In what has been a roller-coaster sixteen months, I'm glad to finally be able to say - "Look! I made a film!". Starting on June 30th, 2013 - as part of the NEST Collective, which I am a proud member of - I began working on what turned out to become my first feature film: Stories of Our Lives.
I've done a whole bunch of projects up to now, but nothing has been as emotionally draining, exciting and terrifying at the same time as this project has been. I'm very proud of the result, I'm very proud of all the other nine members of the collective who I regard as my close family, and I'm very grateful to all the cast, partners, friends and supporters who made this film possible.
I made this film because these stories are important to me, because I've always believed that having the power to define your own beliefs, to make work out of things you love doing, and to surround yourself with people you love and who love you back is the greatest privilege ever.
I made this film in protest at the fit-everyone-in-a-box crusades that are so loud, insistent and omnipresent in Kenya and all over Africa - as if we must all believe in one God and all wear uniforms and all have the same opinions.
I made this film in protest at the bullshit that allows someone like President Museveni to attack art students for "having no solutions to the country's challenges" - as if the only careers fit for Africans are in the army, construction and finance. Who will sing our songs if everyone is working in a bank? When did our women's bodies become so ugly that we're now making laws to police the length of mini-skirts? And when did forming angry mobs to evict and kill gay people become a nation-building activity?
Films and music and art and color and song and dance have never been more important in Africa than they are now - when we're trying to define who we are and who we're not, and when everyone's jetting in with money and agendas and opinions about who we should aspire to be.
Stories of our Lives premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, and will screen in Nairobi at the end of this month.