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The Status of the Film Industry in Kenya


Date Posted: 4/16/2018 3:49:31 AM

Posted By: Musuwi  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 192

The film industry is one of the most paying industries in the world. I say so because in a single movie so many actors and actresses are featured. All these actors are paid really well and so the film industry is one of the top industries in terms of providing employment. For instance in the United States an actor is paid two million Kenya shillings in just a single movie.
When we talk about all the good things the film industry is doing to many people it is unfortunate actors in Kenya are not benefitting from this. The film industry in kenya has been struggling and really left behind. I say left behind because it was just the other day we were together with Nigeria in the industry but now you can see where Nigeria is. Nollywood has grown to become the second largest industry in terms of volume of production after Hollywood. Where did we Kenyans go wrong in the industry?
When asked to mention movies produced in Nigeria am not even sure you will finish. On the hand in Kenya there are only a few to mention like Nairobi half life,Malooned, The first grader and a few others.
Some of the problems that might have led to only few movies being produced include:

First only big towns in this country have cinemas. This is to mention towns like Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. The main reason why cinemas are not located in other towns is because the locals there have not realized the importance of really watching the movies. As a result of this many producers will be afraid to produce many movies in a country where the movie watching culture is not really embraced.

Most Kenyans do not

go to the cinemas because they know it is cheaper to wait and burn a movie at only 50 shillings instead of paying more to go and watch it in the cinema. The point is that piracy levels are really high and this is really affecting the industry in Kenya. Who would want to invest in an Industry where the returns are really low? That's why most people fear to invest in the industry and produce more and more movies because due to piracy the returns are so low. This issue needs to be addressed by the government if the industry is to make more progress in the near future.

This is also one of the major problems Kenya is facing. The movie production is very expensive and in many countries cooperates come in handy to fund the movie production process and after the movie gets its returns the cooperate is refunded with interest of course. This kind of thing is risky because sometimes the movie makes a loss and the total money made is less than the money invested. This is the risk most Kenyan cooperates are not willing to take. The bare fact is that for more movies to be produced cooperates should be willing to come in handy and support the industry fully without fear.

This is another big problem that the industry faces. The resources required to make a movie especially a fictional movie are so expensive. This makes many of our actors to move to other countries which have the resources a good example is Lupita Nyong'o. Hiring of these equipment is so expensive and this makes the production process even more expensive.

Most of Kenyan directors just call themselves directors but have little education and knowledge about the production process. This is dangerous as the movies produced do not reach international standards and therefore the volume of sales is reduced. Also this makes our actors to go to other countries.
To some good news now. Some of the above mentioned problems are being dealt with accordingly. The Kenyan film industry in the future is expected to really grow. Some the major boosts is that the government is now involving itself in the film industry. This is through the Kenya Film Classification Board.
The government together with Kenya Film Classification Board are working on a project known as 'sinema mashinani' to boost film watching culture in rural areas. They intend to open cinemas in places where they do not exist and also show the locals in rural areas the importance of cinemas and that you don't have to be in a city for you to access a cinema. This will greatly boost the film industry as a movie produced will be watched in cinemas across the country not just in cities hence boosting the volume of sales hence more profits for the industry. The current earning of the industry is 200 billion annually and this is greatly because of short films and this will increase if also a lot of long films are produced.
The government also wants to provide production equipment to aspiring producers. This will ensure more films are produced at a low cost.
Also the Kenya Film Classification Board has made it possible for Riverwood to go across the country carrying out training and initiatives to support local artists and producers to enable them get the required skills and knowledge about the film industry. Someone may ask what exactly is Riverwood? Riverwood is an organization which brings together 300 local filmmakers to market and sell their work collectively. It was established in 2011 and had over 200 film producers. Riverwood has employed over 4000 youths and is still employing more and more.Also Riverwood is planning to setup a Riverwood channel with Bamba TV.
Also Riverwood organizes annual awards where local actors are awarded for their great work. In 2017, the awards was sponsored by the Kenya Film Classification Board a total of 2.5 million was given for the awards by the government. If the government continues to actively support the industry the film industry will grow greatly.
Also Kenya Film Classification Board sponsored two teams to attend film festivals in India and Burkina Faso respectively.
Also the government has passed strict laws to deal with individuals engaging in piracy and this has greatly reduced piracy levels.
Another active participant in supporting local films are local television stations.
A lot of local content is being aired by our stations. In many stations from 7:30 pm daily the content being aired is local only. This is positive as many short films are being produced and many more actors employed.
To finalise I have to talk about the movie everyone is eagerly waiting for Disconnect. It is a romantic comedy which features Kenya's most talented actors. These are Brenda Wairimu,Catherine Kamau,Bridget Shighadi,Nick Mutuma,Patricia Kihoro,Pascal Tokodi,Tosh Gitonga who is also the director and others. The movie premiers on Saturday the 21st of April and Kenyans should really show up to support this new movie because it is ours. If this movie really makes a lot of money the actors who took part in it will be motivated and even other more movies will be produced. This movie really shows we have the talent and capability and thumbs up to the director Tosh Gitonga.
I believe the Kenyan film industry has awaken and expect more and more local films and to aspiring actors don't give up there is hope in the industry.

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