Nakuru Film Creators Advised To Exploit Scenic Sites

Film producers in the country have continued missing out in the global multi- billion film business despite the country having unique movie shooting scenic sites.

Nakuru based film producers have consequently been advised to exploit the scenic sites found in the county to spice up their work particularly now when the film industry is gaining popularity following introduction of digital television broadcasting.

County Tourism and Culture Chief Officer Ms Rosemary Kimani singled out Menengai crater, Hells Gate Gorge, Makalia falls, Kariandusi Prehistoric site, Njoro Caves, lakes Nakuru and Elementaita as some of the scenic sites that could be exploited for film making.

She said Nakuru was set to raise its profile as a destination for film-making by utilizing the geographical features that would also help market the devolved unit in the international film market.

While noting that Kenya had been a popular location for American and European film productions, Ms Kimani explained that Hollywood in particular had a long standing affair with Kenya that dates back to the 1930s when adventure films such as the Snows of Kilimanjaro starring Gregory Peck, King Solomon’s Mines with Stewart Granger and Magambo featuring Clark Gable and Ava Gardner were shot, in addition to the recent Out of Africa, Mountains of the Moon and Nowhere in Africa being shot and produced in the country.

She said it was wrong for Kenyans to continue watching foreign movies at a time when thousands of talented youths are faced with unemployment adding that even with the liberalization of airwaves, many stations were still airing foreign content mainly from the Western world, Nigeria and India.

‘We have some of the best filming locations in the world and the weather that can be easily predicted adds to our potential as a filming destination,’ stated the chief officer.

In an interview with Kenya News Agency, the Chief Officer stated that the devolved unit had leveraged on this year’s 6th Edition of Kalasha International Film and TV Market, to market the county as a film shooting destination and TV production due to its scenic places.

While noting that there are 200 million regional Kiswahili speakers looking for Kenya to provide content, Ms Kimani said Nakuru was now banking on filming as one of the initiatives to increase the number of tourists visiting the devolved unit.

‘We have identified this growing interest and this has reinforced our strategy to increase the volumes of visitors coming to shoot films. With filming, we are certain of Nakuru being a household name for movie makers,’ said Ms Kimani

The Chief Officer noted that the film industry could help to change the international perception of a country by highlighting its culture, norms, creativity and hospitality to a growing film audience.

She voiced the county government’s commitment to doubling the growth of creative industries through both private and public sector partnerships aimed at improving infrastructure and capacity to commercialize creative talent to enable artists to reap vast fortunes.

She added that the devolved unit could use creative industries as a distinct tourism marketing vehicle geared towards promoting the county’s unique cultural identity and visibility adding that since culture and the creative industry are intertwined, there was a great scope to position the creative industry as a pillar of the devolved unit’s tourism sector.

She observed that globally, creative industries have been boosting economies adding that Kenya should stop being marketed as a ‘consuming and filming destination’ but as ‘a production destination.’

She said for the country’s creative economy to take off and remain a sustainable industry generating employment and economic output, Kenyans must be the primary consumers and beneficiaries

While regretting that Kenyans were increasingly becoming heavy consumers of Mexican shows and Nigerian movies, Ms Kimani said it was time both levels of governments channeled more investments towards research in creative industries in order to quantify their true value, ensure decision making about arts and culture by leaders are serious, and continue encouraging local creative industries by opening distribution channels and ensuring that creators get their full dues.

Ms Kimani noted that consumption of Bollywood and Nollywood movies globally was reshaping the economies of India and Nigeria respectively and that since Kenya relies heavily on tourism as a source of wealth and revenue, there was need to do more to build strong synergies between the tourism sector and the creative economy.

She explained that creative industry encompasses a diverse repertoire cutting across music, drama, literature, audio-visual and visual arts, architecture and other artistic and cultural expressions and added that the creative economy requires new modes of thinking to appreciate and invest in its value.

Source: Kenya News Agency