Nairobi-based Middle Class Filmmakers and the Production and Circulation of Transnational Cinema

Robin Steedman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Filmmakers in Nairobi are embedded within transnational circuits of cinematic production and distribution. Many make use of Euro-American funding to make their films and seek to show their films in prestigious festivals outside Africa, but in so doing they are critiqued by scholars and critics who worry that the involvement of outsiders in African cinema curtails filmmakers’ creative freedom. This sort of criticism does not account for the fact that Euro-American audiences and filmmakers from elsewhere might share a common taste in stories. Based on an eight month period of research in Nairobi in 2014-2015 where I conducted 31 expert interviews with 27 filmmakers, I argue Nairobi-based filmmakers are members of a transnational middle class, with transnational experiences and tastes, and that accounting for this leads to new understandings of the production and circulation of their films and African film more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101333
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 22. November 2018


  • Nairobi-based filmmakers
  • Middle class
  • Transnational filmmaking
  • Taste
  • Cultural industries
  • African film

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