Gerald Langiri
March 07 / 2013

The long awaited Spanner Breakfast finally took place on Saturday 2nd March 2013, at Michael Joseph centre (Safaricom house). The breakfast was organized by Creatives Garage, a platform for Creatives to showcase their talents and work. They organized it with the aim of bringing together The Nairobi Half Life Movie cast & crew and their fans for a networking session but also to find out much more about the said movie.

In attendance was the Tosh Gitonga (director) , Serah Mwihaki (scriptwriter), Mkaiwawi Mwakaba (Editor), Fatuma Rashid (Editor)  and Mugambi Nthiga (actor) who featured as Cedric in the popular movie. Also in attendance was the NHL Film Critic Steven Wekesa who has recently risen to “fame” and has been branded the evil critic of the industry, a title he admits he is ready and willing to carry.

Editor Fatma Rashid and Mkaiwawi Mwakaba
Editor Fatma Rashid and Mkaiwawi Mwakaba

The event kicked off at 8.30am with a sumptuous breakfast while live performance entertainment accorded by The Sisi ni Sisi band from Kenyatta University. The performance was followed up by a screening of the Nairobi half Life movie trailer.

The MC Mrs. Muthoni Gathecha took to the hot seat and invited Tosh for an interview which proved to be quite revealing.

Tosh Gitonga is a young man with a great vision for The Kenyan Film Industry whose greatest dream is to see the industry reach the level of Hollywood. He started off by giving a vivid description of the Pre-production, production and post-production stages of the movie. He stated that the whole production cost around Kshs. 50million. Yes. 50 M. This is why he goes crazy when he finds pirated movies being sold at throw away prices.  By the way, he now has a vendetta against the guy who put up Nairobi half life on YouTube for free. While he can slightly understand a hawker selling a pirated copy of Nairobi Half Life, he simply cannot fathom why someone would put up the movie on YouTube and yet it is not theirs nor are they gaining anything in return.

Nairobi Half Life was his first movie to direct as a first class director. It was quite a challenge for him but one he is happy with today when he looks at the results. Tosh believes that Kenya will one day become an international film production country. However, he insisted that this will only be achieved if all producers come together as one and ask for assistance from the government. He said that the problem with Kenyan Film makers is that they all seek assistance for their own individual interests and not for the interest of the entire film industry and there is no time the goverment will listen to one individual. He believes as a director, one should give a production the best shot while I quote his statement, “A fish stinks from the head. If the head of a production goes wrong, the whole production goes wrong”.

Serah Mwihaki, the script writer, was next in line where she said that the motivation to write Nairobi Half life was triggered by the urge to tell a Kenyan story in a Kenyan way. She wanted to write a story that Kenyans could relate to; “I wanted to tell my story, our story, a Kenyan story”. Serah also added that writing a story demands that the writer interact with the type of people he/she wants to feature in the story. This will give you first hand information.

Scriptwriter Serah Mwihaki
Scriptwriter Serah Mwihaki

The cast was represented by Mugambi who acted Cedric in the movie. Mugambi stated that what makes a good actor is the ability to take up a new challenge that is thrown your way and the ability to separate your character from the real you. He was praised by Tosh as one of the most remarkable actors in Kenya.

Actor Mugambi Nthiga
Actor Mugambi Nthiga

Steven Wekesa, the film critic was not left out. He cited some instances in the movie that he thinks are not realistic and wished they were done differently.  Tosh was ready with the answers.  He defended the movie by saying that what Wekesa is giving is not criticism. Rather, he is creating a totally new script of how he wishes the movie could have looked like. Tosh said “I think you are in the wrong profession. You should become a movie writer”.

Film Critic Steven Wekesa
Film Critic Steven Wekesa

The audience also gave their compliments and posed their questions. The common question was the vulgarity of the language used. This is what Serah had to say, “If you want people to get your message, use their language”.

The event came to a halt at 11.15 am. It was time for photos and socializing.  And just to mention, “Tosh Gitonga is married”.

One question, however, that lingered on most people’s minds was, “Where were all the other cast members? Wasn’t this an event about them for them?”

Reviewed by Neomy John


Pictures courtesy of Creatives Garage

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