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Youth fund boost to filmmakers

Kenya’s film industry got a boost on Wednesday with the launch of a Sh300 million revolving fund that will offer loans to young filmmakers.

The initiative dubbed, Take 254, is sponsored by the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) and will attract an interest rate of eight per cent.

Financing will range between Sh500,000 and Sh25 million with a six-year repayment period. It will target film companies with a minimum shareholding of 70 per cent held by persons aged between 18 and 35.

An advisory committee of stakeholders from the film industry has been set up to vet the quality of manuscripts by filmmakers applying for funding and will advise Youth Fund on the same.

A loan will only be disbursed once the applicant has registered their script with the Kenya Copyright Board, attended a mandatory pre-production training and submitted a budget using a provided template.

Only films above 60 minutes are eligible. TV series may also be financed on a case by case basis.

The Fund will hold some rights of the production, but this will fully revert to the producer once repayment is completed.

The initiative enters an industry dominated by  filmmakers way above 35 years. However, opportunities abound for young filmmakers to fill the 40 per cent local content quota on broadcasting stations.

Youth Fund board chairman Gor Semelang’o said that the sector is currently beneath its potential of generating up to 250,000 jobs.

“Currently, the film industry is generating approximately Sh6 billion in revenue annually against a potential of over Sh40 billion,” he said.

Kenya Film Commission acting Chief Executive Officer, Eric Mwangi said the industry needs about Sh 5 billion annually.

“Most of the budgeted funds are mainly used in the actual production and post-production processes leaving little or no funds for the crucial marketing and distribution processes,” he said.

Mr Semelang’o also added that there is a plan for a CD manufacturing plant which would help to beat copyright pirates by reducing the cost of producing DVDs.