In Kenya, the government has scrapped the requirement for film and television producers to acquire a licence from film agents.
The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has recently published new guidelines that restrict the mandate of film agents in administering filming licences to only foreign filmmakers.
Commenting on the new guidelines, KFCB acting Chief Executive Christopher Wambua said, “In a bid to create an enabling environment for the youth to harness the opportunities in the local creative economy, KFCB has decided to redefine the role of film agents in Kenya with the view of confining the agents’ role to providing international standard services to foreign film and television producers.”
“The redefinition is meant to promote adherence with Section 4 (1) of the Films and Stage Plays Act, Cap 222 and will see filmmakers acquire licences from KFCB without having to go through a film agent,” Wambua added.
According to industry analysis, the new directive comes when Kenya’s entertainment industry is enjoying a change in fortunes as global and regional streaming giants invest hundreds of millions of dollars to create original content. In August, pay-TV service provider MultiChoice Kenya launched Sanura, an original Swahili telenovela expected to run for three years.
It is worth noting that MultiChoice has invested millions of dollars in producing the series, set entirely in Lamu, hiring dozens of cast and crew from the local community. In addition, Netflix and Walt Disney have also set up shops in the country to produce original local content for their streaming platforms that target a growing African audience.
Kenya’s Section 4 of the Film and Stage Plays Act obligates filmmakers to register as local film agents or seek the services of registered agents before they can obtain filming licences.