Filmmaking in Kenya: The Voyage
Nicodemus Okioma, John Mugubi

World over, there is a new trajectory that apprehends the significance of filmmaking and forward-looking nations have swiftly embedded film in their national culture and psyche, with the resultant effect of tremendous socioeconomic and political development. Veritably, all the developed nations and emerging economies in the world have strong and vibrant filmmaking policies. China, Brazil, India and South Africa are cases in point. Little wonder huge fiscal and personnel resources have been allocated by respective governments to document and archive films not only made within their boundaries but also from without. Whether factual or fiction, films have been used in diverse fields and disciplines - in science, humanities or/and arts - as a credible source of information, innovation as well as a premise to come up with administrative and political policies. Conversely, Africa fares rather badly in documentation in almost all fronts, a fact largely attributed to oral tradition as a mode of passing and preserving information. The African people’s origin, movement, lifestyle, medicine, industry, agriculture, arts, architecture, geography, culture, religion, socio-political structure, commerce, warfare are some of the areas that are worst affected – inadequately documented. This cheerless picture quickly solidifies the myth that Africa and its inhabitants never existed until the coming of foreigners; be they Europeans or Asians. The Kenya filmmaking industry is one such casualty. Very little effort has been directed towards coming up with a compilation of filmmaking in Kenya. Until recently, film training was only offered in vocational colleges. Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC), started in 1976, was solely technically oriented. The overwhelming interest in filmmaking was noticed by universities in Kenya who have since opened film production departments to tap into the increasing numbers of film students trooping out of the country for further studies. The number of film scholars has begun to swell and it is expected that intellectual publications on film and cinema will ameliorate as well. This paper endeavors to lay the groundwork for such a discourse. Rudimentary in structure and form, the genesis of filmmaking in Kenya is be traced and tracked from pre to post independence, all the way to the postmodern Kenya. The guiding framework is be hinged on the 5WsH of journalism; who made the films, Where, When and what they are about. How and why portions are delved into later on. Acknowledging the enormity of the task at hand, a careful sampling of notable films across the Kenya cinema spectrum were picked and highlighted to paint a vivid picture and to be inclusive as much as possible.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijmpa.v3n1a5