The Kenya International film festival takes place between the 21st and 30th of October this year.Looking at the calender of events there are a lot of activities planned for anyone interested in film industry in Kenya.The opening film for the festival is the ‘First Grader” directed by Justin Chadwick and tells the story of the 84 year old Kimani Ngang’a Maruge who at his age decided to go to school when the government introduced free education just so he could learn to read the Bile.Looking at the program for this festival i was looking for any mentions on how the film industry’s growth could be spurred and there was none,here i mention areas for consideration.
The little black dress gained popularity in part thanks to film through Audrey Hepburn role as Holly Golightly in the 1960’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.Looking at most Kenyan films or television productions it is very rare to see the actors in these productions dressed by Kenyan fashion houses.We can learn a lot from the Nigerians who dress up their Nolly wood casts with creations that have Nigeria stamped all over them from the infamous head gears to the fabrics …..so much so that we have emulated or even been inspired by their sense of fashion .Just take a look at Kenyan weddings and even on national holidays most of what Kenyans wear is inspired by our Naija kin.
It is time Kenyan fashion industry woke up to the immense opportunities out there and started dressing up our television and film stars for free.Not only will it stir the industries growth it will also be a way for them to generate publicity and free advertisement to millions of tv viewing Kenyans.This will not only generate growth for the industry but will spur creativity and hopefully we will see emerging designers throw in haute couture or high fashion.
Opportunities for Growth
Other areas of growth for the film industry include locations.The wild beast migration was voted as the 8th wonder of the world and tourists flock in droves to Maasai Maara to view this one of a kind spectacle .While appreciating the role that the Magical Kenya advert on international news channels like CNN has done to spur tourist visits to the country,i would like to ask the Kenya film commission what special interest it has taken to build or market Kenya as a film location.We have amazing scenery right here and since the Constant Gardener was shot here i haven’t heard of a big budget movie that has been filmed on location.
Being a member of the Zanzibar film festival i recently recieved a message that was sent out to all group members to submit film scripts for consideration.Being very patriotic i am also a member of the Kenya International Film Festival and i have never seen or heard of a request for scripts .There is no way our industry is going to grow if we are not willing to nurture local talent and especially script writers because a good script is what makes or breaks a production.Every year we have the national drama and music festivals which are show cases in Kenyan creativity .We have some of the best scripts that would give some local TV shows a run for their money if we so wished.
Other areas that should look into ways of tapping into the innumerable opportunities film provides are musical score writers,make up artistes,special effects,set designers and location managers.
Last but not least we need to come up with an industry news letter that will inform Kenyans on whats happening in the film and TV industry,provide credible ratings of shows and critiques but also identify areas of growth.