Cecimercy Wanza is a Kenyan filmmaker/screenwriter who doubles up as a TV producer and director at Metropol TV Kenya.
How do festivals like the Mashariki Film Festival impact the Kenyan film industry?
Just being in the film industry is a challenge by itself. Getting the funds to make a film is so difficult! It is only recently that we’ve started seeing the government offering financial support to film makers. Even local competitions such as the Machawoods Festival were not really about performing arts.
So to be recognised outside my country, to have my film screened and people asking questions about it, boosted my confidence and made me feel appreciated. It was proof that my story is relatable even abroad. It is a sign that we can create content that is universal.
Films festivals give us the encouragement and energy to keep going.
Do you think the films regulatory board is playing its role effectively?
The fact that we have a censorship board in the first place confirms that we have come a long way. It means we are creating a lot of content, which is a good thing.
I think the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) does what it is supposed to do. However, there is a difference between censorship and obstructing progress. There is a thin line between these two and KFCB needs to realise that art is a reflection of society.
Lately, there have been heated discussions online about how Kenyan artists are treated. Why now?
I believe those stories have always been there, and I believe there is a film renaissance of some sort happening in our country.
We have witnessed an increase in the number of films being premiered, and the number of films made, and a consequent increase in the number of jobs created in the industry.
So now the cries for change are becoming louder, meaning that things are about to change.
How has Covid-19 affected your job?
I am a TV producer and production is all about team work, going to different locations, looking for different guests for my shows and selecting captivating topics. Coronavirus has made us all think outside the box and turn to technology to get work done! Most shows are now being filmed with the guests joining in from different locations. I guess it has showed us that we just have to identify the opportunities around us and seize them.
What is your favourite TV show of all time?
Grey’s Anatomy. It amazes me how a TV series can be on for more than 10 years and still be as captivating and interesting as it is. The growth of the characters and plots is also quite commendable.