Kenyan Filmmaker Who's Planning To Distribute His Documentary Via 'Pirates' Posts First Hour Of New Film On Youtube

from the staying-connected-and-spreading-the-word dept

A couple months back we covered the story of Patrick Mureithi, a Kenyan filmmaker who was raising money for a documentary on post-election violence in his home country. He was asking for $5,000 to cover travel expenses and some related costs and was hoping that Kenya's thriving “piracy industry” would handle the distribution end of the business, spreading his message of hope throughout his homeland.

The good news is Murethi's Indiegogo campaign met its goal and he is back in Kenya setting up viewings of his documentary and shooting more footage to add to it. It's still in its “first draft” stage according to Murethi, but he sent a message our way informing us that he's uploaded the first hour of the still-unfinished documentary to Youtube.


He's also blogging about his experiences returning to Kenya (he currently lives in Missouri), including this “fun” little shakedown at the hands of customs at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport:

Custom's dude @ the airport: Hello? What do you have in those bags?
Me: Some clothes and my camera equipment.
Dude: What are you doing with this equipment?
Me: I'm working on a documentary about healing from trauma after post-election violence.
Dude: Are you a press-man?
Me: No.
Dude: Where is your filming permit?
Me: I don't have one
Dude: Then we have to keep your equipment until you get a permit
Me: I find it hard to leave this equipment here after all the sacrifice it took to get it
Dude: Go talk to that lady (presumably his superior)

– – –

Lady: What are you using this equipment for?
(I explain what I did to dude)
Lady: But this happened five years ago!
Me: Yes, but the trauma has not gone away, and will not go away with time
Lady: How will it go away then?
Me: Through education about trauma and teaching various ways that we can heal
Lady: This is a very controversial film. You need a permit, and you need to leave your equipment with us until you get one.
Me: Please, madam, this is not agreeable with me
Lady: Go see that man in that office

– – –

Man in office: Where is your permit?
(The Dance repeats itself. 45 minutes in total)
Man: We'll let you go with your equipment, but you have to pay 1% of the equipment's cost, non-refundable

I pay, and scurry off to meet my father who has been patiently waiting, sipping coffee through a straw.

Karibu Kenya.

Apparently only non-controversial films are allowed to roam permit-free, unless you're willing to pay a non-refundable “deposit” on equipment you own. A bit of a rough start to be sure, but more recent posts seem a bit more upbeat.

Hopefully, Murethi will keep us posted on any new developments, including the implementation of his scofflaw distribution system once the film is completed.

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Comments on “Kenyan Filmmaker Who's Planning To Distribute His Documentary Via 'Pirates' Posts First Hour Of New Film On Youtube”

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5 Comments
F! says:

Oh, Kenya...

What struck me most about that is how on my first reading, I actually found it believable that this had happened with the TSA (Yeah, I skipped ahead). I was flipping out by the end until I realized it was Kenya Customs and had a good laugh at myself. (Not that it makes it OK in Kenya, but at least it’s more… ‘to be expected’ I suppose)

That probably says more about me than anything else, but the TSA will get there sooner rather than later…

Anonymous Coward says:

Permit to film? – Third world backwater corruption, we don’t do that sort of thing in the land of the free … this sort of thing would never happen here.
(google search) errr – what????
Well, that is only required of filming for commercial use, right?
Wait, this can’t be right … but I have rights … do I get a phone call?

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