[Interview] Cajetan Boy, CEO, Et Cetera Productions, Kenya
How would you describe the state of the Kenyan Film Industry at the moment?
I would say it's at a tipping point. A nudge in the right direction could turn it into a major and income generator as well as getting us on the world stage. A lack of incentives and motivation can lead us being consumers of only foreign content.
What are the main challenges for then Kenyan Film maker in 2020?
Getting finances for production and advertising and for marketing of the movie. At the same moment, we don’t have enough screening facilities to allow the movies to reach all.
Do you see a role for the Kenyan business community here?
Yes, I do see a role for the Kenyan business community. There are a several things they can do. Businesses can help bridge the financial gap in production by product placement and direct cash donations.
If not in cash, businesses can provide material support for other factors such as printing, transport, catering, and accommodation. They can also avail shooting locations and professional support to the talents e.g. lawyers, carpenters, advertisers, marketers, doctors etc.
To help reach bigger audiences, businesses could sponsor screenings in schools, institutions and in communities. They could also brand the community screenings. These are just a few examples of different ways on how businesses can assist and use movie production for advertising and other ways to support the message they want to communicate to their audience.
As a Kenyan company why, would I invest in a local film or television series ? What’s in it for me?
What is in it for you? Advertising power! With the proliferation of ad blindness/banner blindness (the ability to ignore ads) and the spread of streaming, a gap has formed in the efficacy of traditional televised advertising. Product placement also known as "embedded marketing" or "embedded advertising – is the way of the future. They are not explicit advertisements.
Product placements are presented in a way that will generate positive feelings towards the advertised brand and enables the audience to develop a stronger connection with the brand and justifies their purchase decision, and movies are perfect vehicles for that. Supporting the production of a film will also help fulfil some of your Corporate Social Responsibility obligations.
What’s your advice for African businesses who would be interested in investing in cinema and/or television drama?
I would advise them to not look for a quick return on investment and Instead consider it as a form of advertising and as part of their CSR. Even better, they can consider it an investment in the industry at large and also as an investment in the talents whose skills and abilities are naturred and seasoned in the course of production. There's also the advantage of branded content.
Do you know any projects that would be interesting to invest in as we speak?
Yes. "On Your Marks" Kenya’s first feature length sports film, written and to be produced by Jackline Emali is moving from the script development phase that was supported by Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KENGEN) to the fund-raising stage. The production will also take in interns for the duration of the production as well as identify and nurture talent on the ground.
Anything else you think is worth sharing?
I would like to reinforce the product placement opportunity and say that product placement is really something that works. To make it clearer I will share the life cycle of the movie: First is the theatrical release a red carpet event. Yes a chance to dress up and take pictures on the red carpet. That will be followed by Community screenings. The movie will then do the Festival rounds - locally, regionally and internationally.
There are few Kenyan productions doing the rounds at big festivals like Sundance, Rotterdam, Toronto, Berlin and Zanzibar. At some of these festivals, deals are made for distribution: local, regional and yes, international. The same applies for distribution to local, regional and international TV and streaming services. Basically, the advertising never stops and a few shillings go a long way.