As a film maker, what are the greatest challenges you face?
As a film maker in Kenya the two bigger challenges I face is financing and distribution. As the film industry is still in very early stages the corporations are very reluctant to put money towards movies as they do with TV for example.
Also in Kenya there is no legit distribution path or clear laws about distribution so we end up having products but almost no where to sell them and also there is heavy taxation for legit films and no taxation on pirated films.
Do you think that the film industry is professional? And why not/ why is it?
The Kenyan film industry has many professionals involved that many other countries in the continent don’t even dream about. But because of the absence of a strong guild to protect them, these professionals end up compromising their professionalism and their rates out of necessity.
There is the issue of funding for movies, why do you think it is still so hard to acquire adequate funding?
As I said above the film industry is in very early stages and the audience for Kenyan movies is very limited. As a whole nation is being bombarded by national TV with Nigerian and American movies it is hard to change the mentality of a Nation to start watching Kenyan movies. So as the audiences are very limited, the funding for Kenyan movies is equally limited. Because the big corporations want to fund something that will first bring money back and secondly approach as many audiences as possible. So for them, American and Nigerian movies are doing the trick for them.
We need a law that enforces the big corporations to put every year a small percentage of their profits towards the local film production (or arts in general) and have that amount tax free from the government. This is what is happening other countries with developed film industry and the results is that big corporations are looking for films to fund cause they are getting a benefit out of this!
What about distribution, how can we get it right?
Similarly the government has to create a legal framework to protect the legit distributors and encourage legit distribution companies to exist and in the same time be bold enough to limit or even stop completely the pirates. Because a local legit movie will never be able to compete with a 50ksh American blockbuster DVD.
What do you think can be done to make the industry more professional and world class?
All the above
As a contributor to the BFMA, what do you hope industry stakeholders will take away from it?
Experience that will put in practice as soon as possible
Compiled by Christine Mwai