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Hustler who reeled into film industry

Working with students from acclaimed communication schools gave WILFRED KIUMI a glimpse into gaps that exist in the market

One of the true measures of an entrepreneur is a person who sees an opportunity and grabs it. Wilfred Kiumi, a film maker with 15 years experience fits this bill – he saw a huge gap in the film industry where those who were coming out of college were full of practical knowledge but could not even hold a camera.

So, he started his own film school that focuses more on giving students hands-on training to prepare them for the competitive job market. His journey as an accomplished film maker and entrepreneur began at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.

A hustler at heart, Kiumi even did women’s hair to get through college and achieve his dreams. “After college I had a brief freelancing stint and then I set up Farsight Productions, an audio-visual and equipment rental firm that covered diverse events.

My experience working with both local and international companies gave me a foothold in the industry,” said the 38-year-old film maker. Some of the organisations he has worked on selected projects include CNN and Supersport.

He was also involved in the shooting of Soul Boy, a local film where he worked with the renowned international German film director Tom Tykwer.

In 2011, after working with a few interns who had impressive resumes, but little practical knowledge, Kiumi decided to set up the Jamhuri Film and Television Academy with only five students.

“It was a decision I had pondered on for a while and I believed in my destiny. Sometimes calculated risks are borne out of passion do pay off. Looking back, I am glad I did it,’’ he reminisces.

Seven years later, a new chapter opened for the hardworking entrepreneur. In 2014, Kiumi teamed up with a new group of co-founders to create the Africa Digital Media Institute (Admi).

After brainstorming with prospective students, parents and the industry, the new ADMI team identified a great need to engage young people in the emerging digital economy.

“We decided to offer unique courses that can have tremendous impact and influence,’’ says Kiumi, now a member of the new board of directors.

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