Peter Ogallo: I am an all round filmmaker

Eight years down the line, he has built himself a name as an established film director and content developer in the Kenyan film industry.

Peter Ogallo is a young but a seasoned filmmaker in Kenya
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When Peter Ogallo quit his finance job in one of the flower farms in Naivasha, all he knew was that he wanted to venture in filmmaking.

Eight years down the line, he has built himself a name as an established film director and content developer in the Kenyan film industry. He is currently working with PK Group Inc, a creative agency specializing in media,production and marketing services.

Ogallo started out as an actor in his early years in primary school and got even better when he joined Friends’ School Kamusinga for his secondary education. He went on to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Nairobi in 2017.

“I used to perform as an actor while working. However, I quit my job few months later when I realised that my calling was in film. I went back to study Cinematography and Film Production at the Kenya Institute of Development Studies and I have never looked back,” he narrates.

After acting for some time he decided to get into film directing.

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“I love acting a lot but what pushed me to directing was the fact that I wanted to bring the best out of the character. I had that burning desire to help actors bring out the story in a captivating way.”

His most recent production is an epic documentary film on the effects of climate change.

The film, Doomsday Beckons Change, is a one-man show by Peter Kamau, popularly known for his role as Mwamba in Citizen TV’s Mother In-law drama series.

It brings out the harsh realities of a degraded environment, caused by human activity on the planet, and the resulting change in climate.

The movie debuted alongside six others during the Ismaili Kenya Art Festival in Nairobi on 18th of March this year. Peter and his crew had already shot the film but were yet to edit it.

They got wind of the call for film entry submissions within a short notice. Nevertheless, they were able to submit theirs in time.

“The biggest challenge we faced was having to edit the 27-hour footage within a limited time frame so as to submit it to the festival.”

The film is coming in at a critical time when the globe is experiencing massive changes in climate and weather patterns.

Severe drought has rocked different parts of the world and Kenya has not been spared either.

People living in arid and semi-arid areas have been hard hit by drought losing their livestock and having to scramble for any water that can be found.

“During one of our filming escapades, two young boys flagged down our vehicle. All they required from us was drinking water. We gave them all the water we had and their little faces lit up with satisfaction. My desire is that we all find a lasting solution to this drought menace.”

“The official trailer of the film will be out soon,” he quips.

Other productions that Ogallo has worked on include Waridi, Mwende, Proposal and Strike Back. He also served as a content developer for mainstream media having made great contributions in the production of Moyo and Aziza series among others.

Besides film, Ogallo is very enthusiastic about working with People Living with Disabilities (PLWD’s).

He is currently working on projects that involve PLWD’s in Nandi and Uasin Gishu counties.

“I collect data which is used by the National Council for People With Disabilities (NCPWD) to plan for the disabled. I am also involved in sensitization and awareness creation on matters disability in different counties around the nation.”

“I feel a deep connection with people living with different disabilities because I too have been in their shoes at some point,” he recounts.

Ogallo suffered an eye injury in his childhood, which he says, saw him undergo a lot of pain and discomfort. He was discriminated and taunted by other children and this caused him psychological and emotional torture.

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“I went through several corrective surgeries which saw the condition of the affected eye slightly improve, though the eye still pains sometimes. I started using spectacles and was advised to avoid too much light and dust.”

He hinted at a film he was working on about one type of disability but could not divulge more details.

“My journey in film directing has not all been rosy,” he says. “Sometimes I spend several days on set without going home, but I love the satisfaction that comes once the shooting project is complete and well done.”

“Patience, sacrifice and clarity of purpose are key concepts that any film director must possess.”

He also mentions that getting licenses to shoot is expensive, coupled with the added costs that come with buying and maintaining equipment.

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However, Ogallo has high hopes with regard to the future of the film industry in Kenya.

Although filmmakers are still battling with high taxes and lack of incentives, he believes that the first step would be the implementation of sound policies that focus on the industry.

“The moment key institutions that govern the film industry in this country put measures in place to steer the industry forward, the industry will experience tremendous growth.”

“In addition, with more and more people going to the theatre and cinemas for screening of local productions, we are heading somewhere if we can improve the quality of our films.”

According to him, great potential lies untapped in many youths and art is among the best ways to engage with them and support them make a decent living.

“My ambition is to mentor as many youths as possible in this industry by giving them an opportunity and platform to showcase their talent.”

The fourth born in a family of five says he has big dreams of making it in his work, in which he says he is driven largely by passion.

“I want to do better content for both TV and the film market at large and while at it, am eyeing the Oscars!”

Away from work, Peter enjoys travelling, reading books and photography.