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PRESENTING: The Old Order of Things, a 48 Hour Film Project

In late 2014, we had the pleasure of facilitating the logistics and sponsoring the Nairobi 48 Hour Film Project for the second year. As part of our learning, we decided to take the challenge of making a non-competing 48 Hour Film Project of our own just to get a better sense of what the participants would be going through. City Producer Carol C.K. Kioko was incredibly game for the idea (thanks again, CK!), and designed a challenge for us. The Old Order of Things is the result of that challenge, starring Wanjiku Karanja, Maina Olwenya, Tim Mutungi and Fardun Abdallah.

In an arid land where violent death is often swift and certain, a girl tries to hide an infinitely important package. Two ruthless assassins hired to find and retrieve the package catch up with her.

Genre: Western
Character – Josiah or Amina, a watchman
Line of Dialogue – “You mean it is you?” or “Kumbe ni wewe?”, in Swahili
Prop – A walking stick


DAY 01

7pm: We received the three elements that are given to filmmakers making a 48 Hour Project film: a character we must use, a line of dialogue to include and a prop. Our elements turned out to be:

Character – Josiah or Amina, a watchman
Line – “You mean it is you?” or “Kumbe ni wewe”, in Swahili
Prop – A walking stick

We then picked out a genre randomly from a bag: Musical/Western (shock!), and we decided to go with Western.

9pm: Everyone went off to think about story ideas, then we regrouped to pick one idea and figure out a rough story outline (ten people! one script!), then everyone went to bed.

Wanjiku Karanja on set.

Wanjiku Karanja on set.

DAY 02

10am: We regrouped at the NEST with a rough draft of the story chosen the night before, argued about different elements (this character doesn’t make sense! Yes, he does! I hate the ending! etc), then finally agreed on the final storyline. Wangechi - who was on standby with actors and locations all this time - got the green light to go ahead. Sunny - also on standby for costumes and props - also got the green light.

12pm: Shooting script completed. Our very gracious actors arrived at the NEST for a quick read-through and briefing. Sunny returned with costume and props (wow! He found a walking stick with a sword! NICE!). The actors got dressed, equipment was put together...

1:30pm: ...and off we went to the location, a quarry about 2km away from Nairobi (traffic!). One of our cars had a minor accident at a roundabout on the way there (much wringing of hands while the traffic policeman SLOWLY sorted us out), and we finally all arrived on set (SO HOT!).

3pm: We began shooting under the command of First AD George who kept shouting at us about the rapidly-descending sun.

Maina Olwenya and Tim Mutungi on set.

Maina Olwenya and Tim Mutungi on set.

6:27pm: It’s a wrap! Exhausted, we clamber back into the vans and drive back to Nairobi.

10pm: Dan graded the footage, and Jim assembled a quick first-pass edit.

DAY 03

10am: Regroup at the NEST. Jim incorporated the graded footage for a second-edit. Wangechi fought through a truckload of post-production paperwork, and tried to find a Kikuyu Bible from which we wanted the end voiceover to be read.. Edit, edit, edit, with an eye on the 7pm deadline.

12pm: Wangechi found the Bible (someone took photos of the pages we needed and emailed them to her), and Wanjiku (who plays The Girl) came back in to record the voice-over.

7pm: Final render completes just 5 minutes to the 7pm deadline. We haven’t subtitled it! There’s no time! Everyone was screaming and whooping as we ran to give our copies of the film and paperwork. City producer CK said it was on time.


We learned SO MUCH! Overall, we had to sacrifice several little things here and there to get the film in on time. For instance, the film’s dialogue is Sheng’ and Kikuyu, and we didn’t have enough time to subtitle the film the way we would have liked. The film we present here is thus LATE, because we edited it to insert the subtitles. Overall, this challenge gave us lots of insight into what it takes to make a 48 Hour Film Project. And we were so impressed by the 19 teams that entered the competition this year, so we were there cheering loudly for everyone during drop-off!