Capturing New Africa

Starting off as a make-up artist on the set of To Walk with Lions,  Lucy Chodota has come a long way from her humble beginnings. She talks film and production in Africa with Olive Gachara

BusinessPeopleAfter spending eight weeks filming on set in Shaba, Samburu County in Kenya,  Lucy Chodota had no doubt in her mind what she wanted to do with her life. It was then that she decided that she was going to become a film producer and get directly involved in selecting storylines, as well as cast and crew, for television shows. She has never looked back. Now the CEO of C-Through Productions, she is enjoying the airing of her first main television series Rush, which airs across the continent on Maisha Magic.

How did C-Through Productions come about?
I have spent years in the media industry and gained a huge amount of experience in different areas of television and documentary. C-Through Productions was formed to work with a creative team of dedicated professionals whose skills can be transferred to other aspiring filmmakers and producers. This is done by providing training in areas of project development as well as production and financial management.

Why Rush for your first TV Show?
I came from very humble beginnings and faced many challenges on my way up through the industry. Being able to profile on international films inspired me to take the responsibility of finding ways to address these issues through series like Rush. Rush relates directly to women and girls, aiming at emancipation and empowerment of women through the voices of progressive women as role models, irrespective of the social class they come from.

What exactly is Rush about?
Rush is an exciting, inspiring television series aimed at empowering a new generation of young African women to live ‘the fabulous life’ in both business and social settings, showcasing and taking them into a cosmopolitan world of opportunities. Being an African woman, growing up in Kenya and returning on regular occasions, I realised that there is a new Africa and a need to tell a story that relates to the women in today’s Africa.

You have lived in the diaspora for a pretty long time. Did you come back specifically to produce this show?
The reality is that home is best, and after being away for such a long time I came back and saw the gap in the market for content building. It is very exciting to be back home at this moment with all the opportunities available. I am also currently the Executive Producer of My Life In Crime (a film based on John Kiriamiti’s best-selling novel) which is currently in its development phase and I hope it will go to film soon.

What are your thoughts on local TV productions thus far?
The industry has grown a great deal over the past five years, with many new players in the market. Additionally, the goal to reach 60% of local viewing content as proposed by the Government has definitely fuelled the industry’s growth.

What are your favourite Kenyan productions?
Lies That Bind, Sumu La Penzi, Higher Learning, Saints and Shuga.

Do you think locally produced films can attract international acclaim?
Yes, of course. There is a great need for versatile storytelling from the new cosmopolitan Africa to the international film and television market.

What keeps you motivated in this embryonic industry?
The passion and the drive to produce beautiful and quality content. My vision to contribute to and improve the quality of shows that are able to tell the African story while maintaining international standards.