Celebrared Kenyan Film Producer Mercy Murugi has opened up about the challenges she went through in running her film school which she co- founded in Kibera years ago.
In a long thread of text, Murugi recalled how the managing role in the film school resulted in growth and in fact help her learn how to be considerate.
According to her, the initial strategy and plan was to simply create a platform that will provide a platform for creatives to learn and she hoped that this would be life-changing for them.
However, after starting the school, a number of challenges ensued including the fact that creatives had bills to pay and even though the school offered free lessons, this was not enough.
“The first thing was keeping these 18-25-year-olds in school for 6 months, with classes 6 days a week. Most of them in this age groups are either trying to make it in Nairobi & sending money back home and also take care of their own bills,” she stated
With time, Murugi was forced to restrategize and allocated a stipend for the creatives attending the classes but this move was somehow shortlived after some donors bailed out on her.
Despite these setbacks, the Film school was still able to provide quality training and the students had top celebrities as their mentors. Some of the top personalities who were on board in this project include Mwihaki Njeri [who taught scriptwriting] and Ian Mbugua [who taught acting].
Beyond the hardships, Murugi takes pride in the fact that some of the students have emerged to be among the new generation of celebrated creatives.
The film maker’s statement comes after a heated debate ensued online over the worth of creatives following a competition announced by famous restaurant Artcaffe. According to the details of the competition, creatives who emerged winners would in turn win coffee drinks for 3 months – 12 months range depending on the position.
This competition attracted criticism with a number of creatives suggesting that the winners deserved to be paid and not just gain exposure from their work.
Murugi is among the creatives who sided with the critics and even went further to advise how important it is to be considerate instead of reasoning from a privileged perspective.
Apart from her achievements through the Kibera Film School, she is famed for films like Worse than War; Stranded with Cash Peters; Kibera Kid and Togetherness Supreme which contributed to several international awards.