Appie Matere — the queen of film storytelling in Africa

Seventy-two films, yes, eleven TV shows, over twenty features and still counting easily makes Appie Matere the queen of storytelling in Africa.

“We can matchup with anybody in the world,” Appie, the Chief Executive Officer cum the Executive Producer of Zamaradi Productions, a media enterprise that majors on African entertainment content for global audiences told Maudhui House.

You have probably come across the Emmy-nominated series Kina (source) on DStv’s Maisha Magic Plus and these catchy lines might be familiar with you: You are nothing, Bella…; Bella is alive!; A body has been found.

Appie is the brains behind these jaw dropping episodes in Kina series, which tells the story of an abandoned girl, who sets out seeking justice for the brutal killing of the man she thought was her father, while falling under the dangerous spell of a woman she doesn’t yet know is her mother.

Kina is one of the high profile gifts from Africa to the world that Appie is currently producing.

The mother of one has over a dozen years in the film production industry in Kenya.

The zeal to advance the film production sector while giving a chance to budding actors to shine has seen Appie produce plenty of successful TV shows, documentaries and commercials that have been keeping audiences engaged and entertained across the continent.

Some of her iconic productions include ‘Killer Necklace’ an MNET/New Directions film that was crowned the Best short film and best Director Awards (Kalasha, 2009) and ‘Headlines in History’ — a feature documentary that scooped Best Feature documentary at the Kalasha 2010 gala.

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She was the executive producer on hallmark TV productions, a project that has left an indelible mark across Africa, including “KONA” – the 260 episodes Telenovela – and Africa Magic Original Films (AMOF) — a project that produced seventy-one, 60-minute TV movies in eight months for MNET’s Africa Magic Entertainment TV channel.

Appie is the reigning Best Female producer for the inaugural Women in Film Awards 2020.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic struck last year, Appie says a lot has changed in the way content is consumed in Africa and the future looks promising to the sector players.

“We have seen a spike in viewership across the board. The stay at home Covid-19 restrictions have seen a lot of people start following TV programmes on TV or while on-the-go platforms. Already, there are very nice shows with Kenyan actors on DStv,” said the mother of one, who is glad that an increasing number of people are supporting the industry by consuming locally produced content.

And as more and more young people turn to acting as a fulltime career, Appie shares some counsel.

“You get famous instantly. You also get a lot of money instantly. It is, therefore, good to have strong values so as to remain relevant in the industry in the years to come,” she says.

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Equally, she advises the budding artistes to invest a lot in research so as to give relevant content that stands the test of ever changing consumer tastes.

Embracing mentorship is also critical in ensuring that artistes succeed in this space, notes Appie, who has served as the chief juror for Riverwood awards 2015 and 2016, and part of the jury in 2017 and 2018.

Appie is also part of the selection panel for the Multichoice Talent Factory (MTF), where she serves as the main production training facilitator.

Her role in the MTF is to run film production master classes in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia.

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