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Kenya signs film pact with France

FRANCE, May 18 – Kenya became a key attraction at the Cannes International Film Festival following the signing of cooperation agreement between Kenya Film Commission (KFC) and the Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l\’image animée (CNC) of France.

The pact signed by Peter Mutie, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Film Commission and Eric Garandeau, the President of the CNC was witnessed by Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio at the CNC Pavillion in Cannes.  Kenya\’s Ambassador to France Salma Ahmed, KFC Chairman, Joel Ruhu and Information Secretary, Ezekiel Mutua were present.

Mr Mutie said the pact seeks to enhance cooperation between Kenya and France in the area of Film production, Marketing and distribution as well as preservation of film heritage of both countries.

Under the pact, the parties will promote the co-production of films that focus on topics of common interest and favour involvement of individuals and companies whose activities are linked to the cinematographic industry. Both countries made a commitment to support cross participation of national works in festivals and other cinema events organised in their respective countries.

The agreement obligates the countries to broaden the scope of the exchange of information and experience in cinema policies; with special emphasis in exchanges relating to training of experts and educators. It will also open doors for the organization of specialised seminars and workshops which could play a role in formulation of related educational and scientific objectives.

Kenya and France will contribute to the collection of such film materials as will enhance national film collections and promotion of the national interest of the two countries.

This is the first time Kenya has signed an international Film agreement with a European Country and it is envisaged other agreements will follow suit. Already, there is a move towards that direction because countries such as Nigeria, South Africa and Denmark have immediately made contact with the KFC and indicated interest to pursue similar cooperation with Kenya.

Speaking during the signing, Mr Poghisio hailed the signing of the agreement as a major milestone towards the realisation of Kenya\’s potential in the film industry and commended Kenya Film Commission for the landmark agreement.

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\’\’This is great for both Kenya and France since it will herald a series of film products that promote our national values, culture and heritage," said Mr Poghisio.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Amb. Ahmed who said that the signing of the MoU has added to the menu of the excellent Kenyan products available to the French Market.

\’\’Up to the signing of this MoU, Kenya\’s Trade with France was basically in horticulture and floriculture and it is desirable to see the Film Industry come on board in a big way as a major area of exchange between the two countries.\’\’

Mr Garandeau, the President of CNC described the agreement as a landmark and decisive step in cementing the relationship between Kenya and France. \’\’ This MoU closely binds our cinema industry together. \’\’ He said, adding that  the pact spells France\’s willingness to assist Kenya in identifying joint actions aimed at preserving and enhancing the local film heritage.

\’\’It is a win-win agreement between the two parties,\’\’ said the CNC boss.

The Film industry in Kenya has been identified as a sector with potential to spur economic growth and help in the realisation of Vision 2030 through Tourism attraction, investment and employment creation.

Currently, the Film industry is generating over Sh3 billion annually but its projected potential is estimated at over  Sh40 billion. The sector has capacity to create over 250,000 jobs annually.

The Kenyan Film landscape has graced the silver screens for over fifty years; from 1950\’s King Solomon\’s Mines to the 2005 box-office hit the Constant Gardener. The Lush Ngong Highlands, seen in Sydney Pollack\’s Oscar winning Out of Africa to the arid Shaba reserves outwitted and outlasted in \’Survivor 3\’.

Kenya offers a perfect combination of beautiful filming location, natural light an array of wildlife and warm people all set in adventurous territory.

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This years\’ Film Carnival which kicked off on May 11 and closes on May 22 brings together the world\’s leading film makers, actors and artists.

Mr Poghisio said this year\’s festival was exciting adding that \’\’Cannes has installed fantastic innovations, here and there. It is a great thing for Kenya.\’\’
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