• He cited racism, which he says has left him in poverty, even having directed Supa Modo.
• He came back to the country after winning the award, only to find his house locked due to rent arrears.
Despite directing an internationally recognised film, Likarion Wainaina says he sank into depression due to frustrations in the industry.
He cited racism, which he says has left him in poverty, even having directed Supa Modo, which was also selected as the Kenyan entry for Best Foreign Language. I was although it was not nominated.
In a series of tweets under the hashtags #KECreativesDeserveBetter, Wainaina recounts being paid Sh1,500 daily for the production period of the movie and having travelled to Europe with only Sh3,000 in his pocket.
He came back to the country after winning the award, only to find his house locked due to rent arrears.
“I came home to find my house locked by my landlord and I just sat there, on my suitcase, holding that award outside my door for hours trying to muster the courage to get up and push on. This film was going to kill me. I couldn’t do it anymore,” he tweeted.
Wainaina added that having feel into depression, he contemplated harming himself since he was living the worst he could expect.
He urged young producers and people venturing into the film industry to be vigilant before signing contacts since they affect a huge part of their careers.
“This wasn’t the life I wanted. My friends, noticing this, staged an intervention fearing that I would do something to myself. As the success of the film became bigger the emptiness in my heart also got bigger," he said.
"I poured my entire heart out while making Supa Modo, being reminded daily that this was a ‘student film’ and that I was a ‘student’ there to learn but that was something I said no to."
He says Supa Modo film has profited foreigners more than the people who worked hard in Kenya to get it to where it is.
The message caught the attention of the Kenya Film Commission, which reached out and assured the creatives that the mandate to protect and integrate the values of all talents in the film industry remains true.