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How Kenyan movie improved country’s image

Jinna Mutune at first strikes you as an artist. A simple and beautiful lady met me right on time and it fit right in with the description of herself as a time keeper, passionate about Africa, fun, go getter and hard worker.

In order to understand her love for film and Africa combined we took a walk down memory lane to when she was living in California.

Having just graduated from university, she was looking for an internship in Hollywood. She tells me that at the time she interacted with film makers and did not like the perception most of them had of Africa.

She felt she wanted to the change the way in which the internal and external media branded Kenya. She took that experience as a wake up call to do something about Africa and thus set out on her journey back home.

Kill stereotypes

“I wanted to capture Africa and specifically Kenya’s beauty, diverse resources and culture. I wanted to tell a story that would kill the stereotypes that came with Africa,” she said.

That was an ambition that would make her one of the heroes in the field of film in Kenya because that is what her movie Leo has set out to do.

The movie has had good reviews worldwide and has achieved what it set out to do;  give people another view of Africa.

“I am very proud of the movie. It tells a Kenyan story for a global audience and that was my dream for it.”

Jinna tells me that film directing is her biggest passion. She wishes to be a brand name as a successful film maker and eventually wants to venture into animated films.

If she had not ventured into film, Jinna believes she would have been a teacher or archeologist.

“I love history and teaching and  I feel l ike  I am doing these two in other ways. I teach others through film and I travel to different parts of the world and experience their history and culture, so that is archaeology right there.”

Home is best

Widely travelled as she is, she loves Nairobi because it is what she calls a melting pot of cultures.

The fascination of having different cultures and foods in one place is what she loves more than anything. She also confesses to being addicted to the Maasai market: “I often feel like everything at that market is something I need,” she joked.

Her biggest achievement so far is being able to finish the movie which she worked tirelessly on for four years.

She lets me in on her secrets of success; hard work on one hand and God and prayers on the other.

Her advice to upcoming film makers is to be patient. “Genius is patience.” She also asks them to think outside the box and not to give up.

“Funding should be not be anyone’s biggest worry because money follows great ideas.” Jinna is working on the script of her next movie which she says will be bigger and better than Leo.