The Kenyan ministers are very unhappy that the producers are filming in South Africa rather than Kogelo, Kenya, and as a consequence they are amending their laws to entice future filmmakers to their country. The minister states the producer is the same company that made a movie about Mandela in South Africa, although he doesn't name the company. If the minister is referencing Invictus, the producer of that movie was Clint Eastwood. [See emphasis below.] In any case, the ministers are upset that Kenya is not financially benefiting from the film. The parliamentary question is reprinted below, and the full document is embedded below the fold.
February 16, 2011 - Question No.570, pg. 18[Update: If Eastwood is the producer of the movie mentioned above, then the final product could be very, very interesting indeed because Eastwood is not an Obama fan. I live in hope of a hard-hitting, truthful story.]
FILMING OF PRESIDENT OBAMA MOVIE IN SOUTH AFRICA
Mr. Kioni asked the Minister for Information and Communications:-
(a) to state to the House the circumstances under which the relatives of the President of the United States of America were taken to South Africa to act in a movie about the said President;
(b) why the filming was not done at Kogelo, in Kenya; and,
(c) what efforts he is making to ensure that Kenya benefits from such opportunities in future which would help market Kenya while creating employment opportunities for the youth in the film industry. The Assistant Minister for Information and Communications (Mr. Khaniri):
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) My Ministry is not able to establish under what circumstances the relatives of United States of America (USA) President were taken to South Africa to act a movie on the said President. Private producers are not bound by any legal framework to do movies production in the country, even if those productions are about Kenya.
(b) Private movie producers choose movie locations based on various considerations, and, as stated above, they are not obliged to act a movie in any particular location. The Ministry is unable to establish whether the above mentioned movie was, indeed, produced and if it was, the reasons why it was acted in South Africa as alleged.
(c)The Kenyan Government recognizes the importance of the film industry and the potential the sector possesses. To this end, the Government has done the following:-
(i) established the Kenya Filming Commission through Legal Notice No.10 of
(ii) formulated the National Filming Policy, which is awaiting approval; (iii) zero-rated VAT taxable goods and services to local film producers; (iv) one hundred per cent investment reduction on capital expenditure incurred by a filming producer on purchase of any filming equipment; (v) exemption of Import Duty on all four-wheel drive vehicles, especially those designed for tourism purposes, where such purposes include filming;
18 Wednesday, 16th February, 2011(A)
(vi) the removal of Import Duty of 25 per cent and VAT of 16 per cent on television cameras, digital cameras and video camera recorders is also being considered as an incentive to film makers;
(vii) marketing of Kenya as a centre of excellence in film production;
(viii) hosting of the annual Kalasha Film and Television awards to recognize the best film productions in the Kenya International Film Festival.
Mr. Kioni: Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to appreciate the answer given by the Assistant Minister. However, in part “a” and part “b”, he does not use very kind words. All said and done, a similar exercise was carried out in South Africa by the same company when they were producing a movie on Nelson Mandela. The South Africans were able to flex their muscle and denied the American company an opportunity to get that acted in America, or outside South Africa. Why is it that as a country, or a Government or Ministry, we were not able to allow this to happen in our country? Is it in the knowledge of the Assistant Minister that this actually happened? If not, it may not be very helpful to get an answer from him.
Mr. Khaniri: Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I regret that the hon. Member did not find my answer to parts “a” and “b” to be very kind. However, that is the situation as it is.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as regards the South African experience as he has narrated to us, I want to believe that probably they have a legal framework to enforce that. What we are lacking, as a Ministry or a regulator, of this particular industry is a legal framework. That is why very soon we are going to bring proposals to amend the Kenya Film Commission Act, so that we can give it teeth to be able to enforce such measures.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Mr. Kioni, last supplementary question on the same!
Mr. Kioni: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I thought there were others who had interest in the Question. Away from the practice of the House, is it within the Assistant Minister’s ability to tell this House the estimated amount of money that may have been involved in the production of such a film in South Africa? We want to know the kind of revenue we lost as a nation, and especially as the people of Kogelo.
Mr. Khaniri: Mr. Speaker, Sir, unfortunately the answer is “no”. These are private producers, and, therefore, we cannot dig into their financial undertakings!
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Next Question by Mr. Kutuny.
February 16, 2011 Hansard, Kenyan Parliament