Winning the Best Film Director award in 2019 through Lost In Time\u2019 at the Kalasha Film And TV International Awards gave Peter Kawa recognition in the film industry not only locally, but also internationally. The film went ahead to win seven other major accolades across Africa and the world. The 38-year-old wears many hats \u2014 a film and theatre producer, director and talents manager. But what he enjoys most is being an actor. As he narrates, reaching this point was never a walk in the park. It took him years to make the prolific achievement. Born and raised in Nairobi, his love for acting started back in primary school as he watched Hollywood action movies. However, he made an acting debut while in secondary school. \u201cWhile I was in primary school, I used to watch action movies that had actors such Arnold Schwarzenegger (Commando) and Sylvester Stallone (Rambo) at my neighbourhood. This is what drew me closer to film. When I joined secondary school, I found an active drama club, which I joined. Whenever I acted, everyone would applaud and that is when I felt I needed to start taking acting more seriously,\u201d he narrates. Growing up, Kawa\u2019s dream was to study law, but upon completion of his secondary school, he didn\u2019t attain the points needed to pursue the course. He would then join Kenya College of Communication and Technology (KCCT) currently known as Multi-Media University (MMU) in 2005 to pursue a diploma in information management. However, due to his blossoming love for theatre, he didn\u2019t complete the course. \u201cAs I was about to sit my final exam, I got a job with a travelling theatre out of town for some months. It was an opportunity I couldn\u2019t pass off, I needed to choose between acting and school. I ended up making the decision to drop out of school and follow acting. That is why I never graduated. It took me years to make peace with myself for the decision I made. But looking back, I never regret it since for the past 15 years, I have made big steps in my film and theatre career,\u201d he reveals. By 2007, Kawa had gotten an opportunity to appear as an extra on the mainstream media programmes Makutano Junction, Inspekta Mwala among others. In the same year, he joined a theatre group by Christian actors and producers where he learnt more about directing, producing and later became the head of the group in 2012. The group would then convert to a short film production company now known as Film Lab Kenya.More space to grow. As a stage and screen actor, Kawa has always managed to stay true to whatever role he has cast in, most of them being one of an antagonist, a role he noticed he was perfect at in 2013. \u201cI saw a breakthrough in my acting career in 2013 through a local programme Sumu La Penzi where I played a character known as Oscar. From that time, my resume is now more than eight pages of different roles I have been playing both as an actor, producer and director,\u201d says the father of one. The thespian is currently running an artists\u2019 production and management outfit known as Spearhead Entertainment. Some of the artists he manages include, social media sensation Azziad Nasenya, actress Celestine Gachuhi of the local drama series Selina, comedian Nice Wanjeri formerly of Auntie Boss, actor Peter Kamau of Selina, actor Bilal Mwaura and social media comedian Star Chebet, among others. \u201cThough my dream of becoming a lawyer never came true, speaking on behalf of artists makes me feel that I\u2019m living my dream. It is a nice experience. I have always wished to give people opportunities, since I was also given one. My mantra is \u2018pass it on\u2019,\u201d he says. In the local film industry, Kawa has been looking up to several artists as his mentors with the main one being Gilbert Lukalia. Internationally, he relishes the versatility of popular actors Will Smith and Denzel Washington.Adapting to change With the new blood bringing in new acting skills in the industry causing pressure for some older generations, Kawa says that what has made him cope is his giving back spirit and the fact that he never sees acting as a competition. He dreams of getting the Oscars, an international film award. Throughout his career, Kawa has learnt a lot. \u201cIt has never been easy. It is not a surprise to be evicted drom your house due to rent arrears. It calls for patience to start reaping. Success is never instant. You have to persevere and rebrand when necessary,\u201d he says. Kawa encourages people to attend workshops and go for auditions to learn and boost their confidence. The acting industry is also notable for having many challenges, Kawa\u2019s biggest concern is how some people have been taking advantage of artists. \u201cSince there are no good structures in the country, artists end up being extorted. We also need to standardise our rates as you will find artists offering services at an unreasonable cost since they are desperate to put something on the table. Additionally, we don\u2019t have incentives and this scares away corporates from investing in the industry,\u201d he shares. He shares how artists are struggling to find a loyal audience as some Kenyans are good at criticising and concentrating more on foreign films. To him, this has been the biggest challenge for the local film to develop a signature brand identity such as the Nigerian Nollywood, Indian Bollywood or the Tanzanian Bongowood.