Alexandros Konstantaras On How To achieve Cinema Success in Kenya

Cinema release of Kenyan films should be the norm, for now it it still an exception. However, the mirage is slowly but surely turning into a reality going by the the pace set in the last two years. The latest film to be released theatrically in Kenya was the highly anticipated  House of Lungula by Alexandros Konstantaras late last year. It has gone ahead to do screen runs in Nairobi and Mombasa with plans underway to take it to other parts of the country.

Film Director Alexandros Konstantaras adressing filmmakers at the 73rd Lola Kenya Sreen Film Forum
Film Director Alexandros Konstantaras adressing filmmakers at the 73rd Lola Kenya Sreen Film Forum

Judging by the talk the film had created before it premiered, it was safe to conclude that it was going to fetch a tidy sum at the box office and all indications so far show that it is on course to making a profit, no mean feat in Kenya. So how the team at House of Lungula nail it?

Film director Alexandros shared some nuggets of wisdom on this for all Kenyan filmmakers looking to venture into cinema at the recent 73rd Lola Kenya Screen Film Forum held at the Goethe Institute. Speaking to players in the film industry, Konstantaras had these pointers:

  1. Use Popular FacesYou need to use cast that already command a huge following in the country as these are likely to translate to good numbers at the box office. House of Lungula employed a stellar cast that included Ian Mbugua, Liz Njaga and Sarah Hassan.
  2. Provocative Poster
    The House of Lungula poster.
    The House of Lungula poster.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Create an appealing poster for your film. A poster that incisively gives a glimpse into what your film is about and at the same time make create anticipation.

  3. Catchy Title                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Give your  potential audience something that will stir their imagination. This builds anticipation and you can bet they’ll talk about it          to their friends.
  4. Format
    Rookies might easily overlook this but it actually presented a few problems for Konstantaras. Find out from the local cinemas which format they play their films before you go shooting. This is because some cinemas show in 24fps while others do 25fps. Moreover, while some cinemas might screen from DVDs, some only take the digital cinema pack (DCP).
  5. Timing                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Execute your premiere during  hollywood low season or else your film will be screened in the unfavourable hours of 9am to 5am when people are at work. Konstantaras also emphasized on making a big deal of the premiere. Have the actors there, media, the red carpet; the whole nine yards. People also don’t mind paying more during the premiere.

Kenyan filmmakers with cinema ambitions would do well to arm themselves with these vital tips that Konstantaras ,undoubtedly, learnt the hard way.


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