In December 2020, the state published the Kenya Film Bill, 2020 for public review and participation.
Usually, the draft documents are examined by the public up to 21 days from the day of publication.
The proposed film bill is particularly interesting, probably because the state of the film industry in Kenya has been an area of vast discussion in terms of licensing and broadcast.
The draft document is categorized into many segments: the first part assesses the objects of the Act, guiding principles, and their scope; the second part details Film Policy and Plan, which include monitoring the implementation of the national film plan; and the third element details the National Film Entities (such as the establishment of the Kenya Film Commission, the Kenya Film Academy, the Kenya Film Classification Board and the Kenya Film Fund).
The bill also touches on licensing, offences, penalties for those offenses and the powers and functions of the National and County Governments.
With that in mind, let’s examine some important elements discussed in the document should the document prove too long to read through.
First and foremost, the bill proposes the establishment of the following entities:
- the Kenya Film Commission
- the Kenya Film Classification Board
- the Kenya Film Academy
- the Kenya Film Fund
The proposed Act’s guiding principle states that all people taking part in the film industry must not be discriminated against, and must be treated equally.
Besides the establishment of the said offices, the bill suggests the development of a National Fil Policy and Plan – all of which will be reviewed after a five-year period.
The Plan also tasks the ICT CS to prepare a report on the implementation of the policy.
In addition, the CS shall be tasked to ‘develop and implement a fair, transparent and equitable strategy for ensuring access to education and employment opportunities in the film industry.’
The Kenya Film Commission
The proposed organization shall apparently execute many functions, including:
- develop, promote and market the film industry locally and internationally
- identify programmes that facilitate growth of the film industry
- generate, manage and disseminate film industry research, information and market data
- act as a national repository and archive for the Kenyan film industry; (e) promote and facilitate the development of local film content
- Develop the criteria for the identification and certification of what constitutes a Kenyan Film
The Commission will be headed by a CEO appointed by the ICT CS.
Kenya Film Academy
This is another body proposed by the bill.
Simply put, the Academy will be tasked with offering training in cinematic and performing arts and avail opportunities for talented people in the film space, among other duties.
Kenya Film Fund
The Fund will be managed by the Commission, and will, as a whole, support the industry by developing film infrastructure and funding local production, to mention a few.
Kenya Film Classification Board
As its name suggests, the Classification Board shall classify movies (including prohibited kinds), posters, and commercials, as well as register/license film agents and film makers.
A corporate or its employees in the film industry may commit an offense. To this end, the bill proposes that a ‘person shall be personally liable for an offense, whether committed by them on their own account or as an agent of the body corporate.’
Guilty bodies shall be fined up to KES 500,000 or 10 years in prison or both. Individuals may be liable to up to KES 100K or a jail term not exceeding 5 years, or both.
It should be noted that the proposals presented in the bill are not final, so Kenyans have some time to examine the document and submit their commentary.