President Uhuru wows Cannes Film Festival with video message

KFCB CEO Dr Ezekiel Mutua, Intellectual property rights Lawyer June Gachui and American moderator Ernest White during the festival. [George Orido, Standard]
President Uhuru Kenyatta has invited filmmakers attending the 72nd edition of the Cannes International Film Festival in France to make films in Kenya.

The audience applauded when he signed off with the lines, "camera rolling, action!" in a video played at the beginning of a session to showcase what Kenya has to offer in cinematography.

He noted that Kenya was blessed with flora and fauna in addition to the breath-taking landscape that is easily alluring for any film producer and director.

The Pavillion Afriques where Kenya was presenting was packed to the brim and if it were not for the cool breeze sweeping the room from the Mediterranean Sea, air conditioning would have been inevitable.

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During the session, the Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua reinforced the President's message adding that it takes just 15 minutes to get a license for filming in Kenya.

"We are working together with other agencies in a synergy that makes it efficient for all of us to serve our mandate as regulators and facilitators for the film industry, " he said.

Filmmakers follow through the panel discussion. [George Orido, Standard]
Film policy

Dr Mutua addressed the issue of the Film Policy saying Kenya is at the verge of having one.

"The policy is at the Cabinet stage and hopefully it will come to fruition, " he said adding that this would address such issues as tax rebates for filmmakers.

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Dr Mutua said the country was ripe for inter-country collaboration in filmmaking among Africans.

"The continent is set to benefit from such initiatives and we are glad that the train has left the station with Kenya and Nigeria already implementing a co-production agreement.

"Our experience with Nigeria in co-production is sailing well and we need to replicate this with other nations, "he said but adding that Kenya must work hard to penetrate the Nigerian market.

Dr Mutua wooed filmmakers among them from Hollywood saying Kenya was a bedrock of talent.

"Kenya is the home of Lupita Nyong'o, Barack Obama and great athletes who break world records every minute of the day," he said.

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Speaking at the event musician and Intellectual Property lawyer June Gichui noted that copyright has become key in filmmaking with the advent of technology.

"Gone are the days when we could use copyrighted music without permission and go unnoticed, " she said adding that this challenge opens great opportunity to create new works.

Ms Gichui who is also a Board member of KFCB said the Board is open to support filmmakers who want to use Kenya as a location or collaborate with her producers, screenwriters and actors.

At the end of the session many filmmakers from across Africa, Europe and America showed interest in working on Film projects in Kenya including producers from Germany, Hollywood, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Martinique, Togo, Sierra Leone among others.

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Uhuru KenyattaCannes International Film FestivalFilmmakers