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Team gives insights into the production process

Something Necessary is the third joint venture between Ginger Ink and One Fine Day Film since 2009 when German filmmaker Tom Tykwer decided to follow his partner, M aria Steinmann Tykwer, to Kenya where she was teaching art to Nairobis underprivileged in the citys slums. Tykwer chose to train filmmakers, but not in a classroom setting. Rather, his style would be practical, a learn-by-doing process that involved collaborating with a like-minded Kenyan film companies like Ginger Ink. We had been shooting adverts and servicing international film companies that came to Africa and needed logistical support on the ground, said Ginger Wilson, the co-founder of Ginger Ink Film and Television, who works with her husband Guy Wilson. We had also begun thinking about making our own films, starting with documentaries. And then Tykwer proposed we work together, and we have been doing so ever since, she added. Tykwers plan was to provide practising Kenyan filmmakers with technical expertise and artistic support from his professional friends, who initially didnt mind working pro bono to build One Fine Day Film project. We hadnt initially planned on mentoring Kenyan filmmakers. The idea was just to share skills and help to build a new African cinema in the country, recalled M s Wilson, co-producer of Something Necessary with her husband and Sarika Hemi Lakhani, the One Fine Day Film representative whos been working with Tykwer since the making of Soul Boy, their first collaborative effort with Ginger Ink and with Kenyan scriptwriters, cast and crew. In fact, Ginger Ink initially agreed to only sign on for one filmmaking project, that of Soul Boy, but by the time we had completed filming, we had had so much fun we decided to carry on as a team, M rs Wilson added. The collaborative venture, including Kenyans, Germans, a few Britons and most recently the contribution of Americans from Hollywoods Academy of M otion Picture Arts and Sciences, has evolved serendipitously, observed Hemi Lakhani when we met recently at the Ginger Ink offices near Kawangware in Nairobi. So much of what we have achieved and built in the way of training workshops and film making has evolved out of issues that needed to be addressed with immediacy, she continued. For instance, neither Tykwer nor One Fine Day nor Ginger Ink had anticipated the need to conduct training workshops in various fields of filmmaking, including everything from scriptwriting to directing and producing to cinematography, editing and the like. But that is what has evolved two week workshops that some have called mini-film schools. M rs Wilson prefers to call them M aster Classes, since the company doesnt work with beginners, only with local filmmakers who have had some practical experience and already understand the basics of the business. That way, she says, they can make the most of what the professionals (brought in mainly by Tykwer) bring to each workshop. Explaining how the first workshop came into being, M s Wilson said Tykwer wanted to make a film working with Kenyans, but there were no local scripts. He called British screenwriter Emily Brand to run the first two week scriptwriters workshop in 2009 with some funding from the Goethe Institut. It was a brilliant learning experience, recalled M s Wilson. The trainees were introduced to basic concepts, to create screenplays and actual films that participants watched, critiqued and learned how to analyse rigorously. That workshop led eventually to the production of Soul Boy, which was scripted by four Kenyans (supervised by Billy Kahora) but also regularly reviewed and critiqued by members of the GI/OFDF team who asked for several rewrites before the script for Soul Boy was finally approved. The film was shot in 13 days and then edited and polished by experts both in Germany and Kenya. The finished product became a sort of pilot that Hemi Lakhani used to fundraise for our second film (Nairobi Half Life), said M rs Wilson. The project now boasts of a modest budget of 500,000 euros ($660,000) which comes from various sources, some with strings attached. For instance, the Deutsche Welle Academy would only fund training workshops if there was also a filmmaking component. That is essentially how films like Nairobi Half Life and Something Necessary came into being, which was not such a bad idea after all. In fact, M rs Wilson says the deadlines placed on the funding by donors compelled them to work quickly and decisively. Sometimes the pressure [of deadlines] can help produce better work since people have to perform. Asked about the title of their latest film, M rs Wilson said it came out of a conversation with a crew member who noted that everyone in the film was acting out of what they perceived to be a necessity. It was something necessary for each of them. This defined the title with a sub-heading of Forgive. But dont forget. This for some is the underlying message of the film. The crew is already working on film number four. Back to The East African: Team gives insights into the production process <URL: javascript:history.go(-1)>