Gerald Langiri
September 05 / 2012

The film Industry has been identified as a key growth industry with great potential to spur economic growth and help in the realization of vision 2030 through investment and employment creation. The Kenyan entertainment industry is worth approximately KShs 8.6 billion. The industry is comprised of the broadcasting, cinematic, theatrical music and interactive industries. Of this figure, the film and television industry including documentaries and advertising commercial is worth Kshs 4 billion and employs approximately 15,000 people.

There are more than 200 firms involved in the film industry across the country. However, when performing optimally, it is estimated that the film industry can generate over Kshs.40 billion and create more than 250,000 jobs annually.

Comparatively, in the 1970s and early 1980s, Kenya was producing and hosting as many international film crews as South Africa. In 2006 film production in Kenya generated about US$-45 million (industry estimates). Whereas South Africa's City of Cape Town alone generated USD 540 million. Kenya today should conservatively have had an industry that is at least five times its current size if the growth curve had been maintained since the 1970's. With the recent surge in Independent Film Making, the regulatory framework is adjusting to the challenges the opportunity presents. Although many films are being made daily, knowledge of the rules governing film making is minimal.

Sensitization mechanisms on the rules are being worked out. The film industry is regulated by the legal and regulatory framework provided under CAP 222; the Film and Stage Plays Act which provide for the regulation of the making and exhibition of films as well as Film Licensing and Liaison Services. The Act spells out the responsibilities of the Kenya Film and Classification Board in term of regulation of the creation, broadcasting, possession distribution and exhibition of films in Kenya. The Board is also responsible for classification of film. As well as licensing and issuing of certificates to distributors and exhibitors of films in Kenya.

The film industry in Kenya had for years been confined to the formal (Government) and Donor funded realms. Compliance with CAP 222 was relatively high because the commissioning producers were aware of the need for licensing. The impact of the Constitution 2010 will be felt with regards to the new Constitutional framework presented by the elevation of intellectual property rights and culture. All legislation and rules regulating the film sector will now have to align itself with the new Constitution. In terms of capacity building to serve the industry, there is mushrooming of training institutions' that train for the film industry with no approved standards and therefore there is need to establish a training centre of excellence for the industry. An upgrade of the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication is necessary, while investment in and support of the institutions already on the ground is necessary. There will be no need to set up new institutions to this end.

Extracted from the Draft Kenya Film Policy, Film Kenya By Ministry of Information and Communications.

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