On 15th October 2014, the Kenya Police accompanied by representatives from the Department of Film Services, officials from the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts (famous for their mission to contribute to overall national development through promotion and exploitation of Kenya’s diverse culture for peaceful co-existence) visited the NEST to effect an arrest for our alleged contravention of Cap 222 - The Film and Stage Plays Act - by shooting the Stories Of Our Lives Film without acquiring a licence to do so from the Department.
George Gachara - Executive Producer of the film - was arrested and taken to the Kilimani Police Station. He was later released on a cash bail of KES 10,000 and scheduled to appear in Kibera Law Courts on 17th October.
Films shot in Kenya require a licence from the Department of Film Services. This licence is obtained by presenting a copy of the entire script in question to the Department, who then review it and subsequently make the decision to grant or deny the licence to shoot such script. To quote from the Act:
What is at stake for us? To quote from the Act:
We’re unable to comment further on the details of this case at this time, because this is a matter that is still under legal deliberation and any opinions can be read as prejudicial.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The most common question we are getting from Kenyans in Kenya on our phones, inboxes and in conversations is “can we watch the film privately/at night/via BitTorrent/on YouTube/with the lights down low/under the bed/on mute etc.?” or, “Can you guys give us the film on a flash drive or leave it on the street, in a bar, at my church, somewhere for us to find”?
There are no secret, underground, extralegal, extraterritorial or online screenings of Stories of Our Lives happening anywhere in Kenya, and we are not giving out the film, selling it or otherwise distributing it in Kenya in any way, shape or form. There are serious legal ramifications for violating the restriction by the Kenya Film Classifications Board on Stories of Our Lives. Right now, our primary focus is on getting past the legal issues safely.
The other question we’re getting is “how do we help”? The honest answer is, we don’t know yet. We are juggling many factors, many opinions and a lot of wise counsel from different quarters. We will soon figure out exactly what help we need and communicate that widely the moment we do.
Thank you to everyone who’s called, emailed, shared, retweeted, called lawyers and given us hugs and cookies. You are a welcome and much-needed break from the madness and fuckery.