Curated by the Kenya Film and Television Professional Association (KFTPA) in conjunction with the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), the inaugural State of The Film Industry Summit took place on the September 29, 2023 at the Nairobi Film Centre (formerly the Nairobi Cinema).
Industry stakeholders and practitioners as well as government dignitaries came together to look back and plan ahead, evaluate the status of the film industry and craft a path to its betterment.
From Commercial to Long Format Production, significant industry stakeholders such as Netflix and Multichoice gave presentations on major accomplishments and their contribution to the growth of the film industry.
With projects such as ‘Country Queen’ and ‘Disconnect 2’ dominating viewership charts upon release, Netflix has been on the frontline in championing for international viewership of local content. Global audience potential has been proven, for instance, with ‘Disconnect 2’ resting at the Top Ten in global viewership across 16 countries upon release, which gives more impetus to invest in local content by partnering with producers, building skills and brand elevation.
On the other hand, MultiChoice Talent Factory rolls out over 75 graduates every year, making it a melting pot of talent crucial to nurturing crew-based skills among young industry practitioners, a welcome investment that was highlighted by Timothy Okwaro, Executive Head of Programming at MultiChoice.
Continuing productions create long-term employment opportunities in the industry, which is a welcome development but one that also invites the conversation about necessary policies for the well-being of the workforce, something Njoki Muhoho, Vice Chairperson of KFTPA and renowned Executive Producer, knows a tonne about and was vocal of in her presentation.
Human resource issues, more particularly the mental health of industry stakeholders in the intense stressful filmmaking environment, is a necessary cog to quality production and in turn a larger audience. Speaking of larger audiences, there was the glaring concern around local channels that continue to flood audiences with cheap foreign soap operas at the expense of local content.
The welfare of actors, and crew members in the industry finally got addressed on a governmental platform, with the Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts, Ababu Namwamba receiving information, first-hand, from actor’s representative, Nini Wacera and crew representative, Andrew Mageto.
The two were unapologetic in raising the plight of thespians in Kenya prompting the CS to assure government action most importantly on contract disputes and actors and crew well-being on set.
For the longest time the industry has called for more government input in film production and for at least 10 per cent of the Sh60 billion allocated to the creative sector, to be given to the film sector. For this to happen, Dennis Itumbi, an advisor on the Creative Economy Advisor to the President plainly put it; film practitioners also need to be more aware of laws and policies, produce and pitch their films to the government as well.
He also revealed plans around the upcoming Youth Creative Economy and Entrepreneurship Week set to happen from December 5 to December 12, a platform to encourage and ensure more governmental input where creatives were urged to elect and send representatives.
Watch the State of the Kenyan Film Industry Summit now via the Link https://youtube.com/live/_34wmbS95sA?feature=share
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Article Edited by @peterndoria