Two film makers make it into Kenya’s Top 40 under 40 list

Two top Kenyan film-makers made Business Daily’s Top 40 Men 2018 list. It is not easy to make the cut in the list, especially if you work in the arts industry, because the awards receive hundreds of nominations from which the judges have to pick the top 40.

David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga, 37, and 26-year-old Njue Kevin are the two film makers who made it to this roll of honour.

Born in a small town in Nanyuki, Tosh is behind some of the biggest names in the Kenyan film industry.

He studied at the Kenya Institute of Marketing, where he graduated with a Diploma in Marketing.

During his studies he started an internship at his aunt’s production company called Baraka Films. There he was introduced to the world of film and worked on his first feature film Dangerous Affair in 2002 as a production assistant.

David Gitonga - Two film makers make it into Kenya’s Top 40 under 40 list
Film-maker David Gitonga, popularly known as Tosh. PHOTO | COURTESY

BIGGEST BREAK

Tosh continued to work on several other productions as an assistant director for Afrika Mon Amour (2006), The First Grader (2009) among others.

He is best known for his work on the 2012 film Nairobi Half Life and more recently Disconnect. Nairobi Half Life was the first Kenyan film to be nominated for an Oscar.

Rocque Pictures co-founder Njue Kevin is making his name and waves in the Kenyan film industry at just 26. He says his ambition is to end mass unemployment and poverty in Kenya by partnering with international distributors to make quality films, targeted at the youth across the world.

He has directed several short films and won awards for them, but his biggest break came when he decided to do a feature film which also went to be recognised and won awards at the biggest film event in Africa, the AMVCAs, with 18 Hours.

AFRICAN FILMS

The 70-minute motion picture’s cast was led by Nick Ndeda, from the MTV Shuga series, Susan Wanjiru, a 2015 Berlinale Talents alumnus from the film Something Necessary and rising-star Brian Ogola from the award-winning film Kati Kati which was voted the Overall Best Movie at the 6th annual African Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards (AMVCAs), becoming the first Kenyan production to ever do so.

The production team comprised of Best Young African Filmmaker award winner Njue, Women for Africa’s Young Achiever of the Year 2016 Phoebe Ruguru, and Best East African Talent Bill Jones Afwani.

Njue is a vocal proponent for African films. In Kenya especially, there are very few established film-makers and he is always vocal about the support needed from both the government of Kenya and private investors.

“Film-making is a tough nut to crack, in all honesty. Film is a business like any other. Billions are made annually in other regions. Why not Kenya?” he said at an interview with Business Daily.

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