Despite the support the government has given the film industry, there seems to be a growing dysphoria between film-makers on what exactly is going on and how business is not just being conducted, but also regulated.
For quite a while, the government has been asking film-makers to produce more local content, and has even gone ahead to create the Kenya Film Commission (KFC) in order to set up the shop properly.
However, the film-makers tribulations are said to be stemming from the State’s stringent regulations that are accused of choking the industry to a cadaverous state.
“While Riverwood is supposed to rival Nollywood, Bollywood and Hollywood, the support the government is giving the industry is close to mediocre, given the potential it has,” Peter Ogallo, a film-maker with Film Village of Kenya told Spice during the Kalasha International Film and TV Market 2018.
Kalasha International Film and TV Market 2018 is conceptualised from a need to give local and regional film-makers a platform where they can engage and grow their skill.
While at it, the event offers unfathomable fortuity with winners of the pitching competition in film (feature/short), animated TV series / feature film and TV (series/ soaps/ shows) categories expected to walk away with a prize of Sh500,000. In the animation category, the winner will get a fully sponsored trip to Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Market (MIFA) in June, 2018 in France.
While many agree that this is a step towards the right direction, there remains a number of issues that still leave film-makers crestfallen. Ogallo, expressed his frustrations saying that the government needs to wake up to the fact that some of the laws dictating the industry are not just archaic, but a hindrance to the betterment of the multi-billion industry.
“If you look at the incentives other countries give their film-makers, you will realise that we are lagging behind. A country like South Africa offers a tax rebate of 35 per cent to its silver screen sector,” he said.
Currently, there is a huge debate on the the use of drones in the industry and film-makers are still not contented with the newly-published regulations on the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles – commonly known as drones by The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).
“This is a concern that I share with them (film-makers) and we have started engaging with the country’s security agencies on the best way to implement regulation on drones.
The truth of the matter is that they have the final say on this issue and I believe by the end of that conversation, we will have a harmonious decision,” Chris Foot, chairman of KFC, told Spice.
KFC has been on the receiving end of not living to its mandate of promoting the film industry locally and internationally. But according to Foot, the body has not been given carte blanche needed, running into monetary difficulties.
“For many years, KFC had a zero-development budget and our overall budget currently hovers around $1.2 million (Sh120 million) while South Africa’s equivalent body receives $10 million (Sh100million), generating revenues of $326 million (over Sh32 billion),” he stated.
According to a study by Kenya Film Classification Board, the film industry currently earns the country Sh200 billion and given the monetary potential it holds, power play seems to be running in the background by the two state bodies. “The role of KFC is clearly engrained in Legal Notice No.10 of 2005.
However, it is unfortunate that KFCB is trying to usurp power instead of delivering its core mandate, which falls under CAP 222 bracketing its role as purely licensing and classification,” Chris said.
These are concerns that must be addressed for the local film scene to thrive. Just like the proverbial biblical tale of King Solomon and the baby, the government has a rocky task of determining whose baby the film industry is and extend its full support.