Film industry gets a shot in the arm

By Elly Gitau
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019
In summary

Kenyan actors have a reason to smile about, following the decision by StarTimes Kenya and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television to unveil a joint broadcast content development efforts between local and Chinese actors.

The development will see the first ever Sino-Africa reality television show highlighting deep cross-cultural exchange whilst building local capacity for both local creatives and content developers. The show is designed to specifically search for the next outstanding movie superstar.

Funded by the Chinese government and produced by StarTimes in collaboration with local content partners, the show will see Raymond Ofula, Neomi Ngang’a, Peter Kamau and Nick Mutuma as judges and mentors for the hundreds of aspiring and established thespians and actors.

The grand prize will be an opportunity to be in a local movie to be launched on international platforms across the globe.

Speaking during the fifth anniversary of the Exhibition Beijing Top TV Dramas and Movies Broadcasting Season, which also marked the official unveiling of the Next Superstar Show, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage director Dr Kiprop Lagat said: “It is encouraging to see the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television explore collaboration opportunities with local broadcast content developers. This is key in availing opportunities for the local talent to equally share experiences with the people of China through film.”

The bureau’s deputy director Xu Liquo said, “Congratulations to the shortlisted actors who will feature in the television show, as we mark the fifth anniversary of our TV series Africa exhibition, we are impressed with the warm reception and adaptability and look forward to growing our audience in Kenya.”

The 12 episodes of the show will broadcast on StarTimes Sino Drama channel from December 8, this year. This adds  to the growing list of local content productions that the pay TV broadcaster continues to roll out towards enriching the subscriber offering, having already injected over Sh200 million towards the establishment of Rembo TV, an exclusive local channel available on the platform.

“The shortlisted superstars will be the main cast of the joint production between StarTimes and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television as other outstanding talents who auditioned for the show undertake supporting roles,” said StarTimes CEO Andy Wang.

Actors James Webbo, Ellah Maina and Faiz Francis Ouma were shortlisted from a pool of over 100 participants who auditioned for the show and now will form the main cast.