In a time when Kenya’s film industry was struggling to find its footing due to limited local crews with expertise in filmmaking, one visionary filmmaker emerged, challenging conventions and pushing the boundaries of creativity. Philippe Bresson’s journey began as a one-man band, wearing multiple hats, and immersing himself in every aspect of filmmaking. With a passion for storytelling and an unyielding determination, Bresson officially embarked on his career in 2007, and since then, he has become a driving force in the Kenyan film scene. This article delves into the significant milestones that define Philippe Bresson’s career, from his early days as a director and cinematographer to his rise as a pan-African filmmaker.
1. Changing Times: A Successful Debut
In 2007, Philippe Bresson made his official foray into filmmaking with the highly successful series Changing Times. The Kenyan film industry, at the time, lacked experienced local crews, so Bresson took it upon himself to learn and master every aspect of the craft, serving as both director and cinematographer. This hands-on experience laid the foundation for his future endeavors.
2. Kalasha Awards Triumph
Under Philippe Bresson’s leadership, his team earned recognition in 2009, winning two Kalasha Awards for their remarkable contributions to the Kenyan film industry. These prestigious accolades showcased Bresson’s ability to create compelling content that resonated with audiences and his peers.
3. Venturing into TV Shows
Driven by a desire to expand the reach of Kenyan content beyond national borders, Philippe Bresson directed and served as a showrunner for over 11 TV shows, including popular titles like Prem, Junior, New Beginnings, and Socialites. The series New Beginnings gained pan-African recognition and aired in Nigeria on Ebony Life and ETV in South Africa in 2015, solidifying Bresson’s reputation as a pan-African filmmaker.
4. Conquering New Frontiers: The Move to the Big Screen
With the success of TV shows, Philippe Bresson set his sights on the silver screen. His team produced a movie that made its way to BET Africa, cementing their position as pan-African filmmakers. This achievement was a significant milestone, demonstrating their growth and the increasing demand for their unique storytelling approach.
5. Diversifying Content: Documentaries and Commercials
Continuing to evolve creatively, Bresson’s team ventured into documentaries and commercials, showcasing their versatility and ability to adapt their storytelling techniques to different formats. Notable projects for major global brands like Google, Al Jazeera, Cartoon Network, Showmax, and DTB Bank further solidified their reputation as sought-after filmmakers.
6. Accessible Technology and Rising Talent
Philippe Bresson witnessed a transformative shift in the industry, with the accessibility of cinema gear and cameras making filmmaking more feasible for emerging talents. He has trained countless film makers over the years and continues to share knowledge on the same. Accessibility to technology and a trained crew has enabled them to compete on a global stage, with their projects even finding their way onto platforms like Netflix for a film he directed that premiered on Netflix on February 2023 called Married to Work.
Philippe Bresson’s career has been a testament to the power of passion, determination, and creativity. From his early days as a self-taught director and cinematographer to becoming a pan-African filmmaker with international recognition, Bresson’s journey has been marked by significant milestones. Embracing diverse storytelling forms, from TV shows to documentaries and commercials, Bresson has showcased the true potential of Kenyan cinema on the global stage. As the industry continues to grow and more talented filmmakers emerge, Bresson’s contributions serve as an inspiration for the next generation of Kenyan and pan-African storytellers.