The Kenya Film Commission in partnership with the Creative Economy Working Group (CEWG) hosted a consultative meeting today at a Nairobi hotel. The morning session was planned to appraise government agencies and film sector players on the content and status of the Film Policy and to develop a framework for its implementation. In addition, CEWG was keen to get a better understanding on how local content requirements are being met, archival of local content, incentives in film sector and licensing issues.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joe Mucheru and the PS Ms. Fatuma Hirsi Mohamed were in attendance. Other representatives were from Kenya Tourism Board, National Museums of Kenya, the AG’s office, Kenya National Theatre, the Photographers Association of Kenya, Riverwood, several industry associations including script writers, actors and producers.
Some of the issues that came up include a promise by Government to devolve the film function and impact in terms of having more activity in all 47 counties. The CS said that the president is ‘very keen’ on the creative sector and is looking forward to increased practical approached to create jobs for youth.
During the presentation by CEWG, a number of challenges were pointed out. Government agencies are very discordant in their functions, including licensing, facilitating and regulating. Bodies such as ICT Ministry, Culture Ministry, KFCB, County Governments, Department of Film Services and the Film Commission are all active players in the film industry.
One of the biggest challenges pointed out is lack of data to inform decisions in the sector. The problem is also evident in how Government handles tax matters in the film sector and the creative economy generally. Over and above that, filmmakers in Kenya are working on a weak and perhaps outdated IP and policy framework. This makes it very difficult for content creators to monetize their work.
During the open session, the thorny issue of drone regulation was raised, with members noting that to date, the Government has not passed any laws to regulate the use. This has left filmmakers at the mercy of law enforcers-more like a helpless and hopeless state with drones getting confiscated at airports and other points of entry. Filmmakers pointed out that now movie makers prefer to go to countries like Tanzania since the environment in Kenya is not drone-friendly.
However it was not all gloom during the breakfast forum, the CS promised to announce and launch a new taskforce that will look into the creative industry and advise in 60 days on how to improve art centres, theatres and other facilities, especially around the 47 counties. There were also good promises of making a film city in yet-to-be-built Konza City.
Kenya Film Commission chair Mr Chris Foot announced the now operational film resource centre at the KFC office in Nairobi. He said that the space is now open and operational with five computers with an editing suite and access to hundreds of online journals from across the globe. To use the resource centre, the only thing one needs to do is book in advance.
All eyes now in the film industry shift to Saturday this week, when winners of the Annual Kalasha film Awards will be announced and awarded.