By Winnie Kabintie
Film, Tv and theatre stakeholders have earlier today unanimously resolved to shred the new proposed regulations in the Film Bill, which had been presented by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB).
The controversial proposals, which are being termed as “punitive and draconian”, provoked a social media fury from industry players yesterday, forcing KFCB to call for a stakeholder’s consultation meeting today morning at the National Museum to discuss the way forward.
In the meeting hosted by KFCB boss Dr Ezekiel Mutua, stakeholders who ranged from producers, actors, writers, bloggers among others said the Proposed amendments, which seek to among other issues raise costs and fines of filming licenses and curtail creativity, was in bad faith and drafted without their involvement.
Consequently, on a motion moved by one George Gachara a film producer and writer with the Nest Arts Company, the industry players resolved to have the document containing the proposed clauses shredded as it also lacked a policy framework and demanded that KFCB begins the process afresh.
“The constitution gives power to the citizens and this document is not something we can use as a reference for this sector so in good faith I suggest we shred the proposals and engage afresh to cup up with a new way forward,” Gachara said.
In his defence, Ezekiel Mutua said that the proposed clauses were just proposals and the Bill had not been drafted, adding that he had invited players to air their grievances and make their recommendations.
Mutua further added that a review of Cap222 of the Film Act is necessary to “accommodate technological developments in film production / distribution” adding that the section contains clauses that should be amended as they are irrelevant today.
“fees for shooting films, for instance, don’t make any sense to me.KFCB management put up proposals that would guide the process,it’s not a new law and I apologise to all of you for calling it a film bill,” he said.
The industry players stuck to their guard that they would not make any consultation over the proposals at hand as they are since that would be Okaying a flawed legislation and telling the government that they are okey with it. They threatened to walk out of the meeting in protest if Ezekiel Mutua failed to officially declare the document null and void.
KFCB overstepping its mandate
The industry players also accused KFCB of overstepping its mandate and failing to understand the difference between classification and censorship and also for encroaching into the theatre space when they should only be focussing on films as the name suggests.
“There is a lot of issues in the industry and censorship is the least of concerns, the industry needs incentives more than anything else now and this is what we should be discussing,” said one of the thespians.
They also proposed for the KFCB board to be vetted.
“When KFCB was formed back in 1962, it was meant to classify films and stage plays hence has been regulated by the Kenya Films and Stage plays Act Cap 222. This new bill now even seeks to classify broadcast and online content, gaming applications, publications and related materials. This is a serious case of a government institution that is overstepping its boundaries no doubt with the support of the powers that be,”
George Barasa aka Jojiboro who was representing the LGBT community also accused KFCB of failing to recognise them. He also asked the board to lift bans rendered on productions targeting the group, including his music “same love” which was banned in February this year.
Liz Chogoti, CEO of the Kenya Film Commission (KFC) assured the stakeholders that there is a legal framework waiting to be published and that the body will push for the policy to be instituted and subsequently put an industry Bill together, which will provide participation for all stakeholders.