Mulure Mike is an award-winning Kenyan social entrepreneur, film-maker and musician. Born in the rural town of Siaya in 1986, and raised in Kericho, he moved at a young age to Nairobi. He ended up in the city’s notorious slum, Kibera, the largest in Africa. But it was, in his words, “a blessing in disguise.” There he met someone who owned video equipment and who offered to teach him how to use it.
Ten years on, Mulure has his own film production company, Blackboy Entertainment, from which he has developed a social impact venture, Blackboy Media Lab, to train young Kenyans in film and TV production and storytelling and to “create an ecosystem of mentorship and self- growth through visual media.”
What was life in Kibera like for you?
In spite of living on a bare minimum for seven years – having only one meal a day was normal – I can’t say it was hard because it was the only life I knew. I worked relentlessly to chase my dreams. It was the only way for me to avoid dying poor.
I wanted to become a journalist. I believed that one day the world would have a chance to hear my stories if I learned how to write and film them. I met people with incredible stories of their own that I wanted to share. This is what kept me going despite the difficulties I faced. I dreamed of telling stories that would bring about change.
You produced a feature-length dramatised documentary, last year. Tell me about it.
The Highway of Hope is about the strength and resilience of a community fighting for better lives, better opportunities, especially for its youth. It’s set in Kibera and focusses on people who have grown up in this vast slum, who have fought to achieve a measure of success and who have come back to make slum life better for others.
Isn’t Blackboy Media Lab your effort to give back, in some way?
It offers 15-week audio-visual production training and mentorship program that focuses on the practical application of both technical and editorial media production skills. It readies self-motivated local youth for the media job market. We also provide intensive coaching in business development for those that want to start their own companies.
What about your own future as a film-maker?
I’m a storyteller with a desire to create films that will inspire change. I always want to tell a story that is, somehow, a call to action.
My dream is to work in Hollywood. I’d also like to connect with Bollywood. It’s the world’s largest film industry in terms of production and as India also has the fastest growing tech’ industry, I’m interested to see how this influences its film production and distribution.
What’s the Kenyan film industry like? How does it compare with Nigeria’s, which was, still is, infamous for being slightly mad and guerilla-like?
There’s been a steady growth in terms of the number of productions per year and the revenue generated so the future looks brighter. Digital migration had also opened up the market and there’s an increasing demand for content.
It is difficult to compare our industry with the Nigerian film industry, although both have their fair share of challenges. Some Kenyan media outlets have benefited from the crazy Nigerian productions because they offer cheap content but it has helped by challenging Kenyan producers to become competitive.