?
A filmmakers’ role is to mirror the society; to portray the negatives and positives.
Advice to those in the film industry and those aspiring to join?
Four words; patience, perseverance, persistence and discipline. These four will take you very far in this industry.
What would you like to be remembered for as a filmmaker? Your legacy?
I would like to be remembered for telling our stories in truth as an actor and as a producer.
Your take on the Kenyan film industry? What are we doing right or wrong and what can be done better by the government, audience and fellow filmmakers?
I feel the government and the relevant bodies mandated with supporting the film industry in this country are not doing enough. For instance, what happened to the film fund? But that said, filmmakers should also play their part. If we sit and wait for the government to better this industry, then we are in for a long wait. Let’s produce films, let’s tell our own stories, let’s find ways of bringing corporates on board, let’s find ways of pushing these films out for our audiences to watch, let’s try and grow the numbers that go to the cinemas. Bottom line, let’s make films.
Other areas in film that interest you and you’d pursue in future? Are you already bringing any of these hidden talents to life?
Editing, directing and producing. Together with a friend of mine, Sam Psenjen, we have formed a production company, ‘’Behind The Scene productions’’ and we hope to have our first theatre production in July this year. Next year hopefully, we will produce our first film; details coming soon.
Filmmakers who motivate you here in Kenya, Africa and Worldwide?
Likarion Wainaina! I have mad respect for this guy. Can’t wait to watch his film ‘’SupaModo’’at the end of this month. All the way up Lik!!
Anything else you’d like to add? Parting shot?