"My heartbeat has always been film", Reuben Odanga

19 August 2019
...and I look within knowing that my biggest competition is myself".
<p>reuben odanga, multan productions, selina producer, selina director</p>

Selina, the award-winning Swahili telenovela that airs on Maisha Magic East has become a household name. The show is a journey of love, emotion & drama between the privileged and underprivileged and the man behind the production is Reuben Odanga.

We recently caught up with this multitalented, passionate director, filmmaker and producer and he shared the following with us:

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Please share your background, where you studied/how you came to be where you are (as a producer). 

I come from a very artistic family, I had a colourful primary and high school drama festival experience. I studied communication but my heartbeat has always been film. I have worked my way up the ladder from a production intern to where I am. I don’t look around to compare what my colleagues in the industry are doing, I look within knowing that my biggest competition is myself. With that, I strive to improve with every shot, script, project.

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What was your inspiration for shooting Selina? I noticed the original story was by Vivek Bahl..how did the collaboration come to be?

It’s a good story, good set up and plot. It a simple story for the masses and I knew if its executed well it will be a hit. The original story is by Vivek because Maisha Magic East had this great idea of doing a telenovela by writers in India. Why Indians, because they are experienced and have a richer history doing this telenovela genre.

What did you enjoy most about shooting Selina?

Working with the very talented cast and crew, a group of people who are willing to give their all for the show is the biggest blessing that has happened to me in reference to this show

What was the most favourite scene that you enjoyed shooting?

They are several scenes that I enjoyed shooting but most memorable ones Biko (a character in the show) falling off a cliff and Nelson song Music video we did for the show.

What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

The challenges are many and for some reason, I find that this project has unique challenges every day by the simple fact that we are doing and adaptation of a script that is being written as we shoot. Adaptation has been the biggest challenge I could say because our culture and the culture of the Indian are very different. It becomes problematic adapting some moments because then the story is lost.

Talk to us about the cast.

We have a very big cast by East African standards but also a very talented lot. The process was very vigorous, and we went for open auditions. So, I can confidently say every member of the team was selected on merit. The cast works very hard and are consistent, we have also created an environment where we have fun while at it.

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What can the audience expect in the next few months?  

We are committed to keeping them entertained and growing the standard of TV telenovela in Kenya. The story gets interesting with every episode that is coming.

What is the filming process like? From location to logistics.

It’s tough, it's tight, a lot of hard work goes in. Because we are shooting very close to broadcast dates, it’s expensive but I guess the  beauty of it all that we make it happen despite the challenges


Catch Selina every Monday to Friday at 8:30 pm on DStv 158 and GOtv 4.