1. Do producers matter?
Producers matter. Everyone who works in the film value chain matters as filmmaking is not a solo sport and producers coordinate teams to achieve shared creative and financial goals.
2. There are so many misconceptions about what film producers really do especially in our region. What are some of those assumptions and what do producers really do?
A lot of the misconceptions in Kenya are around the fact that producers just manage teams and money. A producer working within the independent film and TV industry needs to know how to do the former, but also have a strong sense for story and spotting creative talent. A good producer knows the roles of different departments within the film team, how to structure winning teams and how to coordinate the teams to ensure they achieve the director's artistic vision and fundraise so that everyone on the team can get paid for their work.
3. What do you enjoy most about being a film producer?
I love working with talented, hardworking, collaborative film team members to achieve creative and financial goals far larger than either of us could have achieved alone.
4. What would you say to people who aspire to get into film production?
I would say study the craft - through formal education, free masterclasses on platforms like Sundance Collab, through networking, joining film associations and watching documentaries, TV Shows, or movies voraciously until you figure out your own voice and the form in which you would like to tell stories. Embrace the fact that this is an industry and profession where glamor comes second - it's about hard work, grinding away when it is only your small film team that believes in the vision, and a profession and industry where you will be constantly learning.
Toni Kamau is a writer/producer and founder of the women led We are not the machine, which tells stories of outsiders, rebels and changemakers. She was a producer on the PGA, Peabody and Emmy nominated documentary, "Softie", directed/produced by Sam Soko and produced by LBx Africa in association with We are not the machine and Eyesteelfilm.