In Summary
  • Mwarogo and Mutune are among the growing number of young film makers in Kenya and beneficiaries of the government directive that repealed import duty on filming equipment’s and capital expenditure.
  • The combination of a rich cultural heritage with new media and technological opportunities has led to the emergence of a new breed of storyteller – the independent filmmaker.

    The directive on local content programming was issued by the government in January with a view to creating more jobs in the creative industry.

Films are not only pieces of creative expression, but they are also tools of communication and raising awareness, and a way of calling for social change.

In Kenya, film not only provides income-generating opportunities, but it also enables social development by providing a safe, creative space for new voices and ideas.

This is the reality that motivated Ronald Mwarogo, alias, Gift, 28, to found Gift Payne Productions, whose movies are airing on Maisha Magic and Maisha Swahili on both DStv and GOtv.

The Malindi-based film-maker is riding high on the wave of his newest movie, Dzimene: The Spell of Death. The movie is a time-period thriller exploring Giriama culture.

“After working as a video producer for years, I felt it was time to focus on local film production,” he explained during an interview.

He added, “I have since found a footing in film production and I am now focused to bring out the best of Giriama traditional culture. I believe, their culture is rich and worth highlighting.”

REVENUE EARNER

Jinna Mutune is another film producer based in Nairobi. Her work has been screened in Dallas, in the United States.

Earlier in the year, Mutune cut deals with two airlines, Kenya Airways and Emirates, to offer her movie Leo in-flight. Leo has also been screened on Multichoice’s M-Net Channels on DStv and GOtv reaching many households across Africa.

Mwarogo and Mutune are among the growing number of young film-maker in Kenya and beneficiaries of the government directive that repealed import duty on filming equipment’s and capital expenditure.

The combination of a rich cultural heritage with new media and technological opportunities has led to the emergence of a new breed of storyteller the independent film-maker.

Jinna Mutune is another film producer based in Nairobi. Her work has been screened in Dallas, U.S. Earlier in the year, Mutune cut deals with two airlines Kenya Airways and Emirates to offer her ‘Leo’ movie in-flight. PHOTO | FILE

Jinna Mutune is another film producer based in Nairobi. Her work has been screened in Dallas, U.S. Earlier in the year, Mutune cut deals with two airlines Kenya Airways and Emirates to offer her ‘Leo’ movie in-flight. PHOTO | FILE

These film-makers cannot be divorced from their environment, and therefore play a critical role in contributing to positive social and political development.

Four years ago, the Kenyan government removed the import duty of 25 per cent and VAT of 16 per cent on television cameras, digital cameras and video recorders in a move to create employment and generate income and promote the entertainment industry.

The government, through then Minister of Finance Uhuru Kenyatta, also granted 100 per cent investment deduction on capital expenditure incurred by a film producer on purchase of any filming equipment.

This was done to leapfrog the film industry, which had lagged behind in comparison with other destinations such as South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria.

Today, the Kenya film industry has grown and the government has recognized the importance of the arts as a revenue earner and that is a cause of celebration.

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