Njue Kevin

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Njue Kevin
Njue kevin.jpg
Kelvin Njue Koru

(1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 27)
ResidenceNairobi, Kenya.
Alma materKenyatta University
Years active2013—present
Notable work
AwardsYoung African Filmmakers Award (YAFMA) - Afrika film festival 2016, Leuven. Jury Award - 2015 Slum Film Festival.

Njué Kevin (born 19 February 1992)[1] is a Kenyan film director, producer and screenwriter. He is best known for writing and directing the film 18 Hours[2] which won the Best Overall Movie in Africa, AMVCA 2018.[3] This category had never seen a Kenyan film be nominated, and so marked history as the first Kenyan film to be nominated and win in the history of the awards.[4]

Early life[edit]

Njue was born in Nyeri, central Kenya. At the age of 8, Njue was actively involved in drawing and thought he would become an artist. This changed abruptly when a mobile cinema visited his estate and his love for cinema grew from then. During the time, popular films included stars like Jackie Chan and Jet Li and were mostly action packed films. For elementary school, Njue studied a St. Claret, an independent school in Mombasa where he wrote his first stage play for the school. The play went on to participate at the National Drama and Film Festivals; however, it did not win the competition.

At the age of 12, Njue had exposure to other genres of films and he cites the film Leon The professional as being the first film that sealed his love for cinema.


After joining college at Kenyatta University, Njue met childhood friend Bill Jones Afwani and the two have since then collaborated in all their projects. In his college life, Njue has directed two short films and produced two other shorts, all of which have won awards in international festivals outside Kenya.


The first was titled Sticking Ribbons (2013), which Njue wrote from his Kenyatta University dormitory. He produced the film while his friend Bill directed it. The film starred Maureen Koech, a popular Kenyan actress known for winning the award for Best Supporting Actress in the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards in 2013. The film was a success, as it went on to win the SIGNIS award for best East African talent[5]

at the 2014 Zanzibar International Film Festival. Sticking Ribbons is a story about Kimberley, a former sex addict, who addresses a group of recovering addicts as to why after being released from rehab, she enrolls right back.

From left, Bill Afwani, Njue Kevin, Brian Achar & Maureen Koech while receiving the prize at Zanzibar International film festival.


Impressed by the previous short, Phoebe Ruguru, a Kenyan filmmaker based in London, contacted Njue on Facebook and they teamed up to make the second short film titled Saidia/Help, which was penned by Njue.

Ruguru directed the film, which was shot entirely on an IPhone 4S and edited on the same day, as the filmmakers were in a rush to beat a festival deadline. The film was shot at Kenyatta University grounds and Njue's dormitory. It went on to win the 2014 Best Young Director award at the Unchosen modern day slavery short film festival in London.

Saidia is a story about Jurgis, an African man sold into slavery on a Lithuanian farm. He first has to learn the culture and language before he can find his way back home.


In 2015, after acquiring the rights to the article "You Lazy Intellectual African Scum" by Field Ruwe, Njue wrote and directed the film Intellectual Scum, released the same year. This was the film that sealed Njue's place as one of the brightest young minds in Kenyan film when it went ahead to screen on three continents, Africa, Europe and North America, at 10 different international film festivals.[6] Some of the festivals included Zanzibar International Film Festival, Africa International Film Festival, Cork African Film Festival, Silicon Valley African Film Festival and Film Africa in London.

Critics across the East African region praised Intellectual Scum as being the most successful short film in the history of Kenyan cinema. Intellectual scum is a film worth watching, as it creates a sense of belief that our solutions will come from this African continent.[7]


At the beginning of the year, Njue was featured among the Hubrif Watchlist Young African Talents of 2017.[8] He went ahead to write and direct his first feature film 18 Hours which premiered[9] to a sold out crowd on 10 November.


Njue has cited Woody Allen, Christopher Nolan, Luc Besson, the Coen brothers, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Biyi Bandele and Abderrahmane Sissako as influences. Njue's personal favorite films include Léon: The Professional, Chinatown, The Tree of Life, Inception, Children of Men, and Fargo.

Views on the film industry in Kenya[edit]

Njue is a vocal proponent for African films. In Kenya especially, they are very few established filmmakers and Njue is always vocal about the support from both the government of Kenya and private investors. Filmmaking is a tough nut to crack, in all honesty.[10] "Film is a business like any other. Billions are made annually in other regions. Why not Kenya?" he said at an interview with the magazine Business Daily.

Njue is also an advocate for the importance of films being shown in large screened cinema theaters as opposed to home video formats as he believes a film should be seen the way the filmmaker intended it to be seen. Hoping to help the local film business and restore movie-going culture, he is among the filmmakers rallying to end the foreign distribution of illegally copied films.

Personal life[edit]

Njue likes to keep his personal life private. In an interview done in April, 2015 for NTV Kenya when asked about whether he is seeing someone he said, "I am not blind. I see everyone." While filming, Njue prohibits the use of cell phones on set.

Njue is a practicing catholic and when he was asked about his view on the LGTB community in Kenya, he responded, "Who am I to judge? Who are you to judge?". It is believed Njue will release a film sometime in 2016 that tackles the topic after completion of filming in December 2015.


Year Film Role Notes
2013 Sticking Ribbons Writer and Producer Won the best East African talent at the 2014 Zanzibar international film festival.
2014 Saidia/Help Writer and Producer Won best young director award at the 2014 modern day slavery short film competition in London.
2015 Intellectual Scum Writer and Director Official Selection at the following festivals:
  1. Silicon Valley African film festival 2015, CA, USA.
  2. Film Africa 2015, United Kingdom.
  3. Africa international film festival, 2015. Nigeria.
  4. Africa Film Festival "Out of Europe" in Cologne/Germany.
  5. Cork Africa Film festival 2015, Ireland.
  6. Afrika Film festival 2016, Belgium.
  7. Luxor African film festival 2016, Egypt.
  8. Cameroon International Film Festival, 2016.
  9. Out of Africa Film festival 2015, Kenya.
  10. The Zanzibar International Film Festival 2015.
  11. Slum Film festival, 2015. Kenya *Winner
  12. Golden Diana awards, 2015. Austria
  13. Kalasha International, Kenya.
2015 Plastic Maasai Writer and Director Completed. Distributed by Showmax Kenya.
2017 18 Hours Writer and Director Opened in cinemas across East Africa on 10 November 2017[11] and screened for 6 weeks after a sold out premiere.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Njue Kevin – film.iafricafestival.com". film.iafricafestival.com. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  2. ^ "A Kenyan Film Director Phoebe Ruguru from Peterborough, UK wins an Award in Nigeria | Samrack Media". www.samrack.com. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  3. ^ "Double win as Phoebe Ruguru scoopes the Best Overall Movie award". www.mediamaxnetwork.co.ke. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  4. ^ "A Kenyan Film Director Phoebe Ruguru from Peterborough, UK wins an Award in Nigeria | Samrack Media". www.samrack.com. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  5. ^ "Film by Kenyan students wins international award - VIDEO". Daily Nation. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  6. ^ "The Controversial 'Intellectual Scum' Movie Private Screening - Glitz, Glamour and Inspiration!". VarCity. 2015-04-09. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  7. ^ "Intellectual Scum - A movie review - Potentash". Potentash. 2015-04-04. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  8. ^ "(Hot News) TOP 10 African Young Filmmakers You Have To Watch Out For In 2017". Andy Osei. 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  9. ^ "18 Hours, movie on city ambulance patient, premieres - Nairobi News". Nairobi News. 2017-11-11. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  10. ^ "Students turn film-making passion into success". Business Daily. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  11. ^ "18 Hours Premiere at Prestige Plaza- Fab or Drab – KenyaBuzz LifeStyle". www.kenyabuzz.com. Retrieved 2018-02-01.