TAKE 5! with Omar Kibulanga

Omar Kibulanga is an award-winning filmmaker whose cinematic journey is deeply rooted in a profound love for Swahili culture and a fervent desire to amplify its stories on the global stage. Hailing from the famous historical coastal regions of Lamu and Mombasa, Kenya, Omar’s storytelling prowess is infused with the rich amalgamation of Swahili traditions, values and social dynamics. With a keen eye for detail and an unwavering commitment to authenticity, Omar has

garnered acclaim for his poignant documentaries that traverse the intricate

landscapes of Swahili heritage and contemporary society.

Q: What do you like most about your job as a producer / director

A: As a film producer and director, what I love most about my job is the opportunity to delve deep into the heart of Swahili culture and bring its stories to life on the silver screen. There’s something truly magical about capturing the essence of our traditions, values and social dynamics through the lens of cinema. Every project allows me to explore new facets of our heritage, uncover hidden narratives and share them with audiences around the world.

Q: What do you consider your artistic process when it comes to making a film?

A: For me, the artistic process of making a film is a deeply personal and immersive journey that begins long before the cameras start rolling. It starts with a spark of inspiration—an idea or theme that resonates with me on a profound level. From there, I immerse myself in research, diving deep into the subject matter to gain a comprehensive understanding of the story I want to tell.

Once I have a clear vision, I begin the process of crafting the screenplay, weaving together characters, dialogue and plot points to create a compelling narrative arc. This phase is both exhilarating and challenging, as I strive to strike a balance between creativity and practicality, ensuring that the story remains true to my vision while also being feasible within the constraints of production.

As the script takes shape, I collaborate closely with my team—crew and cast—to bring the story to life. Each member of the team plays a crucial role in shaping the film, contributing their unique talents and perspectives to the creative process.

Throughout production, I maintain a strong focus on visual storytelling, using composition, lighting and camera movement to evoke emotion and enhance the narrative. Every shot is carefully crafted to serve the story and to draw the audience into the world of the film.

In post-production, I work tirelessly to refine the film, fine-tuning every detail from sound design to editing to ensure that the final product reflects my artistic vision. It’s a labor of love, requiring patience, precision and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

Ultimately, my artistic process is driven by a deep passion for storytelling and a desire to create cinema that resonates with audiences on an emotional level. It’s a journey of discovery, exploration and self-expression—an ongoing quest to capture the beauty, complexity and humanity of the world around us through the transformative power of film.

Q: Why did you start making films?

A: I started making films out of a deep-seated passion for storytelling and a desire to shine a spotlight on the rich cultural heritage and social issues of the Swahili coast. Growing up in Mombasa and Lamu, Kenya, I was surrounded by vibrant traditions, captivating stories and pressing social issues that I felt compelled to share with the world.

Witnessing the power of film to educate, inspire and effect change, I recognized its potential as a tool for social impact and cultural preservation. I saw filmmaking as a way to amplify the voices of my community, shed light on important issues and celebrate the beauty and diversity of Swahili culture.

Driven by this passion and sense of purpose, I embarked on my filmmaking journey, determined to use my skills and talents to make a positive difference in the world. With each project, I strive to create cinema that not only entertains but also enlightens, enriches and empowers audiences, sparking meaningful conversations and driving positive change.

Q:What are you currently watching?

A: Captains of the World.

Q: Any advice to those starting out in the film industry?

A: Follow your passion. Pursue subjects and stories that truly resonate with you. Your passion and enthusiasm will shine through in your work and captivate audiences.

Learn continuously. The film industry is constantly evolving, so never stop learning. Take advantage of masterclasses, workshops and mentorship opportunities to hone your skills and stay updated on industry trends.

Be adaptable. Filmmaking often requires thinking on your feet and adapting to unforeseen challenges. Embrace flexibility and creativity in problem-solving to overcome obstacles and achieve your vision.

Build your network. Collaborate with fellow filmmakers, industry professionals and potential mentors. Networking can open doors to new opportunities, partnerships and insights that can propel your career forward.

Stay resilient. The path to success in the film industry can be challenging and unpredictable. Stay resilient in the face of setbacks, rejection and criticism. Use each experience as a learning opportunity and keep pushing forward towards your goals.

Remember, filmmaking is not just a career—it’s a calling. Stay true to your vision, persevere through adversity and never lose sight of the impact your stories can have on the world!