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.
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:
- 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.
- Provocative 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.
- 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.
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).
- 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.