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President Ruto to visit Tyler Perry studios during his US tour this month

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing’oei on Wednesday said that President William Ruto is set to visit Tyler Perry Studios during his US tour later this month.

Speaking on Citizen TV’s JKL show Sing’oei, said the Head of State will also meet various top Hollywood stars during his visit to the United States on May 21, 2024.

The president is scheduled to visit Tyler Perry’s studio, a major film and television production company located in Atlanta, Georgia and also meet the owner and renowned actor Tyler Perry.

The PS said that Ruto’s itinerary will see him addressing top players in the film industry to help bolster partnerships and strengthen Kenya’s creative economy.

“The president will visit the Tyler Perry studios and several players in the Hollywood ecosystem, be able to have a conversation with them about how they can work together with Kenya to unlock the potential of film,” Sing’oei said.

Tyler Perry is an African-American actor, director, playwright, screenwriter, producer, author, and songwriter. He began to gain national celebrity status in 2005 with the release of his first film, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”.

In 2009, Perry was ranked by Forbes magazine as the sixth highest-paid man in Hollywood. He has won critical praise for playing Madea, a mentally strong woman who handles adversity with optimism and happiness; his critically acclaimed portrayal of her in the award-winning “Madea” series has made him one of the most respected black actors in Hollywood.

Tyler Perry Studios, which first opened in Atlanta in 2008, is the first major film studio in the nation to be solo-owned by an African American.

In March, Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba was in Los Angeles, California to ink another groundbreaking deal with Hollywood’s Invention Studios that opens the door for the rapid growth of Kenya’s film industry.

The deal was signed at the Kenyan Consulate in Los Angeles by CS Ababu for the Government of Kenya and Invention Studios CEO Nicky Weinstock, was the rapid realization of a commitment made by President Ruto when he visited LA earlier the same week and disclosed that the Ministry of Youth Affairs, the Arts and Sports was Instituting a comprehensive Incentives Framework to strategically position Kenya as a film making destination of choice.

The partnership includes training programmes for film industry players, with exchange programmes allowing Kenyan creatives to gain insights from elite film professionals from Hollywood and other regions.

“There are also plans to produce high-quality films locally, marking a shift towards serious and curated film production in Kenya,” CS Ababu said then.

The collaboration follows a presidential statement during last year’s Jamhuri Day celebrations, which indicated Invention Studios’ commitment to producing films in Kenya from 2024.

The government has also forged partnerships with prestigious entities such as the Grammy Awards and securing agreements with Hollywood studios to produce films in Kenya.

These initiatives, State House said, are expected to stimulate the growth of the local film industry and position Kenya as a preferred destination for filmmakers worldwide.

The Invention Studios deal offers Kenya chances in global marketing of the country and its products, master class clinics for creatives/youth, employment opportunities during movie productions, capacity building for Kenyans in the creative sector, and upgrading of the capabilities of the Kenya film school.

The ultimate goal, the government hopes, is to elevate Kenya to the continental hub for filming commerce in Africa.