The creative sector is headed for a major revival as the government champions the passing of legislative policies that will favour players in the arts industry.
The good news to musicians, filmmakers, fashion designers and other players in the creative space comes as stakeholders in the sector starts to share views ahead the ongoing formulation of the Creative Economy bill whose proposals will be subjected to intense public participation in coming days.
Speaking during the unveiling of awardees of the third cycle of the Kenya Film Commission (KFC) Film Empowerment program in Nairobi, the Cabinet Minister of Youth Affair, Sports and The Arts Ababu Namwamba said time has come for creatives to make a meaningful life out of their art noting that when passed into law, the Creative Economy Bill will open opportunities for all creatives and save their Intellectual Property from exploitation.
"This is really great news for the creatives that you will really have a comprehensive legal framework to manage this space. As we have framed it as a Talanta Hela moment, we should be able to monitise that space. Really, your talent should be your source of livelihood. You should make good money and live well doing what you are doing," Namwamba said.
"This law is already a work in progress. We are going to consult very widely. The law is specifically mentioned in the Kenya Kwanza manifesto so this is part of that plan. We already have a fantastic report from the creatives summit that we hosted in December (2022), which is giving us ideas in terms of policy and legislation. Once the draft is ready we will do serious intense public participation so that at the end we have a law that ticks all the right boxes," the CS remarked.
The Film Empowerment Programme ceremony saw 22 Kenyan filmmakers receive Sh39 million as a grant to create Kenyan content that preserve and promote the culture and traditions of our beloved country.
The grant is the first roll-out from a joint partnership between the KFC and the German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, that will also see six film industry support programmes, receive funding amounting Sh95 million.
Noting that film financing continues to be a major challenge for filmmakers in the country, Namwamba said the proposed bill will enable the establishment of a film fund, whose core function will be to facilitate access to modern equipment and the entire film production infrastructure.
Recognising the support that has been provided by the German government in realising the film empowerment goals, the CS highlighted that more scaling up of cultural production, such as through the programme, is critical in honouring that commitment on film industry development through capacity building. He further observed that his ministry had put in place measures to ensure that more local content is produced and consumed in the media space.
"The KFC survey on film consumption trends revealed that only 34 per cent of Kenyans watch local films while 66 per cent of Kenyans watch foreign films," he lamented.
Present during the unveiling was the Kenya Film Commission CEO Mr. Timothy Owase and the GIZ Cluster Coordinator, Mr. Bernd Lakemeier.
The reenergized focus on the film sector comes at a time when Kenyan producers and their productions are being embraced on international streaming channels and also claiming recognition in reputable international awards.
This year Terastorm by Africana Digital will be representing Kenya in the Best International Feature Film category during the Academy awards.
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The film, an animated feature film presents a group of elite African heroes who unite in an attempt to vanquish an ancient wizard who threatens to destroy the earth with a powerful mysterious artifact.
The feature film is written, directed and animated by Andrew Kaggia. It features a talented Kenyan cast Arabron Nyyneque, Ali Mwangola, Melvin Alusa, Sara Muhoho, Maryanne Nungo, Peter Mudamba, Mungai Kiroga and entirely produced in Kenya. Powered by Unreal "TeraStorm" features an ensemble of Black African superheroes for the first time ever in a feature film.