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Ex-Tahidi High actor Shish speaks on her thriving film company

From Tahidi High to establishing a successful film company working with Mnet, Neflix and other international platforms.

Kenyan actress Shirleen Wangari

Kenyan actress Shirleen Wangari, who rose to fame for her role in Tahidi High and Shuga, is set to make a comeback in the film industry.

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Wangari, popularly known as Shish, has been working behind the scenes to build her company and now has enough time on her hands to get back to acting.

I am yet to get to my highest point as an actress; I have been paying too much attention to building my company, which finally has contracts. Now I can refocus as an actress,” she told The Standard in a recent interview.

She recounted that after leaving the popular Tahidi High show, she began taking part in international productions.

Some of the projects the actress worked on include MTV's Shuga, The First Grader (a film based on the life of former Mau Mau fighter and Kenya's oldest person to join Class 1, the late Kimani Ng'ang'a Maruge), Captain of Nakara, Lost in Africa, Sense8, Wazi FM, Varshita and Peponi (a Tanzanian film which is yet to premiere).

After the international productions well ran dry, Wangari focused on establishing Blackwell, her film company.

I had seen the grand side of filmmaking and I was not willing to settle for less; I just did not know how tough it would be to build a film company. Now I know,” she explained.

Wangari is currently working on an original film for Mnet which her company is shooting in Mombasa.

Another is a co-production with Untitled Films in South Africa of a post-apocalyptic film set in 2037 after the worst heatwave hit the world, killing 80 per cent of the population,” she disclosed.

Netflix and the National Film & Video Foundation recently shortlisted the project for financing.

Shish is also working with the Kenyan Film Commission which has funded a film based on Fort Jesus, one of Kenya’s most popular historical sites.

The film is a preamble to the siege of Mombasa laid on the Portuguese stronghold of Fort Jesus by the Omani Arabs, Mombasa locals and Zanzibaris in the 1600s, which led to the ouster of the Portuguese from the East African coast,” she explained.

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