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History of Kalasha

Our Background

How It All Begun

History of Kalasha International TV and Film Awards

The mention of awards immediately brings the Oscars to mind. From a relatively simple beginning in 1929, the Oscars have gone on to become a vast industry in itself. The Oscars are a perfect example of how awards systems can have profound effects on careers and business.
Just like the Oscars, Kalasha Awards seek to reward exceptional talent in various spheres in the TV and Film industry.

What is the meaning of the word Kalasha?

Kalasha is the Swahili word for the sprouting tusks of an elephant calf. This represents the growing TV and Film industry which the Commission endeavours to nurture.

Why have Kalasha Film and TV Awards?

Central to the Mission of the Kenya Film Commission is the promotion of a vibrant film industry. Observations of film industries throughout the world show that systems of awards are integral to the establishment and growth of national film industries. Approximately 100 countries have their own film awards or festivals. Within Africa, the successes of FESPACO in Ougadougou in Burkina Faso, the Durban Film Festival in South Africa and the Dhow Festival in Zanzibar indicate clearly that Festivals and Award Ceremonies give a strong and consistent boost to national and continental film industries.

By recognising our own level of excellence and the achievements of our film practitioners, we set benchmarks for future film-makers and encourage the expansion of the industry. Through the establishment of a set of regulations for the Awards which are both fair-minded and democratic, the Kenya Film Commission hopes to encourage a healthy level of competition amongst film makers which will lead to higher levels of good practice within the industry.

It is hoped that the Kalasha Awards will stimulate market activity in all areas associated with the branding of the Awards and industry as a whole. They will also create work opportunities in the hospitality and media industries, through the structure and implementation of a high-quality Awards Event which will be broadcast to national and international audiences.

The Awards will therefore help to:-

  • To celebrate and reward achievers in the industry.
  • To spur further growth in the industry.
  • To inject new energy into the industry by fostering healthy competition.
  • To involve film and television fans in efforts of shaping the industry.
  • To create extra publicity for the industry.
  • To provide energy boost to the viability of film and television industry.


The Academy
An Academy – a jury of experts – oversees the nomination and final judging process. Based on the same format as the Academy which was formed to oversee the Oscar Awards, the Kenyan context will be of a similar logistical make up but not as complex. The Academy consists of a cross section of stakeholders and distinguished professionals in the film industry- these may include directors, producers, actors, actresses, technicians from the various Associations and Guilds.

The Commission spearheads the selection process of the Academy. Different branches of the Academy (focusing on different aspects of the filmmaking world) have their own standards of eligibility for potential members. The Academy members are paid a sitting/lunch allowance whose figure is determined by the chief organizers considering the government code of regulations.

Members of the Academy are tasked with the following responsibilities:

  • Advice the organizers about the best way to put out calls for entries
  • Sift through the submissions received and shortlist nominees.
  • Cast ballots in the final selection to choose winners.
  • Handle the process fairly and transparently.

Award Categories

The Awards represent the five original branches of Film making: Directors, Actors, Writers, Producers and Technicians. However, the Academy advises on whether or not to include more categories as long as they sufficiently represent the entire film industry.

Selecting Nominees and Winners

The first stage in selecting winners is narrowing down all the submissions to five nominees for each award category. Participants are required to submit an official form that lists the entry requirements for all categories. To be eligible for nominations, any entry must meet the basic requirements set out by the Commission. Nominees are publicly unveiled and voting lines are opened. 70% of the vote is decided by the Academy while 30% of the vote is open to the public. Technical award categories are not included in the public voting process.


The Commission targets its key partners to support this venture both financially and in kind. The potential benefits of partnerships are likely to strengthen networks with external stakeholders which occasionally lead to sponsorships.