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Kenya's movie industry struggles to survive amid pandemic

Movie production on process   -  
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Notable names like Lupita Nyongo and Eddie Gathegi already soaring high in Hollywood, Kenyan Film Industry is a powerhouse in the region that rakes in millions of dollars in terms of revenue.

Just like in other countries, the industry suffered a major setback when lockdowns and restrictions on public gatherings were put in place by the government as part of the containment measures for the spread of Covid-19.

"So I shot two films, Isiiro which is a Luhya film, and Tipo which is a Luo film and with the pandemic, everything went to a halt," Joyce Indiegu, a film producer revealed.

The situation was so dire and had far-reaching implications for both the filmmakers and the actors.

Felix Kamau, a director of photography lamented the imposed curfew for the low production.

"Curfew made it hard for us to achieve what we wanted, projects couldn’t run as planned," he said.

Another actor by the name Tana Muse said, "I am not going to lie. It was a very hard time for me, but the moment the country was opened I had a few opportunities but again very slim."

There were efforts to help the industry players during the lockdown but the stakeholders maintain that it wasn’t sustainable.

The Kenya Film Commission again came up with an idea of trying to support the filmmakers by creating a fund but when you talk creative it is broad so whatever they tried to help out didn’t reach everyone.

Despite the fact that Video on Demand platforms are providing alternative ways of distributing movies, Kenyan content creators are still hesitant about trying the streaming sites in order to earn more.

"Do we now go to streaming sites that are also not favorable because you find some give you 40% and take 60% but you do all the work and you pay the tax too on your 40%?" Joyce asked.

As Kenya's government is yet to lift the restrictions on public gatherings, the sustainability of the film industry will depend on how innovative the players become.

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