Film Industry During The Covid Period
During a stakeholders meeting in 2020, the Kenya Film Commission acknowledged the challenges of filmmakers during the pandemic. Timothy Owase, Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Film Commission, talked about different funding opportunities to support filmmakers in the industry.
According to Nick Wambugu, a Kenyan filmmaker “During the Corona period my experience as a film maker has been a rollercoaster from the initial Covid-19 panic and lock down to when I had to adjust to the new rules and conditions. My biggest take away from that period was understanding the world can stop, clients can stop coming and so the ultimate thing for creatives to do self-projects and self-creation rather than relying on outside support.”
The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage launched the “Work for Pay” Kshs 100 million stimulus package for artists, actors and musicians at the Kenya Cultural Centre. This is in line with the Executive Order issued by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta on 6th April 2020, directing the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund to avail Kshs 100 million to cushion those in the creative industry during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cosmas Bii as a film producer from Uasin Ngishu, was one of the 70 filmmakers that received Film Empowerment Funding from the Kenya Film Commission. He received Kshs 250,000 to produce a short film “Nurse”. Later when the Kenya Film Commission announced the awarded projects of the first cycle of its Film Empowerment Program launched in April 2020, Cosmas Bii again received 2 Million of the 1st Cycle of Empowerment funding to produce the film “Lame”. According to Cosmas Bii, funding by Kenya Film Commission has helped recipients become established and recognized filmmakers in the country.
Mildred Achoch, a Kenyan screenwriter, stated in an interview, “The film industry has been growing rapidly over the years. With the huge profits accrued; actors amongst other key players in the industry are suffering from less payment, harassment, and intimidation even after working on projects that provided good returns for the production.“