Nairobi News

ChillaxGeneralMust ReadNewsWhat's Hot

Phil: Production of Sue Na Jonnie left us broke with a debt of Sh3 million

Celebrated filmmaker Philip Karanja says the production of the once popular comedy series Sue Na Jonnie, which aired on Showmax, left him and his partner Abel Mutua broke with a debt of Sh3 million.

Speaking to Showbuzz, Karanja, popularly known as Phil, revealed that Sue Na Jonnie was their first film to be accepted by a broadcaster almost five years after setting up their production company Phil-It.

The former Tahidi High actors had been on the job market since they decided to go it alone with their company rather than continue to rely on being hired by other production houses.

Phil says they had been getting work as individuals – him as a director and his partner as a scriptwriter – but not as a company.

Also read: Exclusive: How much the Real Housewives of Nairobi cast were paid

For four good years, they knocked on every door with ideas they had, but we were turned down.

“So when luck struck and our Sue Na Jonnie concept was picked up by MNet, we came in with the idea that we wanted to change the industry, we wanted to improve the welfare of actors.

We ended up overpaying the cast and crew, and by the time we finished the first season, we were Sh3 million in debt.”

The situation was so bad that “while our cast members were driving cars, we were hoping into matatus.”

Fortunately, due to the show’s high ratings, it was commissioned for further seasons, and it was at this point that Phil and Abel had to review the terms of their cast and crew.

“It was a difficult conversation because the actors questioned why we were reducing their salaries when the show was actually doing well and pushed for an increase instead.”

Phil says their downfall was a lack of business knowledge at the time, as they were only passionate about filmmaking but missed the business aspect of the film.

Also read: How Abel Mutua wedding left him flat broke with no savings