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Kenya Needs a Film Bill & Policy to Promote Growth in the Film Industry

The Kenya Film industry has a strategic importance for development and promotion of our unique identity. It has the potential to stimulate economic growth through infrastructural development, tourist attraction, employment creation and investment. Recognition of this importance and development of the sector is critical for wealth creation and jobs in the production and distribution of films.

According to the Kenya Film commission survey, June 2020 on economic contribution of the Kenyan film industry; The film industry generates approximately Ksh 12 billion in revenues annually, with potential to grow to over KES 40 billion if bench marked with other players in Africa like Nigeria with a GDP of over $410 Billion which is about 4 times the Kenyan GDP of $89 Billion.

Covid-19 pandemic raged on every economic sector. The lock downs on live social experiences brought pain and also gains for the creative economy. Film, animations, music, and gaming benefited from the increased audiences, lowered streaming costs and app downloads. The disruption has fast tracked solutions to the existing challenges and opportunities facing the Kenya creative economy.

Dating back to 2003, as a film producer I have served on numerous government task forces to draft and redraft the Film Policy while advocating for the establishment of a film commission. The Kenya Film Commission did come to fruition though Legal Notice No. 10 of 2005, while the film policy remained elusive despite many attempts. Fast track to January 2021 and another stakeholder engagement to validate the “Final” draft Film Policy.

The film industry presents significant opportunities in creating jobs both for the skilled and unskilled. I know any other industry where almost, anyone can get hired. With the assent of the film Bill and policy the industry can get on with the Lights! Camera! Action!

The policy provides for the formation of the Kenya Film Federation as the umbrella body representing the various professional associations, guilds and unions representing the film practitioners and other industry players. The Film Federation with three positions allocated, shall be the primary point of contact recognized by the Government.

The hope is that Government makes good it’s promise to deliver the film bill, film policy and implementation of the film incentives. The film industry is skeptical and fatigued from to the countless promises and perceived lack of Government good will. In doing so Government will affirm that film & the arts are not a nice thing to have but a must – have for job creation and growth of the creative economy.

The challenge now, is how does the industry galvanize and unite to form a Film Federation?

How does the Film Federation hold accountable the institutions tasked with the implementation of the new legal frame works?

How does the collaboration and facilitation deliver a vibrant and economically viable film industry?