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Filmmakers put a strong case for State funding to create jobs

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FRIDAY OCTOBER 14 2016

KPMG director Wambui Chege addresses the film summit on October 13, 2016. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA 

By JAMES NGUNJIRI
Film-makers are pushing for State financial support citing success stories elsewhere in Africa and the sector’s immense potential for GDP contribution.
The industry is estimated to contribute approximately Sh7 billion ($70 million) to Kenya’s GDP, a two-day Africa Film Finance Summit in Nairobi was told on Thursday.
Out of this, Sh2.3 billion ($22.5 million) comes from the Riverwood production that is essentially the informal side of the industry.
Speakers at the summit said the industry has a huge growth potential and should be regarded as a catalyst for both direct and indirect employment in different sectors of the economy.
Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers adviser Ndiritu Muriithi said the government ought to look at what is happening in countries like South Africa to support the sector.
South Africa’s department of trade and industry offers specific fiscal incentives to encourage local content generation as well as attract international productions.
“Every econometric study has shown that this sector can create 100,000 jobs. Right now, it is about 10,000 jobs, but it can go to around 100,000 jobs within a very short time of about two to three years,” he said.
Unesco’s definition of the creative economy includes performing arts, festivals, visual arts, film, television, radio, video, photography and interactive media.
Mr Muriithi welcomed the move by the government to push broadcasters to increase local content to 40 per cent this year and to 60 per cent by 2018.
“Assuming this translates to 4.8 hours a day (40 per cent of 12 hours), the total purchase per station is approximately $27,000 (Sh2.7 million). If the minimum 40 per cent local content rule is replicated across the continent, the audio visual entrepreneurs would earn $3.89 billion (Sh389 million),” he added.
Accurate statistics
He said the national and Pan-African cultural organisations must work closely with national bureaus of statistics to capture, collate and analyse data on cultural and creative industries.  
“In addition, they should commission or cause to be commissioned baseline surveys on the economic and social impact of the creative economy,” he told the forum.
A senior technology adviser at African Media Initiative Meredith Beal said by 2020, 90 per cent of all IP data traffic will be video, 60 per cent of it Internet video.
“There will be 50 billion connected devices, 15 billion video-enabled devices connected to broadband IP. As Wi-Fi becomes ubiquitous, more and more video content will be consumed. On-demand TV/video content will surpass live/linear broadcasts,” said Mr Beal.
More than 200 delegates drawn from Africa’s film industry, channel owners and financial sector are attending the event to discuss ways of promoting and accelerating development of the film and audio visual sector in Africa through commercial funding.
The finance summit is offering a platform for financial institutions, film-makers, entrepreneurs and regulators to learn from peers on what it takes to fund the sector.


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