PROPOSED SOLUTIONS TO KENYAS FILM INDUSTRY WOES

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PROPOSED SOLUTIONS TO KENYAS FILM INDUSTRY WOES

Postby Administrator » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:03 pm

"Can somebody tell me how we can meet the minister for finance.....read on and find out why....

The other day, during the budget speech, he spoke about mitumba clothes coming into the country, he never mentioned what is killing us as film producers, Mumbai programs from Mexico, Nigeria and Filipino.....he is now aware that they can be taxed and earn revenue for this country, somebody can tell him how and i am volunteering to talk to him on this..... dear film makers, all our TV stations are now at the hands of the above great countries, we don't have a film industry because nobody cares to ask in parliament why we don't have more of mama kayais and ojwang on prime time....we get workshops to talk about films, our film policy and the revenue the country can generate but we shy to talk about what is happening on our screens on this forum, when are we ever going to see the documentaries that Kenya film commission in partnership with film makers make on our TV Stations, the commission is being demonised because of the following.

A) FILM MAKERS are very hungry, no money is being made when syndicated shows and cheap imports are allowed to rule our airwaves, we want more of MALI and LIES THAT BIND, these are soaps which are excellent in both quality and content, they resonate very well with the local audience and anybody who doubted that local soap opera productions died with tushauriane has been forced to bite his tongue, MR peter mutie, this is why we need the film fund, to make more of these soaps and edge out the many foreign soaps from the screens.....the river wood ensemble and third force has started showing some movies on kiss TV and a lot of film makers instead of supporting this have made comments about the quality which is not flattering....to answer them, we have gone on adding more and more, we have started duplicating the movies in thousands for selling in homes and streets and the response is overwhelming.

Recently, the Kenya entertainment film welfare ensemble was able to successfully launch the movie a day initiative, we went to over 13 villages showing various Kikuyu and Swahili rural scene themed movies and people turned up in hundreds wherever we went to watch our one hour movies, who says that Kenya want to watch foreign content? our stories radiate well.....Kenyans know their rights and the first thing they need is local content, we are going to start implementing the policy in the street, my creating a screen culture in the village. i have told the film commission that they must help all film makers to have their films screened, that is what must happen and that is the only job we want them to leave their offices and boardroom for. the C.E.O must buy more T-SHIRTS with panadol inscriptions, hit the road and get to see how the film culture in Kenya is......we are doing this because we have faith in our people...we shall be acquiring a big track in the near future and move to over 18 counties in Kenya, selling the local film agenda through educating people what film can do to transform the social, cultural and general fortunes of this great country we call Kenya, this is a spirit, a movement, a revolution and if it becomes a cult..then be it. film must stand and be counted as an economic force for our people....

we must move from the caves and move into homes....we are filimosapiens...no more sitting and listening to nay Sayers that it cant be done, we are going to do it and do it and do it even more till we succeed, and all we need is to put 15 million Kenya shillings to some serious use, employ over 500,000 people directly and thousands more indirectly..... when you read more into the document, you will be able to see why i am insisting that the film commission and the board will start practicing its service charter through this. all we want is to trade- full stop!

we want this done in transparent and ways which shows integrity and respect to the industry, what the media owners are doing is hurting them more than it is hurting us, even if they win the court cases, they will never win the cases in the film makers hearts... i love the resolve in film makers like cajetan boy, he makes them whether there is money or not......he needs to make money by distributing his great films.....and on this, Kenya film commission you must facilitate, it is in your mandate......let us have the films reach 200,000 people...like we are planning to do with our films.

B) THE FILM MAKERS.....we are isolated pockets and the only solid foundation we have is in our trade, we walk into project make money and then walk out, a bad precedence if you ask me, we make enough to own a bank....but do we care really? no we don't, can we think about starting our own bank....there is an exchange of over 20 million shillings down river wood everyday.....on film and related services alone, all film makers have millions in the bank.....the bankers associations have not taken a keen interest in the film industry, they don't know that we can shake their institutions if all artists, producers, service providers, distributors and marketers including rentals removed their money one day because central bank has given them a license to run their own bank......we cry because sometimes we want to build studios like Jim Shamoon and we end up not getting support because somebody with more muscle has spoken to the ministry of impunity and gotten his way while those who truly deserve it get the highway......we are going to wait and see but before that, let those in associations use this page to suggest how we can create a directorate for the industry, how we can have all those in the industry including students register with 1000 shillings so that we can raise the money to start our bank.

C) we need to make movies for the people and make sure the people see them, we want all movies ever shown in Kenya to be circulated in towns and villages and packaged for people to see, we should not fear Pirates ....they are like prostitution, they will never go away no matter how hard and tough you preach....they can however be made to do it in darkness, where such ills and evils belong, we can even pirate our own works by making sure that we only make 20 shillings from everyy cd we sell, package this for 100 shillings and produce thousands of titles.....if we have a film federation sticker, anybody who is member will make sure that only genuine titles are sold.....,Kenya film commission, there must be a budget for this........

D) let us also make sure that we can get manufactures interested in buying 1M DVDS and having their logos or commercials, product placements and agendas incorporated in the films, if they can have 100M a title, they would have more impact as the commercials will always be available every time the DVD is viewed as opposed to once and it is gone forever on TV.....KFC, WE need a budget to market this....the movies we have from stakeholders can start us off......

E) TRAINING......PLEASE REFER TO WHAT I HAVE SAID UNDER BASED ON OUR EXPERIENCE WITH KEFWE ( Kenya entertainment films welfare ensemble), we are doing what -one fine day films is doing, only on a small level. we have 2000 members of kefwe training in film and performing arts.

The ways in which we feel that this can be done is in the following.... THE SPIRIT OF IT IS REAL AND LOOKS FORWARD TO A PROMISE OF GAINS.

Script writing .
we are working on improving the training in how to do good scripts and tell great screen stories through a mentorship program, the projects that we carry involve the following.

1. creating the understanding between story creation, structure and content through helping those we work with to appreciate the beauty of telling the story the way they feel it. we believe that creativity may be taught in class but it is developed in the streets, on location and in the bush when what has been inspired by nature is made to come to life in the name of content.
content for us is king, when mistakes of structure are ignored, the versatility in telling the screen story develops into new turns and tons of hope.

2. stories are about what we see and how we feel, we must show case them in the way we dream them, structure must never be allowed to dictate the rules, structure must be always secondary to the feelings and the content that the story teller wants to put across.

3. it is the thrill, entertainment and purpose that sells the story and not how well structured the story was, who says that the rules of structure were cast on stone and they can't be changed? we must be dynamic in approach and appreciate that every morning is new, the sky is only blue because you have been told so, you can make it yellow or any color you want...because that is what you see.

4. Tell the story no matter what by showing it....nobody is interested in what you are saying if you can't package it and show it....results is what creates the throughways to the next level, if mistakes are not seen in what has been done, then there will never be growth, let the stories be seen, capture them the best way you know how, let your perspective and the spirit of doing things your way be the change that other people must start learning from, it is the simple philosophy that must generate the essence of good content.

5. Hollywood may be leading but Africa is where the real stories are, we can package them the way we feel them and make them the examples that Hollywood should copy from, not the other way round, the local content culture will be the driving force for the campaign in this department, we fell that we can't be able to give stories which an transcend the passage of time by being original, indigenous, authentic, adventurous, and most of all, be ready to make stories which others will marvel about in terms of beauty and entertainment element, that is the only way the business will develop.

FILM PRODUCTION
Film is beautiful and the stories are many to tell, we want to use the development of digital technology to mobilize everybody interested in the art, craft and business of film to join hands with us and help us to develop a screen culture which is ordained and colored with local stories which have a deep sense of meaning and relevance to our local audiences.

we want to market the film product and sector, by showing beautiful stories and marketing them to the local people, others will come in after we show our local capacity. by producing a movie every day, we shall be sending out the following messages.

1. That we can go door to door selling this content to all the counties of the republic of Kenya as that is where the consumers of the product film are to be found, the frustrations of living everyday wondering when we shall see local content domineering our screens as opposed to Filipino and Mexican soaps will be a thing of the past. we shall no longer be angry that there is a ninja breakfast show, a ninja lunchtime movie, a ninja sundowner, a ninja dinner and a ninja late night. if and when we package 200,000 copies of ever title we make and sell in the streets, supermarkets, churches, schools, market centers and everywhere people are to be found, we shall conquer the country by developing an unbeatable screen culture which is to be found right at home. T.V stations may own their business, but we own the spirit of the industry, we know what our people want, and it is our job to deliver this to them, right at their door steps.

2. We want this sector to be the biggest economy by any standards, we know that with the above figures of producing 200,000 copies of 360 titles and selling them @ 100 shillings is going to generate billions and create curiosity in the boardrooms of financial institutions and advertising companies, who needs a billboard when one can carry one home in the name of a commercial spot in the DVD movie that we shall be distributing? creating the way forward for the industry will need partnerships for this to be realized, Kenyans are tired of watching Mexican soaps which are being simultaneously telecast on prime time in all TV Stations simply because middle level managers and content acquisition consultants are misadvising the boards on what Kenyans want. the future of the industry is in every film maker to know that it will take a bold step to make the film, package it and hit the road as a don't-care jack for the media owners to make sense out of the nonsense. Kenya revenue authority must also know that they have been losing a lot of money by not taxing the Mexican and Filipino soaps which are acquired at a maximum price of 42,000 shillings. this is the resaon why the stations can afford to air them the whole day charge a premium to the advertiser and declare billions in profits every year. the big questions are these.

A) how many Kenya soaps are aired in Mexico prime time or in Philippine in the morning, while we are still on it, do we have Kenya movie hour in Nigeria. Are the directors of media houses not seeing the sense in promoting local content culture on our screens. i am convinced that Kenya is the only country in the world which allows the level of impunity we see on our screens, in other countries like south Africa, there is control and government intervention, even if the government can't tell the private sector how to conduct their business as long as they are within the law and constitution, i am sure that anybody who love his or her country would engage the patriotism found in our national anthem, defend the sovereignty of our country from foreign aggression and help our children to see their own stories on the screen, we are really doing ourselves a serious disservice in the name of cash, when does this stop?

B) all these shows and films being shown on our screens don't make any money for our country, if anything they have been the source of boardroom quotes that translates into a boring song, that there is no good content in Kenya. ALOT OF THIS ARGUMENT IS BASED ON THE fact that the broadcasting houses are not ready to pay the production costs which exceed 50,000 shillings to an independent producer. some lucky producers can get 200,000 shillings for a show, they are few and they are able to tighten their budgets and use this money to run the production. The story is interesting when the broadcasting houses produce a show, without calculating the budget they spend on equipment, facilities and salaries to their in-house producers and technical crew, these house end up spending budgets to the excess of 300,000 to pay the cast and extra crew they hire for a given project, Very few projects are realized and rarely do they go beyond season three. there are examples of success however which according to me, should be the reason why the broadcasting houses should partner more with the independents and make more promising projects. the 300,000 BUDGET IS ENOUGH TO PUT TOGETHER TWO quality shows.

NEWS is a full time job, let the independents provide the content as is the case all over the world. we have cried for the film policy and we still have it as a draft, the media owners don't want it and they lobby behind the scenes to have it dropped, this reminds me of the hostility the late and former minister for transport HON. JOHN MICHUKI faced when he decided that it was time to bring sanity into the film industry, I believe that if the minister put his foot down, engaged these media owners and had breakfast with them, called in a few of the film makers to make their proposals on the way forward, we can have quality 70% local content available on our stations within a month, can't we be proud of our own heritage, how come no member of parliament ever talks about what is happening on our TV SCREENS? how is it everything one else including doctors, teachers and nurses can go on strike and be listened to and when film makers want to engage the government diplomatically, some of those in the industry are paid money to campaign for dissolution of the KENYA FILM COMMSSION? is it not a fact it is those in the industry who need to lobby and push the people by coming together, hitting the streets with content, screening movies in every village while getting millions of signatures on the Kenya we want in terms of television content, i want all film makers to rise up and be counted, we are more than a few hundred of thousand, we can be force which can create a revolution, bring change and sanity to the industry. I am ready to work towards the commission we want and the industry we must have. I am ready to give some TAX clinics to Treasury and KRA on how they can make more money from film, than the unwilling landlords that they are targeting, am ready to kindly ask the minister - HON Njeru Githae to give me 5 minutes of his time so that i can show him how we can increase revenue from film from the current un audited 60 billion shillings to a future audited 200 billion shillings within a year.

C) on a daily basis, thousands of students in universities, colleges, polytechnics and make-shift institutions listen to lectures on how to make films. it does not matter that some of the mentors have never shot a wedding, we have these students graduating in months or years to join the industry, some make it while others are frustrated and end up joining other sectors. I have always cried to those who can listen that there needs to be a curriculum audit on what we want trained in terms of skills, creativity development and technical exchange programs. i salute ginger ink, I salute hot sun foundation, I salute riverwood ensemble and i salute the thousands of small production houses all over Kenya for the effort they make in training and impacting skills to those with the passion and drive for the industry, what we need to see is more of this, resulting to more productions and more turn-over of films, i really would like to know if some of the universities know the mental stress and trauma that they cause us when they send some of their students for internship.

surely, i would expect that any students who has gone through training and mentorship for four years should have basic industry knowledge, this is never the case. does the minister for higher education know that some of these institutions cant point success cases in the industry because there are none? they tell stories in class, give lectures on why three tube cameras are the professional type to use for a production and then show pictures of equipment before sending them to a company like al- is- on for training?

hello, if you want internship for your students, please buy basic equipment at the university and employ people with skills to train your students, don't go for masters and doctorates which are only big in paper form and little in skills, if the deans of studies has never produced a birthday video clip for his child, or the first meow of the cat he gave his daughter for birthday, he is an insult to the film industry and has no business telling the students in your institution how to make films, how when he has never made any? I love the fact that I went to K.I.M.C for training and had the pleasure of being harassed by the late DAVID KAMAU, thousands in the industry know that kamau is one "professor"- that we miss, MAY GOD rest his soul in eternal peace, he showed us how to fish, let the lecturers stop giving their students fish.

in the above connection , magic galaxy in conjunction with Medialine institute, the ministry of information and communication- department of film services and Kenya film commission will be championing for the rebirth of the Kenya film industry dubbed, return to local content.

our broadcast industry and film exhibition galleries are littered with foreign content from Hollywood to Bollywood, Nollywood to many other woods of the world, the film industry continues to struggle because as much as people want to see their own in films, there is no policy to make this happen.

the politics around this issue has prevented the actualization of the policy which continues to gather dust in its draft form, the way out is going back to our roots, creating awareness through audience cultivation, simple and low budget production of indigenous stories with a diversity of themes from health, religion, culture, business, leisure, entertainment, heritage just to mention but a few.
the initiative takes an ASH trajectory i.e. Amateur- standard- high definition approach. we start with films which take a week to prepare , a day to shoot and three days to package.

as a member of third force association for film makers, magic galaxy has helped to sponsor one of the ensembles under third force- KENYA ENTERTAINMENT FILM WELFARE ENSEMBLE ( KEFWE) to produce amateur indigenous movies which will be launched as a pilot project for the a movie a day campaign to begin in July 2012.
over 360 movies will be made per year...this will yield a high turnover for local content as the same movies will be available for broadcast on local and regional TV stations.

a full schedule for this is in the works and will also involve the other ensemble affiliated to third force- riverwood ensemble, kwetu pictures ltd- a company which will be responsible for the broadcast distribution of the content and the federation of film associations of Kenya which will be the umbrella body for the film industry and broadcast digital content creation in this country.
the training for these artists who range from the ages of as young as 11 years to 70 years will be coordinated by Medialine institute. the trainees will be awarded certificates of merit in performing arts, there are plans to create a directory and guild with terms and conditions of engagement to bring sanity to the industry that we are creating....

WE HOPE that we can use this forum to build ideas on how to make the film industry and sector, the industry we want....LONG LIVE THE INDUSTRY."

BY KARANJA JOHN (http://www.facebook.com/karanja.john.1)

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