Kenya Film Industry gets major financial boost

Written By: Margaret Kalekye/KNA
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Mutua (L)says the Sinema Mashinani Project will be rolled out across the country

The film industry in the county has received a major boost following the signing of a KSh20 billion credit facility between Kenya and Spain.

The money shall be used to produce local films that tell the Kenyan story to be marketed locally and internationally.

The project dubbed Sinema Mashinani and spearheaded by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) is being piloted in Isiolo and Kisumu before being rolled out across the country.

KFCB Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Mutua said the Spanish government has confirmed that the money for the project was available adding that negotiations were ongoing between the board and the national treasury on how to tap into the credit facility.

Mutua said under the project, KFCB shall work hand in hand with the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to identify youths who are talented to come up with films that tell the Kenyan story from their respective communities.

The films, he said shall capture the heritage, traditions, morals, culture, norms and aspirations of the Kenyan people from different parts of the country.

Actors, he disclosed shall be identified through a rigorous process with the help of the interior ministry upon which they will receive allowances for their roles and a percentage from the sale of their films for up to fifty years and fifty years after their demise.

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Part of the funds, he said shall go towards construction of a modern creative and arts center in Nairobi and an incubation center at Daystar University to nurture and promote creative arts.

A mini theatre and arts center has already been put up in Isiolo and negotiations with a local church have been concluded for the Kisumu pilot project.

The CEO exuded confidence that the project will put Kenya at par with Nigeria which has excelled in film making with the sector ranked second largest contributor to the country’s GDP.

“Kenya continues to receive international attention due to her beautiful film making locations which are largely untapped and we want to take advantage of that to sell our stories and attract other film makers,” he said.

Film, he said was the next frontier in addressing unemployment and turning around the economy of the country urging the youth to take advantage of the project.

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Speaking in Kisumu today where he paid a courtesy call on Nyanza Regional Commissioner Wilson Njega, Mutua cautioned foreign film makers against undertaking projects in the country without the authority of the board.

“They come in masquerading as international journalists or tourists where they make film for sale in their respective countries,” he said.

Some of them, he said were behind child pornography movies doing rounds on the internet urging security officers to enhance surveillance to bring the culprits to book.

KFCB, he said has quickened the process of issuing out filming licenses across the country urging those in the industry to take advantage of the services to avoid being arrested.

Nyanza Regional Commissioner Wilson Njega said the Sinema Mashinani project shall help foster unity, peace and cohesion.

He pointed out the Luo Nyanza region which has over the year been associated with violence that has lead to loss of lives saying through film, positive stories about the region shall come out.

“Kisumu for example has a lot of potential and a rich culture which has remained untapped because those who stay out of this region associate it with the violence we see on television,” he said.

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Njega said his office shall give support to the board to ensure that the project which shall be launched after the presidential elections is successful.

Mutua further cautioned political analysts against propagating hate messages through live radio and television programmes.

He said some of the political debates were sensational casting doubt on the criteria used to identify the analysts.

This, he said was creating political tension and dividing the country further asking media houses to vet individuals before allowing them to contribute on live television.

Mutua said KFCB was monitoring the content of political programmes and will take appropriate action against those flouting the law.

“We are not seeking to control but we want the media houses to vet and ensure that these analysts fit a certain threshold before allowing them in. What we are seeing are charlatans propagating hate messages,” said Mutua.

He appealed on the media moderate political content and focus on peace and development during this period to unify Kenyans.

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