The Kenya Film Commission recently hosted the fifth edition of the Kalasha Film and TV Market. The trade fair gives regional and international players in the TV and film industry a platform to exchange ideas, collaborate, share stories and develop business opportunities.
About 100 foreign films or commercial shoots take place annually in Kenya, creating employment for local filmmakers and affiliated creative professionals.
Kenya Film Commission (KFC) chief executive Timothy Owase said the agency’s mandate is to develop, promote and market the country’s film industry.
This year’s festival attracted more than 100 regional and international film experts and exhibitors who participated in the three-day trade fair at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.
Maureen Mbaka, Kenya’s chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, under whom the KFC falls, said the government will ensure a conducive environment for the film business to thrive.
“The objective of the Kalasha Market is to encourage growth and creativity in content creation, and such forums are a platform to exchange ideas and for mutual learning which is an important aspect of the progress of any industry, the film sector included,” said Ms Mbaka.
The festival featured film screenings, conferences, workshops, business-to-business talks and pitching sessions.
The panel discussion Bridging the Gap between Film and Media, moderated by Wangechi Murage, elicited a lively debate between industry veterans George Orido, Bonnie Mwali and Decker Ogada, and journalists.
This year’s festival offered creators a chance to pitch their content to potential buyers. KFC unveiled the My County My Story initiative to get screening in counties, said Cathy Gitahi of the film agency.
It was agreed that creators have the personal responsibility to seek publicity for their work in the same way they reach out to distributors to disseminate their content, instead of waiting around to be “discovered’’.
KFC’s Leticia Ouko said the agency would launch various filming locations in the country, this will be accessible to film producers and content creators on demand. Film producers can get details about a location without having to physically go there.
The final day of the festival was dedicated to screening short and feature films — Miss-Appointment, Mwanga, Kimya, and Bangarang. Krysteen Savane’s children's animation Superstaz, Betty Kathungu’s Family Meeting and South African Dumi Gumbi’s romantic comedy Love Lives Here were also shown.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the film industry employed 129,824 people in 2019. The Kenyan film and audiovisual sector contributed Ksh13 billion ($110.7 million) to the GDP that year.