Voting app for Kalasha Film and TV awards raise queries

KFC CEO Timothy Owase and Acting Star Times CEO
KFC CEO Timothy Owase and Acting Star Times CEO Hanson Wong. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Following Kenya film commission’s (KFC) forging a partnership with Star Times, the Chinese electronics and media company last month, the Commission just unveiled the 2019 nominees for the Kalasha TV and Film Awards.

According to KFC’s CEO, Timothy Owase, the Commission received 959 entries which a team of eight jury members had to hone down to just less than 170 nominees. Each of the 34 categories, apart from ‘Best Diaspora Production’, ‘Best TV Reality’ and ‘Best Feature Film’, has five nominees.

‘Best TV Reality’, which is one of two new categories included in this year’s roster of awards (the other is ‘Best Student Short Film’) has just two nominees, namely Ms President and Our Perfect Wedding. ‘Best Diaspora Production’ has just three, namely ‘Just a Girl’, ‘Welcome Home’, and ‘Excuse, Pardon my Manners’.

And apparently, there is stiff competition for ‘Best Feature Film’ since there are eight nominees. They include Sarah Hassan’s ‘Plan B’, Appie Matere’s ‘Dream Child’, Nick Mutuma’s ‘You Again’, Edijoe Mwaniki’s ‘Lost in Time’, Njoki Muhoho’s ‘Ensulo’, Siobhain ‘Ginger’ Wilson’s ‘Lusala’, Dancurf Brown’s ‘Poker’ and Njoki Muhoho’s ‘Promises’.

The eight-member nomination academy included leading film and Tv producers as well as academics, scriptwriters, actors and one game designer.


According to Mr Owase, all the winners in the 34 categories will receive Sh50,000 plus ‘other goodies extended by our key sponsor, Star Times,” Owase says.

The main Kalasha Gala and Awards night will be Saturday, November 30. It will be preceded by a month’s worth of public voting, from October 30 to November 30. Out of a 100 percent tally, the public voting will constitute just 30 percent while votes by the eight-person nomination academy will constitute the other 70 percent.

Public voting will only be possible through an application created by Star Times called StarTimes ON which will be accessible through the media company’s Pan African Online Film Festival (PAOFF) platform.

Already KFC has been questioned as to why there is only one means of public voting for the film or TV program of their choice. Critics of the process are noting that having only one app will make public voting difficult for several reasons.

‘What if people don’t have a smart phone? What if they don’t have a mobile phone at all? And what if they do not want to include a new app on their mobile phone?” are some of the critical questions that were asked by people who were present at the unveiling of the nominees.

“Local language productions are mainly watched by people living in rural areas where many people do not have an internet network in their area, leave alone a smart phone. So how will they be able to vote?” I was asked by one film fan who felt this new system does a disservice to the nomination process as well as to the nominees.

The other complaint I heard was related to the misclassification of a well-established TV show.

“Why is ‘The XYZ Show’ which is a puppet show included in the ‘Best Animation Production’ class?’ several members of the media queried. “It should be reclassified under ‘Best TV Comedy’ since it is not an animation.

Go to the Kenya film Commission’s website to see the full list of nominees.