Films board to re-introduce mobile cinemas with local cast

The Kenya Films Classification Board (KFCB) will in a month re-introduce mobile cinemas as it seeks a new approach to instil morals among children.

As part of its rebranding plan, the programme will be a remake of the traditionally famous “watoto kaeni chini” films but with a new identity of Cinema Mashinani.

According to KFCB chairman Ezekiel Mutua, the programme set for rollout in one month is currently being piloted in Isiolo County.

“The board is taking a different approach where we focus on protecting children from harmful content while advising adults on content selection.

“Those traditional film shows were a way of teaching morals based on the local setup. So Kenyans can expect to start seeing those mobile cinemas in their villages and markets,” said Mr Mutua.

Back in the 1980s, the government and local film organisations introduced the mobile film units which showed movies at shopping centres in villages and schools.

Using big white sheets and movie reel projectors, feature films became an experience to die for among children who sat outside as darkness set in, hence the name “watoto kaeni chini”.

With advancement in technology, more people could afford television sets and eventually the shows were phased out.

Nevertheless KFCB now say Kenyans will have reminiscent experience of films like the 1996 Samson and Delilah.


For the 21st century generation, it will be a whole new learning experience.

The films to be showed will be produced on location and the cast will involve residents of the areas where they will be shown.

“We will be going to homes and using a select family setup to film movies based on the cultural and local setup, mainly to portray and teach good morals. Expect us to come to your home and turn it into a cast,” said Mr Mutua.

KFCB will also be introducing the shows as part of its plan to support local talent in the film industry.

The films board is already setting up a Sh10 billion creative arts facility in Nairobi’s central business district aimed at supporting local talent drawn from the mobile cinemas.

“We hope to support local talent and through this we can draw talent from the grassroots and also promote discipline and morality,” said Mr Mutua.

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