Actor, stuntman, editor and producer Philip “Mentor” Muchiri was thrust into the limelight earlier this year during the groundbreaking 1st Riverwood Academy Awards which recognized top artists and professionals of the budding film and television industry in Kenya. Muchiri Mentor received a nomination for Best Lead Actor for his role in Gicagi, touted as Kenya’s first martial arts film and produced by his MVP production house. The film was also nominated for Best Feature Film and Best Cinematography, eventually bagging the best cinematography award.
Like many Kenyan actors, his path towards acting and film production was not exactly straight. He dabbled in the Bio-Medical engineering field and interned at hospitals in Mombasa and Kerugoya before learning film production and editing at Kerugoya’s Jakin Video and starting his own outfit in MVP Films. He has since acted in and produced films such as Gicagi, Mtaani and Street Game.
Currently holding a brown belt in karate, Muchiri’s focus at the moment is to cut a niche in the action film genre, exactly the kind of stuff you don’t see everyday from a local production house. Describing himself as a “dynamic professional who enjoys working in challenging situations to produce outstanding and fulfilling outcomes”, there is certainly a zen-like aura and mental focus to this guy that could easily remind one of Bruce Lee, right down to his always positive Facebook status updates.
Mentor’s films, while staying true to the feel and pace you’d expect from action and martial arts films, also maintain the authenticity of their environment. His latest project dubbed Nairobism, for example, is your standard story of drug deals gone bad in Nairobi complete with scenes of people having to use a knife still streaked with last night’s ugali for self-defense and crazy boda boda chases. It is this kind of thing that makes his films uniquely entertaining, despite certain technical drawbacks such as sound issues.
Muchiri Mentor is certainly the actor to watch out for in the near future. He is one of the few Kenyan actors who can actually come up with an action film with believable fight scenes. More opportunities with higher production values and more exposure is what could propel him to star status. If you’re looking to choreograph fight scenes in your film or TV series, he’s probably the mentor you should be consulting.