Finally got to watch Nairobi Half Life , the single most sought after flick in Nairobi for the latter half of 2012.
The flick follows the trials of Mwas as he chases his dream in the big city and the tough life lessons he is forced to learn on the fly.
I will not bore you with a synopsis or plot spoiler as this is a flick EVERYONE seriously needs to watch from the young(over 18 though) to the ancient.
Quite frankly I was impressed by the quality of the production, the solid characters, totally believable dialogue/ language and for a good story well told. The film industry has finally come of age in Kenya and if such productions could be fully locally produced (including funding that is) then we are set for bigger things and the real life George Mwangi’s out there would have a fighting chance in their pilgrimage to the green city in the sun.
Now on to my rant.
I wanted to pay for the chance to see this movie. I didn’t. The only avenue however was to walk to the nearest cinema, pay and sit for 2 hrs and walk out feeling nice about myself for supporting local actors/productshizzles.
For starters I do not modify my habits to conform to commercial interests (Unless good music and cheap beer happen to intersect) and thus finding 2 hrs that coincide with the movie schedule at the Westgate mall proved to be a rather complex affair. There are no other options of finding the flick anywhere else unless you are a Nairobi resident. Guess the Nairobi Half life tag extends to availability? The DvD comes out in a month or two. Who has time to wait that long ?
Now this just displays what is wrong with the local film industry and why we are unlikely to get millionaire film stars before vision 2030 is realized. The business model clearly follows the American model. Hype a movie, release to cinemas only, milk the cinema revenue for as long as possible and release the DVD just about when people are getting tired of the hype or when another release is being hyped. This works beautifully in the western world due to their consumption culture and general behaviour to do what they are told.
Africans in general and Kenyans in particular are a peculiar lot. They tend to follow the path of least resistance. This path is not necessarily always legal or for the general benefit of society but it is taken nonetheless. Fighting this is like fighting the sun. Not exactly the brightest idea. In this regard, Pirating a movie is not considered a crime. Just good economic sense. Don’t shoot the messenger. He will live, hunt you down and shoot you.
The Nigerian model is thus more applicable to the local market. Directly compete with the pirates for distribution of your productions or even use them. License select pirates for exclusive access to your merchandise. If you cant beat them join them maybe?
Oh well, I am that much more entertained and the actors,producers,etc are not richer by virtue of me.