Below is a story of the youngest film maker in Kenya, Jeff Mohammed. Born in 1992 in the 2nd largest slum in Kenya, he set out to achieve his dream in film making and he will not let nothing come in between his goal, to be the best film maker in Kenya.He however knows and insists this cannot be achieved alone.Jeff,reminding us,it is not where we come from but where we are going that matters.Read his trials and tribulations while he embarks on a journey of his life. Story narrated by Jeff Mohammed.
Coming from Mathare slum is a huge challenge, the mentality of the of people who come from Mathare is really negative and often link to insanity due to its proximity to a Mental asylum and being a filmmaker from Mathare slums is even harder. I am what you call a freelance filmmaker from Mathare, I make low and no budget films here in Mathare. I started making films when I was fifteen years old in 2007, back then with only a basic camera donated by American university students.
At first, I did photography of which I held exhibitions in Mathare first and in later years Senegal and the UK, I was confident to start making films but although in the beginning I made really cheesy productions but I quickly learnt how to use a camera and how to compose shots to venture into film loaded with dreams and creativity I officially ventured into the scene with my first documentary film ONE GOAL, ONE HOPE 2010 the story of James Ochieng. He lost his leg to polio and had to move from upcountry to Nairobi due to the stigma that comes with being crippled.
In Nairobi, he lived in Mathare slums which are well known for producing the countrys best footballers and James found a niche for himself in playing football which always leaves the dwellers in utter disbelief when he is playing with his walking stick, but James struggles with life and hopes that one day his head turning talent will be able to provide his needs to him. With this film I got nominated for an award at the 7th Al jazeera film festival and I received the special mention at the Kenya international film festival amongst other awards. As self proclaimed Kenyas youngest filmmaker at 19 yrs am dedicate to raise standards In the film Industry but we all have to work together in order to transform the so called Kenyan film sector into a huge industry where the young like me can find their place and be able to produce top notch quality films.
I have learned to juggle school and my talent because school is a priority for me; my talent is my first love but comes second in my schedule right after school. At the moment I have finished doing a public awareness short film called Poa Rowee 2011 aimed at sensitizing the masses against environmental pollution.
In this film, after people have ,over the years dumped a lot of garbage in the river, the river (Rowee) starts talking to the residents yelling and shouting but its cries are falling onto deaf years until one day a boy heard its cries and decided to take action and put an end to this habit. It was directed and written by myself, edited and shot by Nathaniel Canuel my producer, my teacher and mentor who teaches video and film to youths in an effort to transform their lives using film.
What has really got into my way is lack of equipment because film is one expensive industry but I always solicit equipment from foreigners especially those who research and study the slum for their university thesis in order to do my productions. What inspires me in the slums are things I see on a daily basis are not pleasant and if I could change the situation using my talent, I would gladly do so.Below is the 1st Film Done by Jeff Mohammed when he was just starting his high school education.Watch it below and enjoy