• The film is about a corrupt leadership that has left a community in Mombasa in the grip of poverty
Award-winning Kenyan filmmaker and CEO of AR Films, Daudi Anguka has described his new feature film 'Mvera' as a perfect replica of what's happening in society.
Mvera is a Swahili word meaning Blessing. The film is about corrupt leadership that has left a community in Mombasa in the grip of poverty.
As a result, a local company owned by a shrewd millionaire, Thabiti, offers young people the opportunity to find work abroad.
Mvera, a self-centered lady who is also on a mission to find her lost mother, and also one of the applicants soon discovers they are all trapped in an organ trafficking ring.
She is forced on a hero's journey as she tries to make it back home to warn the villagers about Thabiti, a man they plan to vote in as Governor for all the "support" he is giving to the community.
In an exclusive interview with Kalondu Musyimi, Anguka said Mvera is an embodiment of a woman in an indigenous community who is loved and regarded as a blessing in her community because of her traits; well-educated, virtuous, and loved.
"It traces its roots strongly from the Mijikenda tribe because we wanted to portray a modern Mekatilili, who was one of the ancient female liberators that played a pivotal role against colonial aggression in Kenya.
That is the main theme that drives this story and choice of the name Mvera because Mvera is seen as a liberator in her local community," he said
The story draws its inspiration from Mekatilili who was a heroine in the coastal community specifically the Mijikenda tribe as well as the synchronization of the plight of Kenyans mostly from the Coast who get lured with job offers to work overseas as expatriates.
"This has always been an area of concern especially with most of these citizens returning dead others with their organs missing and so on hence bringing to light that is more or modern-day human trafficking. It’s a concept I’ve had in mind for like 3 years now and been developing it gradually," added Anguka
So what awareness is the film giving to the audience? He explained;
"This film brings to light the entrenching depth of people being brainwashed into believing that overseas lie the key to success. This has been infallibly allegorized when we recently had a case in Uasin Gishu, Kenya where parents had been lied to that their kids would be taken to Finland for further studies prompting them to sell their assets to pay for their expenses only to dawn on them that it was a scam."
"Similarly, Thabiti in the story embodies a shrewd tycoon who has been in the organ trafficking game for over 2 decades yet is warmly embraced by the community when he masquerades as a man of goodwill. I would also love to show the people that we can instead create opportunities locally and not just rely on foreign jobs to survive. I believe it is possible and it will be done. Another similar case is the Shakahola malady which is not strange to any Kenyan. It is also key to note that brainwashing is not just a case of religious rascality but also prevalent among politicians and businessmen. Thabiti, in our story, brings it out well when he seeks to become Governor after running this dirty business shell. The underlying fact people should know is most of the times there’s always a hidden agenda especially when the deal looks too good."
Anguka said that scriptwriters like Voline Ogutu and Kahindi Yaa alongside other great writers had been working on the story for three years.
He said the process of producing Mvera was not a walk in the park
"I had to literally cater for everything. As the Executive Producer I had to source the finances needed, mobilize the team, be on set 24/7 and much more. The shooting was far from easy; a number of stunts were extremely dangerous with one involving a car crash where we nearly lost our stuntman. On another instance one of the trucks in the set lost brakes in motion carrying the cast which also life threatening."
Amidst all the challenges Anguka is grateful for them team of cast and crew in Mombasa who fully cooperated with him to make it successful "It surely wouldn’t have been possible without them. I also had to double in as the Director to get the output I needed and with their cooperation it wasn’t a daunting task. I also applaud their patience more specifically the main casts who have been in in the journey for 3 years now with the many changes that have happened in the story. I was ready to shoot it 3 years back but put everyone on hold after realizing some things on the script needed to be reviewed to give it a better feel."
Mvera will premiere on 9th September at Nyali Cinemax Mombasa and later nationwide screening tour in major towns and cities across Kenya.
"Cinema Itambe!" he concluded.
Anguka, has previously produced Pete, Nyanya Rukia, Kaidi, Zilizala, Nia and Sanura.