Firstly, let me start by saying that the Sarit Centre in Westlands must be one of the toughest places to find parking on a Saturday afternoon. That being said, having spent close to 20 minutes looking for parking, I was undeterred and was firmly committed to attending the Kenya Film Commission’s Animation Expo, even if only for 30 minutes or so. I had been looking forward to it all week to see exactly what was happening in Kenya’s Animation space. I was not disappointed.
I was surprised on entering the Expo that there we’re far more companies than I had imagined who offer Animation services locally in Kenya. One definitely got a sense of a burgeoning industry that is much larger than what it looked like when I attended another event a few years ago. It seems to me that this global industry that generates billions of dollars annually is taking a firm foothold in Kenya, finally! I was also impressed with the showcased work that each firm had at the Expo meaning that there is money being made!
The truth be said, many of the firms at the Expo seemed to be comprised of just a few people working in different capacities. By far, what seemed to be the largest was Homeboyz who have been behind the successful “Tinga Tinga Tales” that is currently airing on one of the local TV stations. In addition, Kwame Nyongo’s “Apes in Space” firm have a produced a local short animation movie called “Legend of Ngong Hills” (see trailer below). The other interesting firm I met was “Kenya Noir” which is led by Chief Nyamweya, an excellent illustrator who has now gone into animation as well.
I did not have much time at the Expo but I got to spend a bit of time at one of the talks where the turnout was excellent. Many people may not know this but there are fully accredited animation courses leading to bachelor degrees beijng offered by the likes of Shang Tao Media College who were also present at the Expo. In a nutshell, there is no reason why one cannot get in on the Animation gravy train as and when it becomes major industry in Kenya. Its already started and yesterday’s event just goes to show how big Animation is going to be here!