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Meet the NrbBUS

Meet the NrbBUS: The double-decker with a thousand stories to tell

The NrbBUS is unlike any other place to work, a normal 9-5 it is not, and we know we are incredibly fortunate. So, when asked to describe a normal day in the week by ‘Nairobi Design Week’ it was a light challenge we were very happy to tackle.

We are a media production company, Cultural Video Productions, based in Kenya since 2000. Our new location is in General Mathenge Lane; we are very easy to spot behind the white gate partly as our double decker bus ‘turned office’ sticks out like a Giraffe in the savannah.

Our first feature film ‘WAZI?FM’, on Urban Refugees received the Golden Dhow at the 18th Zanzibar Film Festival and was selected at DISCOP Johannesburg 2017 as ‘Best Pilot Series’.

There was also the highly acclaimed Connection House, awarded at the Roma Web Fest 2016 and the Berlin Web Fest 2017 as best web comedy. We are immensely proud of these projects amongst many others during this fertile period, however we are incredibly excited for what the future has in store for us.

The Nairobi Bus on the road

The BUS has had some journey to get to where it is today. Not only did it give us our lodestar but our history as well. Our director and founder, Vincenzo Cavallo also known as Dr.Farasi or Dr.Faras by his Somali followers, managed to save this 1969 London double-decker bus from the scrap heap after a moment of inspiration to turn this clapped out bit of scrap into a slick and high end moveable studio in 2013. Since that moment the BUS cut its teeth in Muthiti Road, this is where we gained our reputation as the place to let your creative juices flow with workshops, film screenings and art exhibitions.

The BUS soon outgrew our Muthiti setting and found its new home at the Alchemist in 2016 – here we became something more then Filmmakers, creating events, screenings and much more for the lucky revellers of the Alchemist. One of our greatest achievements was our Movie Night on Tuesdays – it is very popular, with Q&As, Filmmakers discussing their projects, a partnership with the Foreign Correspondents of East Africa and we can proudly say it is still up and running today.

Nairobi Space Makers, a VR documentary series based in Kenya.

Febuary 13th was an exceptionally crazy day, even by our standards. We were joined by two of our partners: Somali React and BlackRhino VR. Together, we created a virtual reality experience and tour of the NrbBUS. In our usual style this was a comical morning, topped off with the team donning VR headsets, dancing and being filmed. The video will be shared on our Facebook for those who would like to laugh at our expense. You will even be able to download it and watch it in your VR headset if you have one and if not, come over and you can use ours.

We shot a little teaser that will be presented at the Berlinale AfricaHUB where we have been invited to present TheNrbBUS and its latest productions.

We started by producing ‘Maskaniflani’, a musical documentary about public space in Kenya and then we produced ‘Twende Berlin’, another musical documentary about Gentrification in Berlin from an African perspective.

We at Cultural Video Productions and Black Rhino VR are very excited about our new partnership. Our new project is called Nairobi Space Makers and is a VR documentary series about space makers in Kenya.

NrbBUS x Somali React

Somali React are one of our proud partners, they create hilarious and entertaining clips, sketches and shorts for their followers on Facebook and Youtube, out of Eastleigh in Nairobi. It’s all very entertaining and original to Nairobi. Our plan together is to make a feature length film about Somalia in Nairobi called “Bufis”.

Using this format we want to address the incredibly relevant issue of the Green Card Lottery in the US. It’s going to be another dramedy in which we will try to make you cry and laugh at the same time.

NrbBUS x BlackRhino VR

With BlackRhino VR there is even more going on, we are planning to turn the BUS into a VR camp, where 10 students a year will be able to learn about VR story-telling development, production and post-production.

This, plus the first VR series on ‘Space Making in Africa’ will launch TheNrbBus as a rocket in the orbit of the creative space, to become a planetary level creative think tank to whatever you want.

There is a lot more to add but we are the kind of people who talk little and do a lot, so come over and be overwhelmed by our incredible discrepancy, we are a chilled out and dedicated collective, especially when we play our table tennis sessions.

This is a guest post by Alex Mann of the NrbBUS, it has been edited for brevity and clarity.

If you’d like us to attend your event, contribute or be featured, please contact us and we’ll be excited to share your story.

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