Africa Film WebMeeting

Message from: owner-african-cinema-conference@XC.Org (
About: Kenyan Filmmaker Stumble onto Cash Source

Wed, 30 Oct 1996 10:30:11 -0500

Originally from: <owner-african-cinema-conference@XC.Org>
Originally dated: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 10:30:11 -0500

FILM-MAKERS STUMBLE ONTO CASH SOURCE, (The East African, Oct 14-20, 1996)

[African movie-makers showed off their wares at a Harare festival, reports
JOHN KARIUKI, and also got down to the crucial business of finding funding
and investment]

African film-makers are constantly searching for funds so it was with pained

delight that some of them discovered at a festival in Harare that money is
out there just waiting to be negotiated. "Delegates from East Africa were
surprised to learn that may of the bilateral agreements signed between
African governments and members of the European Union have a cultural
provision which includes means funding for films and art-related ventures,"
said the secretary of the Kenya Film Producers Association, Mr. Albert
Wandago, "The clauses have different requirements which favour either
collaboration between African and EU producers or joint projects by at least

three producers from different African countries." Mr. Wandago said that
only West Africans seemed to be aware for this provision and have used it
to procure funding for film projects. In some cases, producers from EU
states have used that same funding to do projects in Africa. The Nairobi
producer complained that the Kenya government had not explained this
cultural clause in relevant circles and producers were unaware that they
could source external funding through these agreements. The requirement for
that funding has now been simplified and collaborative projects by at least
two producers from different African countries qualify, Mr. Wandago said.

The Kenyan producer was speaking upon his return from the South African Film

Festival where French- and English-speaking African film-makers spent a week

showing off their works and exchanging ideas. Mr. Wandago called it "a
nourishing and educative experience." Kenya and Tanzania had three
delegates each, but Uganda was not represented. Kenya was the only East
African country with entries: "Rain Is Water" by Wandago, "Women's Agenda"
by Dommie Yambo-Odotte and "Battle For The Sacred Tree" by Wanjiru
Kinyanjui. Fifteen films were represented, two of them by black American
film makers. The mainstream winner was the newest version of "Cry The
Beloved Country", a South African production of Anant Singh of "Sarafina"
fame. Kenya's Dommie Yambo-Odotte won for best documentary. Mr. Wandago
said the main issue at the discussion was networking - marketing and pooling

of resources to overcome problems of finding funds and markets for local
films. There was emphasis on regional cooperation and Mr. Wandago said East
Africa was uniquely favoured by having two common languages. "Films for the
region can be made in either English or Kiswahili," he said. An example of
the successful soliciting of funds from corporate and individual investors
was by Burkina Faso film-maker Idrissa Quedraogo whose movie, "Tilai,"
received $20 million from donor agencies and private investors. The case
for film-makers in East Africa was explained by Ms. Yambo-Odotte whose
award-winning documentary was funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy. "We
are still confined to doing documentary films which are cheaper to produce
when ideally we should be looking to doing full feature films as in Zimbabwe

and South Africa, " she said. "But the real challenge is for governments to

provide incentives for investors in the film industries of the three
countries." In Kenya, the idea of introducing a levy on all movie tickets
and imported commercials to finance film projects has been put to the
government. A more ambitious initiative cited at the festival was the South

African government's offer of tax breaks for investment in film productions,

which proved extremely popular and brought in large sums. Kenya has one of
the oldest film industry institutions in the Kenya Institute of Mass
Communication, which has trained many producers from Anglophone African
countries. Said Dommie, "Kenya has no excuse for not having a vibrant film
industry because unlike other countries in the East, Central and West
Africa, we have had a film school and good exposure to film-making at a very

professional level." She said she hoped the Harare festival would prompt
governments and aspiring film-makers to learn from other African countries
which have not nurtured their film industries despite lack of funding and
technical back-up.

You may post a follow-up message or a new message. To send a reply directly to the author, you may click on the email address above.

If you would like to submit a message using your own mail program, send it to:

If you are following up this article, please include the following line at the beginning of your message:
In-Reply-To: 199610301530.KAA22888@dag.XC.Org