Beatrice Wang’ondu, better known as Bea, is the entrepreneur behind The Bea Company. She is a Creative Producer, Screenwriter and Documentary Director, a woman fascinated by the visual world.
She produced the Safaricom owned and sponsored TV series, Be your Own Boss (BYOB) TV – Season 1 & 2. BYOB was designed to mentor Kenyan youth into successfully running their own ventures. She was the Kenya Production Coordinator on the recently launched Tolo Tolo Feature Film Italy 2020, has worked on 50 1-hour Africa Magic films for MNET, Sense 8 TV series Kenya Chapter and worked on a host of television commercials.
Her Short Film, “The WhistleBlower’ won Best Short Film, Best Cinematography and Best Editing awards at The Kalasha Awards Kenya 2019. She was shortlisted among the top 20 Kenyan screenwriters at Kenya’s first-ever Scriptwriting competition. Some of her independent works include; the documentary films Wariyaha, Rastasophical moods and Death in The Desert.’ You get the drift, she’s all that and a bag of something good.
Having been in this field for more than a decade and won awards for her exemplary work, she’s one woman who knows what she is doing in the film industry and while she aspires for greater heights and works towards reaching a global audience with her gift, she still has great insight to share from her journey this far. This week we speak with this wonder woman – Bea.
If you were to summarize your journey in one word, what would it be?
‘The Whistleblower’, what were you intending to achieve through this wonderful piece of art?
Wangari Maathai once said, “It’s the little things that citizens do that will make a difference.” We all have something that we can use to fight social ills. Mine is film. It is storytelling. Whistleblowing is a dangerous business, not just in Kenya but around the world. Once you shout from the rooftop what is done in darkness at the detriment of citizens, it is equated to signing a death warrant. We hope to raise this awareness in our own small and naive way. Whistleblowing should not be a death sentence.
What challenges did you have to navigate through/past in bringing this film to life?
The budget was tight! For the quality we were working to deliver eeh, let’s just say we had to squeeze everything down to the last coin. That meant aligning our schedule to suit the requirements of the project and maximizing on time on shoot days. That said, we had to supplement our budget in post-production which involved the complex process of editing action sequences, the alignment of special effects to suit the vision of the story and yes, the sound had to be great.
Navigating the world of film in Kenya is not exactly the easiest thing, how did you learn the ropes?
Everything in life is a learning curve. One thing I have always endeavored to do is to grow with every project. I have always given priority to projects that offer me an opportunity to learn something new though that doesn’t mean that I have not taken on projects to simply make money. I am very intentional about my growth journey.
Which was your ‘breakthrough film’?
I’m working on that one, haha. ‘The WhistleBlower ‘ film is a start. We made a Kenyan story that is relatable globally, we told it in the way we experience life in Kenya and audiences across the world have access to it on a digital platform (Vumicentral). That’s a win for me.
Who has been your greatest cheerleader?
My mother. She’s my ninja. This is the one woman who has always cheered me on in the direction of my dreams even when she didn’t understand what thing it is I was chasing.
What holds you together when things seem to be falling apart?
God. There are emotions I’m not able to articulate. I’ve come to understand that I can trust God with whatever I’m going through. I also have a very small circle of friends who’ve got my back too.
Your greatest life lesson this far would be…?
Acquire information that is in line with what you are working towards; aspire to be that student who keeps graduating but never stops learning. Information acquired compliments passion and builds confidence. Then you don’t just get to sit on tables, you own the table baby!
My second lesson would be humility. This is a non-negotiable trait, it’s the seed for true greatness.
What’s the one thing that you would never trade?
My self-worth. I know that I am deserving of every good thing that comes my way, I am deserving of every bit of funding I get for my projects, I am deserving of the projects that are extended to me. I work hard, apply excellence and keep learning. I play my part but I will never sell my soul to fast track my dreams.
And what is your self worth Bea?
I am the child of a King; a daughter of the Most High. My worth is not found in what I do, but in whose I am. That means that my true value is higher than any accolade I get. So I remain true to my identity, knowing that I am working towards a higher purpose than fame and glamour.
How do you unwind?
I love to travel and hang out with my family.
I also enjoy live concerts.
The best book you’ve read to date is…?
The best? Oh, it’s so hard to just pick one. Let me mention my top 4 off the top of my head;
- Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.
- Produced by faith by DeVon Franklin
- The year of yes by Shonda Rhimes
- Blink: the power of thinking without thinking by Malcom Gladwell
Any additional Insight you would like to share?
It’s very important to be your own cheerleader. This can only happen if you know who you truly are.