Sippy Chadha
COUTURE Africa|November 2018

Making a career out of film-making requires painstaking determination, resilience, and vision. It can be a tough road to travel. For Kenyan writerdirector Sippy Chadha, following your bliss is her modus operandi. Passionate, intelligent and with a keen eye for films that challenge perceptions of culture and society, Sippy Chadha, by and large, has immersed herself in the world of women in a given situation. We talk to her on bringing a personal story to life and her insights and experiences as one such filmmaker

Jackline Mukami

CA: Who is Sippy Chadha?

SC: Sippy is one passionate woman, who believes in living life as a celebration and digging deeper into a more fulfilling life. I am also a mother, a wife, a humanist, and a filmmaker. Up until a few years ago, I used to work in financial services until I decided to pursue my passion in filmmaking by telling my stories. I have written, directed and produced four short films; Subira (2007), Tick Tock (2006), Kibera Kid (2006) and Charcoal Traffic (2008). Subira has received global recognition and won 10 international awards. It was actually the first Kenyan short film to premiere at Cannes Film Festival. My hunger to do my next masterpiece and tell my stories on a worldstage pushed me to produce Subira (2018) which is set to premiere in November.

CA: Tell us about the Subira feature film concept?

SC: The journey of Subira started way back in 2008. So I had just moved to Kenya, married through an arranged marriage and raising my two kids. When the second born was born, I really felt I had a story within me. I used to feel that I have a lot of stuff I needed to address but to which I could not find the answers to. I was doing financial services then but felt I could not do it anymore. It had no meaning in my life. I was in this weird state of mind and that is when I knew I had to address what was happening to me. I explored further and it finally dawned on me by way of art I could put my emotion out there. I actually got emotional any time I saw art. I was taken to boarding school at the age 5 in India. I was a great achiever but I had all these emotions. I felt abandoned and unwanted by my family. Little did I know these would have implications later in my life. That was how Subira was born. I felt that I needed to actualize my emotions through the film. There was a lot of freedom in that. Subira is based on my life events. About a woman finding self-love and living out her dreams but with all these obstacles. It took me 8 years to actualize the concept.

CA: How has the response stacked up to your expectations?

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