The future has never been this bright for the film industry in Kenya. Likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Eddy Gathegi, Benjamin Onyango and Owiso Odera have all paved the way for local actors. They have shown young aspiring actors that it’s possible to find success in the biggest arena of film acting, Hollywood. This is despite of where you come from.
The development of this industry has received a major boost after the success of Rafiki, a locally scripted and produced film. Kenyan youth also haven’t been left behind. The likes of Maxwell Simba of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Tyler Mbaya and Bryan Kabugi of Machachari creating a path for the future actors in Africa. We took a look at Bryan Kabugi and explored his journey to being the main cast for Dream Child, one of the most popular locally produced films yet to be released this year.
Bryan, a Cardinal Otunga High School alumni, had very humble beginnings in the world of acting. His journey started in high school as a member of the drama club. He wasn’t quite lucky to participate in the national drama festivals since his school wasn’t part of the competitions but his passion for the art still compelled him to feature in a few plays that they did for the Italian federation. He fell in love with the art as early as form one and his thirst for success in doing what he loves the most hasn’t been quenched ever since.
Buggi, as many refer to him, made his debut on our screens in the popular teen sensation TV show, ‘Machachari’. His debut was quite a surprise even for him since he hadn’t been on TV before. He narrates it as one of the biggest moments of his life.
“It is one of the funniest stories actually. I wasn’t expecting to appear on the show at all. I usually liked going to visit my cousin Dennis Kamau who happened to live near the set of Machachari. So one day, I walked up to the gate and said I wanted to act. Nobody took me seriously, but I would go back every day and get my hand on anything I could do. After a while, they noticed me and gave me a chance to audition for extra roles in the set. However, I kept on nagging the producer to give me a chance for a major role. Finally, she gave me a shot. It was amazing seeing myself on TV and that is what laid a foundation for my career as an actor.”
The next huge step came when he got called up for a big project with Mnet. He auditioned for a role in Mnet’s Blood Brothers film and passed. It was a major step for him. He got to work with one of the biggest brands in the continent’s film industry. And it was his first major deal.
This project opened up opportunities for the young Buggi, including what he says has been his best project Kenyan cinemas. It’s a simple yet thought-provoking film that is authentically made in Kenya. The film features Bryan Kabugi as Kevin, the main character of the film. It also features veteran stars like Eddie Kimani, Makutano Junction’s Irene Ayimba, Hollywood actress Ebby Weyime and our household sensation Ruth Apondi famously known for her role in Inspekta Mwala. Dream Child is a film set to enlighten some of the challenges that the youth have to face on a daily basis and the expectations put upon them by society. It comes at a perfect time when scandals like #ifikiewazazi are still fresh in our minds.
It’s an interesting life journey, all envisioned from the lens of a teenage boy. It gives us an account of the life of Kevin, who makes the effort to counter and overcome the ridiculous
demands of society. It depicts a community full of a varied array of moral expectations and demands and this provokes a struggle to survive and meet those expectations. This struggle leaves Kevin at odds with his own sense of morality and life choices. He also gets to learn about a troubling secret that might prove dangerous to his future and also threatens to tear his family apart.
Buggi the ever talented star will not stop his guest for success. Greater things still await him in the future. With an ever-growing film industry in the country and the continent as a whole, the opportunities are extensive. “Every night I dream that one day I will win the Oscars and be part of my country’s national treasures. I would also want to use my talent to inspire more youth to do great things and to uplift each other. And lastly, in this industry, patience is very important, failing once or twice doesn’t mean it’s the end.” Buggi would also like to express how passionate he is about speaking against gender-based violence and the need for young men to respect women.
Sure enough, the film industry is headed for greatness with such young, passionate and talented individuals like Buggi being at the forefront of making that a reality.