NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has called on Kenyan film-makers to showcase Kenyan culture in the stories they tell.
Amina says Kenya’s diverse cultures risk being eroded in favour of Western culture which is promoted by the permeation of foreign films and programming.
“The continuous overflow of films from other parts of the world has resulted in what we may call cultural alienation. It is therefore an urgent necessity, even an imperative, that we promote Africa’s own capacity in film and television productions, in order to eliminate the growing cultural estrangement and social disorientation,” she said at the conclusion of a film-makers workshop at the African Union offices in Nariobi.
Jane Munene, a Kenyan film-maker and Executive Director of the Pan African Federation of Film-makers (FEPASI) echoed her sentiments arguing that the reason Nigeria’s movie industry is so vibrant is because they make their movies for themselves.
“In Eastern Africa I think we make films for other people. Other audiences first and we forget that even Hollywood never makes films for us. What we get actually is after they’ve shown their films to everybody else then those films can come to Africa.
They also both agreed that training is necessary in order to better the quality of African productions and to make them more competitive on the global stage.
“There is massive potential in Africa which needs to be harnessed through education and other support mechanisms,” Amina said.
And in the drive to harness said potential, Munene said, FEPASI is working with the African Union to see an African Audio-Visual and Cinema Commission operationalised at the January 2016 AU Summit.
“The commission would for instance set standards for film training but it’s not a cure-all,” Munene said.
FEPASI through the AU are also working out the modalities of setting up an African film fund to catalyse film production on the continent.
All objectives, Amina said, geared towards the AU Agenda 2063 as, “the creative sector is not just about self expression. The sector has tremendous potential to contribute to the attainment of sustainable livelihoods.”
“Nollywood offers the best example of the potential of the creative industry. Today, Nollywood is only second to India’s Bollywood and produces more movies than Hollywood in the United States. Although Nollywood’s revenues are not at par with Bollywood’s or Hollywood’s, it employs over a million people, making it the country’s largest employer after agriculture.”