The Kenya Film Commission aims to “provide strategic leadership, facilitative support and integrated coordination of interventions to provide an enabling, competitive framework for equitable economic growth and development.” The ‘film’ industry, from pre-production to distribution, plays a vital role in the economy of Kenya. It stimulates growth, generates substantial employment, brings in valuable foreign exchange and acts as an important means through which technology is transferred and the Kenyan skill base is upgraded. It is also one of the best forms of promotion for the country.

Film has further social and political implications through the role it plays in communicating ideas, providing information and engendering debate. The industry’s influence is far-reaching. It directly affects companies involved in production, post production, casting, crewing, equipment-hire, set design and property supply. It generates many more jobs indirectly in the support and hospitality industries, stimulating business in hotels, catering companies, restaurants and transport providers.

International Film Award Structures

The mention of the awards immediately brings the Oscars to mind. From a relatively simple beginning in 1929, the Oscars have gone on to become a vast industry in themselves, though managed by a non-profit organisation – the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), based in Beverly Hills, California, and founded in 1927. The Oscars are a perfect example of how awards systems can have profound effects on careers and business opportunities but also give us a salutary warning of how excessive efforts can be made by production companies towards ensuring the success of a film, often at the expense of its artistic integrity.

The Oscars currently award in 43 separate categories including 3 named Awards and one for Special Achievement which recognizes a long term contribution to the Industry. Other awards systems recognize specific qualities pertaining to their social context, such as British Film Awards’ The Carl Foreman Award, for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in their First Feature Film. The Durban Film Festival has an Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award; the highly-controversial Hindi Film Awards recognise many qualities that are unique to Indian cinema such as: Best Performance in a Comic Role; Best Performance in a Negative Role Viveik Oberoi Best Playback Singer (Male and Female) and Outstanding Contribution by an Indian in International Cinema.

Why have Kalasha Film Awards

Central to the Mission of the Kenya Film Commission is the promotion of a vibrant film industry. Observations of film industries throughout the world show that systems of awards are integral to the establishment and growth of national film industries. Approximately 100 countries have their own film awards or festivals. Within Africa the successes of FESPACO in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso, the Durban Film Festival in South Africa, and the Dhow Festival in Zanzibar indicate clearly that Festivals and Award Ceremonies give a strong and consistent boost to national and continental film industries.

By recognising our own levels of excellence and the achievements of our film practitioners, we set benchmarks for the film-makers of the future, and encourage the expansion of the industry. Through the establishment of a set of regulations for the Awards which are both fair-minded and democratic, the Kenya Film Commission hopes to encourage a healthy level of competition amongst film makers which will lead to higher levels of good practice within the industry.

It is hoped that the Kalasha Awards will stimulate market activity in all areas associated with the branding of the Awards and industry as a whole. They will also create work opportunities in the hospitality and media industries, through the structure and implementation of a high-quality Awards Event which will be broadcast to national and international audiences.

The Awards will therefore help to:-

  • To celebrate achievers in the industry.
  • To spur further growth in the two industries.
  • To inject new energy into the industries by fostering healthy competition.
  • To involve movie and television fans in efforts of shaping the industry.
  • To create extra publicity for the industries.
  • To provide energy boost to the viability of film and television industries.


The Academy

It has been suggested that an Academy be formed who will oversee the nomination and final judging process. Based on the same format as the Academy which was formed to oversee the Oscar Awards, the Kenyan context will be of a similar logistical make up but not as complex. We recommend that the Academy consist of a cross section stakeholders and distinguished professionals in the film industry- these may include directors, producers, actors, actresses, technicians.

The Commission may spearhead the selection process or choose an independent party to select members of the Academy. Different branches of the Academy (focusing on different aspects of the filmmaking world) have their own standards of eligibility for potential members. The Academy members may be paid a sitting/lunch allowance at a cost of Ksh 3,000 per sitting. However, this figure may be determined by the chief organizers considering the government code of regulations.

Members of the Academy will be tasked with the following responsibilities:

  • Advice the organizers about the best way to put out calls for entries
  • To handle the process fairly and transparently
  • Sift through the hundreds of submissions they receive and shortlist
  • Compile a list of the final nominees
  • Advice on how to publicize the list of nominees
  • Cast ballots in the final selection to choose winners.

The Academy will comprise of the ordinary film maker’s professional peers who collectively decided to bestow the honor. This will make it much more acceptable and above board.

Awards Categories

The Awards would represent the five original branches of the Film making: Directors, Actors, Writers, Producers and Technicians. However, the Academy/ organizers will advise on whether or not to include more categories as long as they sufficiently represent the entire film industry.

Selecting Nominees and Winners

The first stage in selecting winners is narrowing all the possible honorees in a given year down to five nominees for each award category. To be eligible for nominations any entry must meet the basic requirements set out by the committee. If a participant would like their eligible film to be considered for an Award nomination, they must submit an Official form. This form lists the entry requirements for all related categories.

The Panel collects these forms and lists the submitted films through the laid down mechanisms. For most of the award categories, only the panel members in that particular field are allowed to vote for nominees (that is, only directors submit nominations for best director and only editors submit nominations for best editor).

The panel members can select five nominees per category, ranked in order of preference. For most categories, voters write in only the film title. For acting categories, the voters pick specific actors. It’s up to the individual Academy voters to decide whether an actor should be nominated for leading role or supporting role. An actor can’t be nominated for both categories for a single performance, however.

The committee assigns the nominee to whichever category the nominee qualifies for first. It may be decided that, nominations be done by the public voting system or by any other means found to be viable. The panel members typically have a couple of weeks to submit their choices for nominees. Once the ballots are in, the accounting firm to tabulate the nominee ballot votes in secrecy. Soon after, the Academy announces the nominees in a press conference.

Voting process

Filmmakers are invited to submit their entries to the Kenya Film Commission. A nomination Academy is formed to sift through the entries and pick between four and five nominees in each category. Entries are opened, assigned a unique log-code (entry code).
They entries are duplicated with the copies also receiving the log-code. Nomination ballots and other relevant documents are prepared; each member of the Nomination Academy receives copies of entries.

The Academy members watch the entries and nominate individuals and productions they find outstanding individually. Members of the Academy each return a filled out ballot paper that have all of their selected nominees. The nominations are then tallied and the final names and productions in all the categories drawn out. The final list of nominees in all the categories is then made public.


Partnership has become something of a buzz word in recent years. In theory, developing partnerships should lead to synergies i.e. the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Most successful events are a complex network of collaborations and contributions but these require careful management to be sustained over time and yield benefits to both parties. We will target our key partners to support this venture both financial and in kind.

The potential benefits of partnerships are likely to

  • Add credibility to our event
  • provide information and advice or skills absent from our management team
  • inform our programming and marketing activity
  • can provide in kind support and help access particular niche audiences
  • occasionally lead to sponsorship

Subscribe to our newsletter