An all New Kenya Film and TV Professional Association
Can the Kenyan film and TV industry one day become a global force to reckon with?
The newly elected team of the Kenya Film and TV Professional Association (KFTPA) strongly believes so. The association was created in 2002, by a small volunteer team of dedicated filmmakers, to promote development of the then nascent Kenyan TV and Film industry. Currently, the association has slightly over 100 members and hopes to increase membership through ambitious plans to recruit students and other aspiring filmmakers into the association.
While the association is and has been one of the most active within the industry, many outside of Kenya’s burgeoning creative industry have not heard much about it. But Victor Muniafu, the Association’s chairman hopes to change this situation, “We created the position of a KFTPA marketing committee member in order to have someone in charge of promoting our association and industry to our stakeholders. Our stakeholders are not just government and the private sector, but members and potential entrants into the industry.”
Josie Ndanu, a former advertising creative and film entrepreneur now occupies the newly created position of head of marketing. She will work closely with head of strategy, Linda Karuru to promote the association both within and outside of Kenya.
The association is not working in isolation and has received recognition from the government. Njoki Muhoho, a KFTPA Committee member sits on the Kenyan Film Commission Board as an industry representative. “Film is an industry that requires government support in order to grow. We need training, film lotteries and film funds to grow our Kenyan film industry, as well as tax rebates to attract foreign filmmakers. We view the government as our partner and we’re hoping to work closely with the newly elected government to push for increased funding to the industry.”
And the Kenyan government has reason to take notice of the film industry. In 2011 Draft Kenya Film Policy it is noted, “The industry is a major foreign currency earner if tapped optimally. It is known to have the potential to generate over Ksh 40 Billion Kenya Shillings and has the potential to create over 250,000 jobs.”
In a country like Kenya, with high unemployment rates amongst the youth, such statistics cannot go ignored for too long. Through the Kenya Film Commission, the Kenyan government has negotiated a memorandum of understanding with South Africa for Film and TV production, which will be signed in May this year. Such agreements will lead to more cooperation between Kenya and other more established film industries in the content and across Africa.
While the KFTPA is aggressively strengthening partnerships with stakeholders and increasing visibility, their main commitment is to Kenyan TV and Film professionals. Victor Muniafu is passionate about improving the welfare of industry professionals. “We must get aggressive about promoting our association, letting current and future filmmakers know more about our association and its benefits. Improving welfare for TV and film professionals is our biggest concern. If we ourselves treat our industry like a jua-kali industry how can we expect other people not to?”
The KFTPA team has so far made some gains in professionalizing the industry and improving welfare, by introduction of medical schemes for its members and a partnership with Jamii Bora Sacco. The development of a code of Ethics for Kenyan filmmakers is also under development.
Some might argue that the SACCO and medical scheme may be long-term benefits for members, however, Jenny Pont, a long term member of the KFTPA, has strong belief in the short term and medium term benefits of being a member, “ The KFTPA has real benefits and has the potential to do even more for its members. There’s the access to a wide network of industry peers, access to information on industry best practices and standard rates and we are also lobbying for members to get funding for attendance of film festivals, and hopefully soon, we will also help members access training opportunities both locally and abroad.”
With an abundance of ambitious plans to professionalize the industry, source funding for film training, sponsorship of attendance at film festivals by KFTPA members, and creating mutually beneficial agreements with government ministries and counties, Victor Muniafu remains optimistic that the KFTPA will be able to deliver. “We have the best of both worlds in this new team. On one hand we industry veterans like Jenny Pont, Zorro Lukhwili and myself, who understand the history of the Kenyan film industry and have been tirelessly working for years to move this industry forward.
We also have a wealth of fresh ideas from younger filmmakers like Toni Kamau, who is working under me as vice chairperson, as well as Wambui Kairo and Feisal Malik –who are both very skilled and dedicated mobilizers and organizers. Peter Mudamba our treasurer is as hardworking as one can get and he has a fantastic assistant in Victor Kamende. There is a lot of good energy here and we will create good gains for the Kenyan Film and TV industry. Of this I’m certain.”
Only time will tell what the new KFTPA committee will do in its current term, but we at Film Biz Africa wish them the best, and we will be watching, so stay tuned for more updates on the KFTPA.
For more information on KFTPA, kindly visit their website