Monday, 22 July 2013
Nairobi Half Life Editor’s Inspiring Resilience - By: Polly Kamukama
Principally known for editing Kenya’s archetype film, Nairobi Half Life (2012, directed by David 'Tosh' Gitonga), Mkaiwawi Mwakaba a.k.a Mkay is creating a wave in East African cinema with her magic touch on the editing suit, even mentoring a number of aspiring female filmmakers in Kenya.
Mkay has not only beaten men at their game but has gone on to establish herself as one of the fastest-raising and most sought-after film editors across the East African region, yet she says it’s only the start.
“Editing is my heart and soul and I want to take it all the way up. I want to be the best at what I do,” she says with rare passion befitting of a revolutionary politician. She says she wants to create change in the male-dominated technical side of filmmaking.
This young and dedicated editor, who won’t mention her age, first cut her editing teeth in 2005 by working as an intern with Mediae, an established video production company in Nairobi that mainly does documentaries and TV work.
She had previously made a living working as a photographer, TV reporter, videographer and office assistant at several organizations. When she joined Mediae, it wasn’t long before her bosses started entrusting her with big projects. One such project was Makutano Junction, a popular TV drama series that airs across East Africa. “Makutano was a great experience for me because it allowed me to sharpen my creativity and basic understanding of editing. I was working with a great team.” She said of the gig she later quit to chase her childhood dream of becoming a filmmaker. “I started looking up to movies as the ultimate challenge for me. I felt I was ready to try out something new and different,” Mkay says.
With her editing credentials already impeccable and the filmmaking bug beginning to bite, Mkay pulled the plug on Mediae to join the famed One Day Film workshop, a Nairobi-based periodical film boot camp that attracts talents from across the region. She then landed the Nairobi Half Life job after having been selected ahead of other trainees in the editing programme.
Now, Nairobi Half Life's international success has spurred her to bigger targets. She wants to branch out into script writing and directing.
“I am working on a short film which I hope will be ready by end of this year,” she told us after a session at the ongoing 34th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) where she is attending the Talent Campus.