Nairobi News


Young filmmaker who is pushing African story forward

At just 25 years, Karanja Ng’endo is among the new crop of directors and filmmakers in the continent who are finding their voice and pushing the African story forward.

Ng’endo confesses that The Gods Must be Crazy is the first film that he vividly remembers watching and perhaps it was the film that shaped his career.


After the success of Misfit, a short film which was only shot at a budget of Sh2000, Ng’endo and his crew won the Silver Dhow award at Zanzibar International Film Festival and the second Cine Promese Award at the Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia.

The latter award came with an opportunity to present the film in a festival in Germany. The film was later accepted in more than a dozen festivals worldwide.

In 2019 he was among the few Kenyans chosen to be part of the inaugural class of the MultiChoice Talent Factory. He ended up co-directing Promises which won at the Prestigious AMVCA awards.

“I also did a short film Naisula which speaks on FGM. It was nominated for the Kalasha International Film Festival in Kenya and has been played in many festivals,” he says.

Towards the end of 2019, Ng’endo participated in a rigorous and competitive process and was eventually selected to attend the famous Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwisburg, Germany Courtesy of Docubox EADF.


The young director spent months in Germany on film residency and last week he was back on location shooting a short film at Nderi, Kiambu county.

He says while in Germany he had a chance to learn from the best.

“I have just been recently accepted to one World Media Fellowship Program based in London which Supports filmmakers from across the world which also comes with a grant to help me produce a documentary titled Defying Ashes, which tells the story of Kyanguli Secondary School fire tragedy,” he said.

The fire incident of March 24, 2001 claimed the lives of 67 students and Nge’ndo says the documentary will follow the lives of the survivors 18 years later.

Nge’ndo says that if he could create a TV show it would tell the stories of ordinary Kenyans; their dreams, aspirations and what makes them tick.

“I would tell the kind of stories that aren’t normally told. There are so many good African stories out there waiting to be told and I believe I’m the person to tell them. We need to start telling stories from our own perspective,” he says.