FIGHT FOR JUSTICE – Martin Munyua,
Charles Kimbero (stuntman), Bob Nyanja (director)
and lead actor Colin Simpson
The Rugged Priest, by Kenyan director Bob Nyanja, recently took the coveted
Golden Dhow Award for Best Feature Film at this year’s Zanzibar International
Film Festival (ZIFF).
This is not Nyanja’s first award as his debut feature, Malooned, garnered a
Silver Dhow at the Zanzibar International Film Festival in 2007 and won Best
Feature at the Verona International African Film Festival in 2008.
The message in The Rugged Priest revolves around mustering enough courage
to confront the past to seek justice for victims of political violence. Newcomer
Colin Simpson plays the lead role.
“This film is definitely more daring that Malooned,’ comments Nyanja. “I shot
many more exteriors than before and it’s a far more passionate work.’
The Rugged Priest is shot in English and Swahili with subtitles in Swahili. Nyanja
wrote and directed this story, which was co-produced by Isabel Munyua, Zorro
Lukhwili and Tony Rimwah.
Collaborating companies in the project are Cinematic Solutions and
Dreamcatcher Productions in association with Blue Sky Films and Complete
Scripting for the film started in 2007 and pre-production commenced in June
2010. The shoot began in August and was completed in March this year.
Locations included Nairobi, Naivasha and Nakuru.
Nairobi-born and raised Nyanja is upbeat about the film’s Golden Dhow
accolade. “It’s a vote of confidence for us and means that our work stands out
among many good films from all over the world. That’s a good feeling. However,
I’m not sure how much the win will impact my career.’ Nyanja notes that the
public response to the film since its launch has been very positive. “The film
received wide media attention and during its first screening some senior
government officials walked out. This also helped send a message that it is
possible to do good films here.’
Although the production was difficult to finance, Nyanja solved the problem by
“begging’ and “borrowing’, as well as “emptying’ his company savings account. He
also negotiated with suppliers for easy payment terms.
The Rugged Priest was shot on a Red One at 4K resolution. It was post-
produced on a Final Cut Pro and transferred to 35mm in Mumbai, India.