Issue No 96 20 January 2011

top story

  • It would be easy to think that the only sport of interest to Africans was football. It grabs all the attention and the largest slice of the programme rights money spent on sport to be shown in Africa. But African television channels are beginning to realise that they can’t all end up with the key football rights so developing other sports programming may be a smart move. Russell Southwood talked to CAfrica’s Managing Director Cathy Fogler about its ambition to deliver “premium sports programs through a formal network of free-to-air broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa.”

    CAfrica was launched by a trio of seasoned industry professionals. Rob and Cathy Fogler and Rwandan Eugene Nyagahene. Bob Fogler had worked with Eugene Nyagahene on venture capital for SMEs in Rwanda and both of the Foglers have a background in broadcast in the USA. Eugene Nyagahene was the founder of the Tele10 Pay TV group in francophone Africa. As Cathy Fogler told us:”The three of us were discussing the TV landscape in Africa and this led to us forming the company.”

    CAfrica distributes its sports content to Free-To-Air TV stations across Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) and it is currently shown in 21 countries:”When we select a station, there are a few factors we look at including: the reach and quality of their broadcast signal; their relationship with their audiences; and how they promote the content we give them. But the overriding factor is the professionalism of the broadcaster.”

    Currently CAfrica has multi-year agreements with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAFR. It broadcasts the top game played in the NBA every week, weekly highlights from other games and the All Star Weekend. In terms of the IAAF, broadcasts the Diamond League which is a showcase for top athletes. It is looking to acquire other sports rights but is understandably cagey about its next move:”We’re looking at other things but I can’t be specific at the moment. We’re in discussion with the rights holders for all the major sports.”

    CAfrica does not just deliver the programmes:”We produce the programmes and work with IMG in London to produce both English and French commentary. Our affiliates can choose either. What marks out what we deliver is the quality of production.”

    Specific audience data is difficult to get in Africa but it airs three programmes a week during sports primetime in 21 of the major country markets during sports prime time. Fogler has a rough “thumb-suck” in the absence of broadcaster research:”Our territory is Sub-Saharan Africa excluding South Africa and it covers 600 million people. On average, there is a 20% TV household penetration. In addition, up to 50% of those people might be watching television outside of the home. This gives our programmes a reach of around 300 million people.”

    So what’s the business model?:”I can’t discuss the full business model but there are parts that are already clear. CAfrica provides programmes to broadcast affiliates on reasonable terms. In terms of ad revenues, we target the international, multinational corporations and the affiliate broadcast partner sells to local advertisers. We provide advertisers with a unique way of talking to Africa’s middle class consumers across the continent.”

    The NBA is also putting its weight behind promoting basketball on the continent. It has opened a Johannesburg office to have a presence on the continent and to grow the game there. It is creating grassroots basketball programming across the continent. As with the Premier League, the NBA has attracted African players. There are now over 20 of them in the NBA, the most famous of which is Tanzanian Hasheem Thabeet who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies. He did not begin to play basketball until the age of 15, when he began to watch pickup games in Tanzania.

    News announcement: This week on Balancing Act’s new Web TV Channel – Nollywood and FESPACO 2011

    Do not miss our Web TV Channel which highlights recent interviews with top African TV and Radio personalities. There are interviews in both English and French. In particular look out for in English, Matthew Brown on Changing Nollywood Business Models. Matthew is a PhD student from University of Wisconsin who’s just come from a year in Nigeria researching the topic. In French, we have the FESPACO 2011 press conference in Paris which gives details of this upcoming biennial festival in Ouegadougou. Click here:

    Workshop at DISCOP

    Differentiate your TV channel – Standing out from the competition. The TV stations that will make their mark in 2011 and succeed in gaining market share will be those that build loyalty through the people, programmes and feel of their TV channel. The workshop will focus on all aspects of differentiating your TV channel, primarily addressing: Channel attitude and personality, Content (local and exclusive); Programming (overall structure and pieces); and brand (content, personalities and marketing). Led by Russell Southwood, CEO, Balancing Act with panel speakers including Cathy Fogler, Managing Director, CAfrica and Yaa Newman of TV Africa. Date, time and Place: 6.30 pm, Wednesday 9 February, La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra.

content

  • This summarised version of an article by Richard Seymour in Nigeria’s Compass newspaper offers many interesting insights into the development of the continent’s largest film industry.

    Nollywood owes its recent expansion to the introduction of relatively cheapo digital technology to the consumer market, which allows almost anyone who can shout ‘Action!’ to be a film director. Budgets for even the most popular locally made films are low. Many do not employ technicians and, often, the ‘actors’ are anyone who happens to be passing by at the time. In a matter of weeks, the final film has been edited and distributed, either to the myriad low-budget cable television channels of which there are now so many, or as DVDs to be sold for about $2 in crowded markets.

    It is easy for filmmakers and watchers elsewhere to deride the quality of these hastily made movies, but there is no doubting the passion Africans across the continent have for them. They sell in their thousands and make money for their producers, which not every Hollywood mogul can boast. Perhaps for the first time, movie watchers in Africa are seeing themselves on screen: characters that millions of Africans can recognise themselves in, living lives which are familiar to them. And it seems they cannot get enough.

    But the industry in Nigeria is now coming of age and is attempting to raise standards across the board. Unfortunately, however, as the music industry has found out, the same technology that renders it easy to make films also makes illegally copying them a simpler task. And this is getting in the way of attracting investment. After all, who would want to put their money into a venture that has little control over its product and who profits from it?

    Some estimates from within the industry claim that as much as 50% of all money made from their films is lost to piracy. Many movies made today are not able to even recover the costs of production, which means there is no money to reinvest in new projects.

    Part of the problem is one of infrastructure. In other countries, film lovers still mostly prefer to patronise movie theatres, despite the expense, because they either want the full effect of the latest technology, whether it be high definition, surround sound or 3D, or they do not wish to wait for the DVD to go on sale. This forms a buttress against the pirate industry.

    But there are so few cinemas in Africa in comparison. Lacking a robust distribution network, movie producers are forced to release titles straight to DVD, which are then copied and sold more cheaply within days.

    The problem has been made worse by the ability of pirates to squeeze several films onto a single DVD and then sell it for half the price of a single, legitimate title. And producers face the further frustration of an increasing number of cable television channels showing their films without permission with very little they can do to stop it.

    As a result, the already low budgets producers have to make films are getting smaller and production values are not improving. Hence the concern that the Nigerian film industry may have peaked without ever having tapped its phenomenal potential.

    The largest film industry in the world, India’s Bollywood, is taking matters into its own hands. The trend of filmmakers to remake existing films with no regard for copyright, which hardly helped their own cause, seems to be abating.

    In addition, India’s film industry has entered into a joint venture with the Alliance Against Copyright Theft (AACT) – an international organisation of filmmakers and distributors – in a bid to tackle the problem. The group, supported by the Indian government, has launched raids against suspected pirates, enforcing existing piracy laws, but recognises that a change in the public’s attitude toward pirated films is needed most.

    A similar initiative in Nigeria would begin to turn the tide of copyright infringement and help the country’s filmmakers continue to make the films so many Africans enjoy. Nothing can be done, however, without the political will, and the perception among Nigeria’s filmmakers is that the government is simply not taking the problem seriously enough.

    Nigeria is a signatory to a number of international copyright conventions and has the laws and administering bodies to protect filmmakers if it wants to. Anti-piracy squads have the power to perform raids, confiscate materials and make arrests, but with an estimated 90% of all DVDs on sale illegal copies, there is clearly much still to do.

    The National Film & Video Censors Board in Nigeria (NFVCB) is doing its best to formalise the country’s film industry. Its role of classifying films and registering and regulating all outlets is all but impossible, and will remain so, if it is not backed more forcibly by the government.

    There is little freedom too in over-regulation. The NFVCB has on its ‘8 Point Action Plan’ a ‘New Direction in Film & Video Content’, which, they say, should paint Nigeria in a positive light.

    That is all well and good, but will censors swoop on filmmakers who wish to pass comment on, for instance, government corruption? Would, to take but one contemporary example, Jeta Amata’s new film, Black Gold (to be released in 2011), about greed, corruption and violence in the Niger Delta, be allowed by a more powerful regulatory body?

    But strict regulation of any sort seems along way off. Despite concerns, foreign investors are willing to take stake in the Nigerian film industry by investing in its most talented filmmakers. The young director, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, born in Benin City, in 2008 made Close Enemies for $300,000, still a record for a Nigerian film. But the film had to be made outside of Nigeria in Los Angeles.

    The slick, high-budget movie is a world away from the shoestring productions that form the base for the industry in Nigeria and, along with its subject matter, will do much to gain the respect, and investment dollars, of the biggest studios.

    Indeed, it is directors like Amata, whose critically acclaimed 2004 film, The Alexa Affair, which was filmed in Germany using a German crew, introduced methods honed in the Nigerian film industry, who are showing Western filmmakers how to cut costs and production times without compromising quality.

    The advancing Nigerian economy and the construction of cinema complexes is giving the local film industry room to grow but it is not only in Nigeria that the film industry is enjoying a boom. This September, the Federation of Pan-African Filmmakers (FEPACI) announced their intention to set up African Film Cinema Fund with a $50m target, in particular, to invest in a continent-wide distribution network. Discussions are in their early stages.

    In conjunction with organisations such as the World Bank, African Development Bank and other private investors, it hopes to create a framework to strengthen coproduction and distribution partnerships, and through a partnership with the International Organisation of la Francophonie (OIF) hopes to fulfil the UNESCO idea of enabling the diversity of cultural expression.

    Striding toward doing so and further breaking the stereotype of African-made films is Pumzi, the 2009 production, directed by Kenyan born Wanuri Kahiu and shot on location in South Africa. The internationally funded short film is of the science fiction genre – itself so far a rarity among African films – based in the future where Asha, played by Kudzani Moswela, sets about looking for life in an otherwise lifeless, post-World War III ‘Water War’ planet.

    Money for the imaginative project came partly from the Changamoto Arts Fund, which seeks to ‘liberate the artist from the pressure of creating safe work’, thus emancipating creative talent from commercial considerations and worries over piracy, and Focus Feature’s Africa First, making grants of $10,000 to short-film makers in Africa.

    Such funds are as important for the development of Africa’s film industry as the injection of cash. Money cannot buy new, exciting ideas; and without those, no creative industry’ can flourish. Another film which bucks the trend and aims to establish Africa at the forefront of movie-making technology is Lion of Judah,a computer-animated 3D movie, commissioned by a US company and made entirely in South Africa using almost entirely South African animators.

    The Cape Town-based studio, Animal Matters, which is making the film, has to make the most of its limited resources but hopes that investment in technology and training can help the country position itself well in what promises to be a highly lucrative 3D market.

    If given the freedom and protection to work, the continent’s most creative filmmakers will give expression to Africa’s creativity, allowing it to tell its own stories about itself, and forging its own cultural identity in a environment where cultural imperialism threatens to homogenise an otherwise diverse and colourful world.

  • Far from being a District 9 copy, the new black-and-white sci-fi film from Cape Town-based production company Be Phat Motel has its own dark ambience and unique character that is set to breathe new life into the genre. The self-funded thriller, titled Sweetheart, is not a full-length feature film but still manages to entertain throughout its 26 minutes. It previewed to a receptive audience on 2 December 2010 at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town.

    The film stars Inge Beckmann – former vocalist of local electronic group Lark – as Sweetheart, with theatre actor Andre Weidemann as Ogilvy and Survivor Africa host Anthony Oseyemi as Honest John. The supporting cast includes Norman Murray, model Pope Jerrod, and Aidan Whytock, a finalist in the 2010 Top Billing presenter search.

    Sweetheart is Be Phat’s first short film and is directed by Michael Matthews and written by Sean Drummond, with a score composed by James Matthes. The film was made purely for creative purposes, claim the Be Phat team, and not to deliver any specific message or lesson.

    Like District 9, Sweetheart was shot with Red One cameras. Its monochrome style, which the team says is based on the Coen Brothers’ 2001 The Man Who Wasn’t There, is a tribute to the noir films of the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the visuals were filmed in the old suburb of Woodstock, which lies about a kilometre from Cape Town’s city centre. In mid-2010 Be Phat released a teaser on the internet, and the full trailer may now also be viewed online.

    The story, which was written in under a week and filmed in eight days at the beginning of 2010, plays out in the 1950s against the backdrop of one of the tense periods of the Cold War. “We shot the film two weeks after coming up with the idea,” said Matthews in a recent interview with Cape Town Magazine, “and without funding. I got the last part of the script on the morning we started shooting.”

    “We worked with a bunch of great actors on the film,” added Drummond. “Tireless, they all gave way more of themselves than they needed to – there was a great energy.”
    Sweetheart is a young wife and mother living on a farm with her family. Her husband and stepsons travel into town one day, and don’t come back. While she waits for them to return she catches glimpses of mysterious events in the distance.

    Eventually Sweetheart realises that her family is not coming back, and she’s forced to leave the farm and make the trip to the city – a strange, post-apocalyptic 1950s version of Cape Town – to look for them. When she gets there she finds the place deserted, except for random groups of survivors. This makes her task all the more dangerous, but if she wants to find the answers, she must press on.

    Be Phat Motel was established in 2007 and from the early days of commercials and music videos, they are now set on a new course of producing feature films. The Be Phat core team comprises award-winning director Matthews, editor Daniel Mitchell, producer/screenwriter Drummond, and cinematographer Shaun Lee.

    The team originally planned Sweetheart as a five-minute experimental film, but found that it was better suited to its final length. Even without the considerable muscle of District 9 producer Peter Jackson, Be Phat has high hopes for Sweetheart and with the interest already seen online and at the preview screening, their hopes have every chance of being realised.

    Their first feature film is currently in development – Five Fingers for Marseilles, which starts off in 1980s rural South Africa and aims to merge the country’s history with the classic western theme. It follows the struggle for freedom from police oppression of the small community of Railway, which sits on the fringes of a fictional South African town called Marseilles.

    At first only five young men – the Five Fingers – are brave enough to stand up to the authorities, until one of them commits a crime that sends him to prison for 20 years. When he returns to his home town he finds it under threat from a new source, and must once again fight to save the day. Five Fingers will play mainly in Sesotho and isiXhosa, with some English.

  • When South African film-maker Neill Blomkamp's strange new short went viral (in Oct 2010) it prompted many questions: is this a clue to Blomkamp's mooted District 9 sequel? Or his forthcoming new sci-fi project Elysium? It said as much about contemporary movie marketing as it did about the director's creativity.

    Social networking encourages a see-and-then-share habit for moviegoers, and it's taken a step further this year – just observe the excitement and commercial reward generated by this year's viral campaigns for Inception and Tron. Yet despite the commercial motivation, most fans appear to be enjoying the shift. Viral movie marketing encourages engagement with cinema, wider conversation and expands the worlds of movies people love. In the case of Blomkamp's new video, far from merely being a trailer for a forthcoming project, the short might be seen as a starting point for a digital egg hunt.

    If you've managed to come out unscathed after sitting through the video's impressively tense minute-long running time, you'll notice that the creature in Blomkamp's video is stamped AMG Heartland. Cue film fans doing some digging and discovering this is a phrase trademarked to communications company Sable, which suggests more videos will follow over the coming months.

    Most movie fans enjoy the way things are now, but there's some who really enjoy it – in fact, there's a growing subculture of movie fans for whom this hunt for information is as exciting as the films themselves. Over at Movieviral.com, there's a website full of people picking through the detritus of the web and correlating clues with existing release schedules – asking themselves and each other, what does it all mean? Their forum asks if this website provides clues to Battle: Los Angeles, or is just the musings of a UFO enthusiast. It doesn't really matter which – what's most important is getting excited about the movie.

    Yet some of the website's subscribers have certainly found more to enjoy in movies than mere speculation – it was Movieviral.com forum users who first cracked the code to ijustwanttobeperfect.com, the website for Darren Aronofsky's forthcoming psychological horror Black Swan, discovering, after a tipoff from the lead character's @theswanqueen twitter account, that if you typed the name of the film's villain Rothbart on the site, you were rewarded with access to view unseen footage from the movie.

    Sci-fi and horror are the perfect subject matter for this kind of fan engagement – after all, what's scarier than what you don't know? – and when they're not trying to deduce whether a strange alien autopsy video entitled Apollo 20 has any relation to the forthcoming Apollo 18 movie, they're trying to crack the DOS-style setup of thescariestthingieversaw.com, a website reporting to provide access to the home computer of D Morris, a character from JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg's forthcoming Super 8. That film's not out until June 2011, they've got plenty of time.

    But what is perhaps most exciting to this community is that the internet provides more clues about forthcoming movies than the release schedules. Nobody really knows what theclearpill.com means, other than suggesting that a Bradley Cooper movie about a wonder drug called Limitless appears to be in the works. Likewise the potential resurrection of the Mortal Kombat franchise when a video entitled Mortal Kombat Rebirth was put on YouTube this summer. Fans weren't given any explanation as to whether this was a new shonky beat 'em up video game, or another shonky movie based on the shonky beat 'em up game – but three million users debating which one it is can't be bad for business.

    Of course, there is a school of thought that wishes things remained as they always were, that digging around and hunting for clues spoils the magic of cinema, like asking a magician to reveal the secrets of his tricks. Another thinks fans should know better than to fall for smart marketing, that they're just feeding the machine and wasting their lives searching for information that will be revealed to them in due course.

    Both schools are entitled to their views, yet as they sit down to watch their summer blockbusters next year, inquisitive fans such as myself will be even more exited, knowing we've been part of the conversation for longer.

    As an aside, Deadline reports that Jodie Foster has just joined Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley in Neill Blomkamp's 'District 9' follow up, 'Elysium'.

    The Guardian
  • The future of Moroccan cinema is having a very creative time at the moment. This is what came out of the works selected for the short film competition (Cinécole) Marrakech International Film Festival, wrote the weekly “Jeune Afrique” in its latest issue. The Grand Prix award was given to the young Moroccan director Mahassine El Hachad for his film "Apnea". The fourteen short films selected to compete in Marrakech are all from the four film schools located in the country, "a record in Africa," wrote the publication, adding that on top of El Hachadi’s film, "three or four other could have been selected for the Grand Prix ".

     Daniel Ademinokan’s Nollywood feature Modupe Temi (I Thank God for my Own) will be screened at the Film Studies Center, University of Chicago on Friday March 4th 2011 starting at 7PM. The 145 minute epic length film, which was screened last October at the Nollywood Now Film Festival in London focuses its attention on the dissolution of a married couple with an uniquely only two person cast. The film will be introduced by Mary Adekoya, who is Ph.D candidate at the Dept of Cinema and Media Studies at the U of C. The screening is free and open to the public but seating  limited at the Film Center screening room, so reservations are necessary. Click here

  • SABC1 has announced the highlights of the season starting in January 2011:

    Soul Buddyz 5: Monday 10 Jan @ 19:00
    An exciting, positive and up-beat drama series detailing the lives and challenges of a group of teenaged friends – the Soul Buddyz!  The stories are educational with an entertainment element focusing on a National Dance Competition in which the Buddyz participate for a final prize. The series showcases their journey as individuals and as a team - highlighting their joys, pain, challenges and triumphs along the way! One of the setbacks they experience is how alcohol is used by one of their members, undermining their cohesion as a group and dealing with a difficult issue of how to stop the sale of alcohol at their school.

    One Day Leader: Tuesday 11 Jan @ 18:30
    One Day Leader is a reality format that aims to identify and develop young leaders between the ages of 18 and 25, while engaging the public and creating awareness around critical social and economic issues. South Africa needs strong leadership to address its many social issues, not only now, but well into the future. One Day Leader aims not at criticising current leaders or forms of leadership but to encourage young and bright minds to come up with innovative ways of addressing issues.

    Pathfinders (A 2-part documentary series) Tuesday 11 & 18 Jan @ 21:00
    Part 1: Gogo's Heart
    A group of elderly women in Alexandra are re-inventing community relations in the wake of the devastation left behind by HIV/AIDS. The documentary profiles the work done by Rose Letwaba and a group of gogo's from Alexandra.

    Part 2: The Making of Our FatherThe documentary details the work in progress of an inter-generational dialogue project entitled "Our Father." Our Father is the attempt by five artists to collaborate on individual narratives detailing metaphorical and literal journeys in search and exploration of their fathers. In some cases their fathers are alive and in other they are not, and yet still others have never even known their fathers. Through art they have decided to unpack the nature and impact of their relationships or lack thereof with their fathers to see what it means to them as young men and as artists.

    The Game 3: Friday 21 Jan @ 20:30

    The Game stars Tia Mowry as Melanie Barnett, a young, intelligent medical student, who is also the girlfriend of an eager rookie football player, Derwin Davis (Pooch Hall). Melanie decides to pass on her chance at attending Johns Hopkins Medical School to be with Derwin after he is recently chosen to play for the San Diego Sabres as the new third-string wide receiver. As Melanie tries to adjust to her new lifestyle, she meets Tasha Mack (Wendy Raquel Robinson), single mother and manager of Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez) who is a charming star quarterback for the San Diego Sabres and Kelly Pitts (Brittany Daniel), the wife of Jason Pitts (Coby Bell) who is a thrifty star player. With the help of Tasha and Kelly Melanie learns how the game is played amongst the women behind the athletes.  Created by Mara Brock Akil.

    Friends Like These: Saturday 22 Jan @ 18:30
    A game show that is all about testing friendships and finding out what makes them tick! The show has an appeal that cuts across age, gender and race differences, thus capturing the imagination of Mzansi viewers from all backgrounds. 5 male and 5 female contestants battle it out every week for the chance to play face-to-face to win the holiday of a lifetime.  

    The Unit 3: Monday 24 Jan @ 22:00
    The Unit is a covert team of US Special Forces operatives who undertake missions around the world. Bob Brown is the newcomer who joins Jona's team and they set out to rescue European businessmen who have been hijacked by terrorists. Meanwhile, Bob's wife, Kim, is struggling with how much control the Unit has over her personal life.  Cast: Regina Tayor, Dennis Haysbert, Max Martini, Scott Foley, Audrey Anderson, Abby Brammell, Robert Patrick, Demore Barnes, Michael Irby, Alyssa Shafer. Written by David Mamet.

    50 Years of Love: 25 Jan @ 21:00
    This documentary takes a close look at the institution of marriage, its relevance in today's society and exceptional people that have survived it for over 50 years. Feeling that marriage is one subject for which people are poorly prepared by most societies, a filmmaker couple set out around the world to have an honest look at marriage beyond the honeymoon and the "happily ever after" clichés. Only then will they decide whether or not to take the giant step themselves. A heart-warming story that questions without disrespecting the different types of marriages from the "usual" to arranged marriages and traditional polygamous marriages.

    Dance to Fame: Thursday 27 Jan @ 19:00
    The 13-episode show celebrates the inspiration and excitement behind the world of street dance as it presents the once-in-a-lifetime chance for audience members to Dance to Fame. Four of SA's most talented dance groups will be selected to compete in this dance battle, putting all they have on the floor as they fight for the title of SA's best dance crew and a R100 000 prize money!

broadcast

  • Subscribers of major West African mobile service provider, Globacom, can now watch DStv programmes on their mobile phones as the company rolls out the DStvMobile service on Glo.

    The product, called, DStv Mobile on Glo is offered in partnership with Details Nigeria Limited, the provider of DStv Mobile. DStv Mobile on Glo brings the rich experience of DStv to Glo subscribers who are connected to the service and have special DVB-H enabled handsets.

    Globacom’s Head of Value Added Services, Samson Isa said that Glo
    subscribers who sign up to DStv Mobile on Glo will enjoy a wide range of
    programming from news channels such as CNN to entertainment and movie
    channels such as Africa Magic, Magic World, Africa Magic Yoruba, Africa Magic Hausa, Channel O, Sound city, Cartoon Network, TBN, Super Sport 7, Super Sport 9, Super Sport Blitz and NTA Plus. Subscribers to the service will also enjoy super fast Internet access.

    “The High Speed Internet Service on the package is connected to the GLO 1 Cable”, Isa disclosed, adding that this gives the subscriber a robust and seamless viewing experience. He explained that DStv Mobile from Glo comes with Nokia 5330, one month free High Speed Internet bundle and free DStv Mobile subscription until 31 March, 2011. The handset can be used to make and receive calls and for internet browsing.

    The service is available, to start with, in 10 Nigerian cities including Lagos, Ibadan, Benin, Asaba, Onitsha, Enugu, Aba, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kaduna.

    Nairaland
  • The Togolese authorities on December 29, 2010 closed down three privately-owned radio stations in Lome, the capital, over administrative reasons.

    A statement issued by the regulatory body, Posts and Telecommunications' Regulatory Authority (ART&P) and signed by Palouki Massina, its director general said the decision was taken after it undertook a 10-day joint review of the stations together with the High Authority for Broadcasting and Communication (HAAC) in November 2010.

    The statement said the stations, X-Solaire, Metropolys and Providence were operating illegally as they did not have the required registration documents and standard broadcasting equipment.

    The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent in Togo reported that since the closure, the officials of the stations have been met with delay tactics from the authorities, in their efforts to obtain the required documents.

    Meanwhile, the media group, SOS Journaliste en Danger, has condemned the action of the authorities. In a release issued on January 12, the SOS said it was an attempt by the authorities to muzzle the stations which were deemed critical of the administration of President Faure Gnassingbé.

    The media group wondered why in spite of the stations'status, the ART&P was collecting licensing fees from them.

  • Talk show diva and cultural kingmaker Oprah Winfrey expands her media empire with the high-stakes launch of her OWN cable network.

    While Winfrey's comfy couches have launched scores of careers, from Dr. Phil to the inventors of her 'favorite things', it's unclear if her magic touch can carry an entire network.

    "Oprah has a very powerful brand name, but it's really difficult to get people to change their viewing habits and find a new channel," said Derek Baine, an analyst for industry consultant SNL Kagan. "Plus, the fact that she'll still be on her syndicated show will probably be confusing to some people."

    Discovery Networks is reportedly sinking 189 million dollars into the joint venture, which replaces Discovery Health and will reach nearly 80 million homes. The programming is intended to "inspire viewers and give them hope," Oprah has often said, and the network is being "built on great intentions."

    However, she acknowledged in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal that it may take time to translate the success of a show she'd done 140 times a year into a network which airs 24 hours a day.

    "If you're on the outside looking in, of course it looks like a big risk," Winfrey told the paper. But for me, it's not so much about going wider. It's about going deeper, so that you have a platform that has a deeper impact."

    The Oprah Winfrey Network launches at 16:00 GMT, noon on the east coast and 9am on the west coast, with an hour-long introduction hosted by Winfrey and a weekend line-up of sneak previews.

    The network has also developed: a reality show where contestants compete for their own television show; another where children kidnap their workaholic parents; two cooking shows; a show where families get rid of their clutter and get organized; a talk show about sex; and a series which profiles top names like Diane Sawyer, Jay-Z, Maya Angelou, and Condoleezza Rice.

    AFP
  • From Abuja, the presidency has accused international news operation, Aljazeera of seeking to destabilise Nigeria through false reports, saying it would not condone any further reckless and deliberate falsehood.

    In a statement last week, presidential spokesman, Ima Niboro said it was pure lie the report that President Goodluck Jonathan fingered the notorious Boko Haram sect of for masterminding the Abuja bomb blast.

    He said, "Our attention has been drawn to the unfounded and sensational news item on Al Jazeera television, claiming that Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has blamed the fundamentalist group, Boko Haram, for the bomb blast which occurred in Abuja yesterday. This is an outright lie. Nowhere, and at no time has the President held any particular group responsible for the attack."

    Additionally, he added that neither the Nigerian security services nor the Nigerian government have confirmed those behind the attacks.

    All Africa
  •  South Africa’s satellite TV newcomer Top TV secured more than 200 000 subscribers in seven months. It is planning a sports channel and “free” HD channels.

     State security agents ransacked Teranga FM in Gambia, a community radio station located outside the capital, and ordered its closure, Reporters Without Borders has learned from various sources.

     My Family, a successful Ivorian soap opera - It was in 2002 that “My Family”, a TV series created and produced by Akissi Delta, was first aired by the leading TV broadcaster in Côte d'Ivoire, RTI. After just a few episodes, the series was a hit.

distribution

  • Cinemas in Africa have been closing down one after the other over the last twenty years. Today, many countries have only one working cinema left. The Association ‘Cinemas for Africa’ - launched in 2009 over FESPACO at the initiative of the Mauritian film maker Abderrahmane Sissako - has been commissioned to back the renovation of Cinemas on the continent and work towards getting them up and running again.

    Abderrahamane Sissako reported that in Bamako, 30 movie theatres have been sold and some of them converted into other types of business. The « groupe Tomota », owner of Cinema « Ciné Soudan »,  has asked Sissako, to find an idea to renovate the
    Building. “Les inRocks“ reported that in Senegal, Cameroun and in Madagascar, cinema theatres have been closed down.

    The Association has launched a subscription campaign amongst public and private contributors. The collection of funds, in the form of a symbolic sale of cinema seats, will contribute to the renovation of the Soudan Ciné in Bamako (Mali) the Association’s pilot project.

    More here

  • The new Killarney CineCentre will open in March 2011 and will have a full-3D complex with five screens totalling 708 seats.

    It owner, with over 50 years in the industry, Avalon Group's Moosa Moosa is the longest serving cinema executive in South Africa and among the longest serving in the world.

    Avalon's most ambitious project to date comes to fruition at the Killarney Mall shopping centre in Johannesburg's affluent northern suburbs. The new Cine Centre will be a specialised luxury cinema complex featuring the latest Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters. The centre will have five screens, each featuring the latest 3D and digital projection hardware, as well as state-of-the-art Dolby Digital surround sound.

    "All five cinemas will offer cutting-edge viewing technology including 3D," says Debra Sharnock, centre manager of Killarney Mall. "A fully digital 3D cinema complex is a first for the South African cinema industry, demonstrating the extraordinary quality that movie-goers can expect at Johannesburg's newest cinema development." A highlight of the Cine Centre will be a luxurious 64-seat gold-class theatre available for hire.

    For the full story visit Media Club South Africa website here:

  • Workshop at DISCOP: Differentiate your TV channel – Standing out from the competition. The TV stations that will make their mark in 2011 and succeed in gaining market share will be those that build loyalty through the people, programmes and feel of their TV channel. The workshop will focus on all aspects of differentiating your TV channel, primariliy addressing: Channel attitude and personality, Content (local and exclusive); Programming (overall structure and pieces); and brand (content, personalities and marketing). Led by Russell Southwood, CEO, Balancing Act with panel speakers including Cathy Fogler, Managing Director, CAfrica and Yaa Newman of TV Africa. Date, time and Place: 6.30 pm, Wednesday 9 February, La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra.

investment

  • South Africa-based multinational media conglomerate Naspers has an indirect stake in Facebook worth $343 million (R2.3 billion) following a multimillion-dollar injection into the social-networking site by US bank Goldman Sachs and Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies (DST).

    This funding boosted Facebook’s value to $50bn. Naspers owns 30 percent in Mail.ru, Russia’s leading internet group, which in turn owns 2.4 percent of Facebook through its sister company DST.

    Abdul Davids, the Head of Research at Kagiso Asset Management, said the Facebook stake accounted for 15 percent of Mail.ru’s value but this meant that its other businesses were either under-valued or Facebook was overpriced.

    “Facebook is making very minimal revenue at the moment. One can argue that at $50bn it is a bit on the rich side.” Davids said that if Facebook were to list on the local bourse, it would dwarf the worth of MTN and other Top40 index shares. It would also double Naspers’ valuation.

    Reuters
  • Francisco Partners have completed their acquisition of Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional (active in Africa) from Technicolor.

    As of January 1st 2011, the California-based firm started operating as an independent company under the trade name Grass Valley, with terms of the sale including 100 percent ownership of the current Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business. 

    The deal includes the camera, content repurposing, editing, master control, modular, news production, production automation, production switchers, routing, and video servers product lines, including their entire product portfolios, the R&D centres and factories around the world, the Sales & Systems activities and Customer Support organisation worldwide, as well as the management and administrative support functions dedicated to the business.

    Grass Valley
  •  Investments at FESPACO 2011: Fespaco, the largest gathering of African cinema to be held from February 26 to March 5, 2011 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Fasso will be bigger again this year. New investors, content sellers and buyers, and media companies are expected to present innovations and digital opportunities. The event is supported by the country’s state and international organisations. Organisers have also added new features such as a new international jury and partnership with four African film schools. Filmmakers have until Jan. 31 2010 to send copies of their productions. See our agenda section for more details. Watch the press review here

regulation & policy

  • The Ttabamiruka is an annual conference organised by the Buganda Kingdom to review and discuss the social, cultural, economic and developmental issues of the kingdom. The theme for the 2010 conference was Poverty and Development.

    The conference, held on 17 December 2010 at the Wampewo Avenue-based Hotel Africana, in a suburb of Kampala, was supposed to be broadcast live by several radio stations, including the Buganda Kingdom-owned Central Broadcasting Services (CBS FM) radio station, but all were stopped by the BC. By the time the directive was issued by the BC, CBS FM was already relaying the debates live.

    A CBS FM staffer who preferred to remain anonymous said the station received a call from the BC telling them to suspend the live broadcast, equating it to the open-air talk shows locally known as Ebimeeza, which were banned in September 2009.

    "We only broadcast live the speech of the king, His Majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II," a staffer said. The station was accused of failing to consult the BC on the issues to be discussed and aired during the conference.

    The Kingdom of Buganda comprises one of the largest ethnic groups in Uganda and is based in the central region. Most of its people are languishing in poverty. National Bureau of Statistics figures indicate that more than 38% of the total population in Uganda lives below poverty line.

    The chairman of the BC, Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi, told the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that the conference broadcasts were not much different from the banned Ebimeeza, which were broadcast from bars and night clubs.

    "We were not informed as a regulatory body about the topics to be discussed and the guests. So what they were doing was illegal because we banned the Ebimeeza in 2009. We were even taken to court over our action," Mutabazi said. He explained that there is a license requirement stipulating that all radio stations planning to produce live broadcast programmes should own pre-listening gadgets, but most radio stations have failed to comply with the requirement. "We can tolerate live soccer matches or Independence commemorations but not debates," Mutabazi stressed.

    In September 2009, the council arbitrarily closed down five privately-owned radio stations, 88.8 and 89.2 CBS FM, Ssuubi FM, Radio Sapientia and Radio Two (Akkaboozi), and banned open-air radio talk shows.

    HRNJ-Uganda feels that the BC is overstepping its powers when it begins to regulate people's thoughts and information. These actions are illegal as they limit the ability of citizens to exercise their fundamental freedoms and liberties as stipulated in Art. 29 of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda

  • The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has blamed political parties for the poor representation they receive from state broadcast stations. NBC's Head of Public Affairs Awwalu Salihu said refusal of aggrieved parties to report to the Commission when fair representation is not given to them does not help the commission in its quest to solve the problem.

    "If any station goes off course, it is left to the aggrieved parties to report to the commission and we will follow it up. But the biggest problem we have is that they never complain, some will rather go to the media and castigate us," he said.

    While stating that the commission had given each broadcast station political guidelines, he said letters had also been written to the stations to this effect, telling them that all parties need to be represented fairly.

    "This however does not mean equal airtime for everyone because some political parties are bigger than others," he said. He said the commission in conjunction with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was planning a political summit in this month where all parties and broadcast stations would be involved.
    "It is hoped that the issue of poor representation amongst others will be resolved at the end of the summit", he said.

    Daily Trust
  • Reporters Without Borders condemns the acts of intimidation and violence to which journalists are currently being subjected in Côte d'Ivoire, as the political crisis resulting from the 28 November presidential election drags on with no sign of a resolution in sight.

    The Rwanda Journalists Association, has petitioned the senate to review articles in the penal code prescribing prison terms for defamation.

    ACPFilms has launched its free legal assistance service for all cinema and audiovisual professionals. The legal assistance service is provided by the Gyory law firm in Brussels (Belgium). It includes a "Guide to copyright and cinema and audiovisual contracts" for cinema and audiovisual professionals and their advisers. This Guide presents a number of basic elements of the cinema and audiovisual industry with which professionals must be familiar. The Guide is freely accessible to all professionals on www.acpfilms.eu and will be updated regularly. Contacts:  Moussa Sawadogo or Michel Gyory

technology & convergence

  • Communications Minister Radhakrishna Padayachie announced last week that South Africa will complete the process of migrating from analogue to digital television by December 2013. The analogue switch off date was originally set for November 2011 but has since been postponed to December 2013 by the Communications Ministry.

    The minister revealed that South Africa would adopt the DVB-T2 standard for digital migration. After the December 2013 deadline, existing analogue TVs will not be able to transmit images but viewers equipped with digital TVs would not experience any problems.
    Once the analogue signal has been switched off, those with analogue TVs will need a Set-Top-Box (STB). The box will convert the digital signal to analogue for the analogue TV.  The Minister also mentioned that there were "export opportunities" with regards to STB as other African countries needing help with digital migration could look to South Africa as the manufacturing base of STB.

    Padayachie added that this digital migration transition could serve as a catalyst to revitalise the South African electronics manufacturing industry. Among the benefits of going digital, and on top of a clearer broadcast images for viewers, the other dividend is that it will start liberating the spectrum and provide more channels. DVB-T2 will provide viewers access to 14 channels.

    Start of January, some media reported that a grouping of aspirant black manufacturers organised labour plan to contest a cabinet decision to adopt a European digital terrestrial television broadcasting standard.

    Keith Thabo, the chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers in Electronics Components (Namec), said that the organisations would challenge the adoption of Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T2), a second-generation standard, because its introduction would fail to achieve the optimum socioeconomic impact. He said the groups favoured a Japanese standard, which is also used in Brazil, for South Africa’s migration from analogue to digital television broadcasting, which has to be completed by 2015.

    Namec is concerned that commercial broadcasters e.tv and M-Net, and decoder manufacturers Altech and Reunert, who claim to have spent millions on trials of the European standard, would be the only commercial beneficiaries if South Africa adopted DVB-T2.

    various media
  • The African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Media Initiative (AMI) convened a meeting on the Pan African Media Portal (PAMP) in Nairobi, Kenya, on 21 December 2010. The African Union Commission, A24 Media and AllAfrica Global Media, partners on the implementation of this ambitious project, attended the meeting.
     
     The Nairobi gathering was a follow-up to the Informal Joint Experts Meeting organised by the African Union Commission and the European Commission (EC) in Addis Ababa, March 23-25, 2010 on the theme "Media and Development".
     
    Media play a critical role in promoting economic and human development. In order to help African media participate effectively and efficiently in the development efforts of the continent, the AUC has partnered with key players to develop a world class web platform that will serve as central point to access information about the fast changing African media landscape.
     
    This platform will gather information about media houses; list the national legislation of AU Member States on media, present journalism and communication schools, and provide a full list of all relevant media stakeholders in each African country.
     
    Participants in the Nairobi meeting agreed upon priority areas to implement in the first quarter of 2011 with the objective of launching a public website no later than March.
     
    “We are happy to see that this important project is finally underway. It has the full support of the EC, AUC and its chairperson Jean Ping. It is a new concept that will provide the hub of all African media information, and contacts, including the Diaspora, a unique and unifying concept- one that has never been seen before”
    said Habiba Mejri-Cheikh, the AUC spokesperson in charge of Communication and Information.
     
    “The African media landscape is fast changing with the huge impact of new information and communication technologies. It is high time that the media community comes together to create a unique tool which will provide the much needed information on the state of the media throughout the continent” commented Amadou Mahtar Ba, CEO of the African Media Initiative which oversees the implementation of the Pan African Media Portal. “We are grateful to A24 Media and AllAfrica Global Media who are pulling together their technological resources to make sure that this project takes off.”

    A24 Media
  • On January 13, 2011, Toshiba Corporation reinforced its LCD TV line-up for Egypt, the Middle East and Africa with the launch of a comprehensive line-up of new models, ranging from its flagship LED TV to the company's first 3D LED TV to be introduced in Egypt, and to the innovative Power TV series. The series includes the Power TV, specially developed to bring an enhanced viewing experience to a wider reach of consumers at affordable prices, the company's global flagship TV, the 55ZL800; and the ultra-slim 3D LED TV, WL700.
    for more information look here:

    An exhibition in New York focuses on 1001 Islamic innovations. Presented at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, New York, the touch screen displays a playroom in which the visitor is prompted to select objects that have been invented at the height of Islam, during the''golden age'' that lasted a thousand years, between the seventh and seventeenth centuries.

more

  • 21-29 January 2011
    12th. “Festival national du film (FNF) Marocain” in Tangier
    Venue: Tangier - city in northern Morocco

    Long and short film competition hosted by Ahmed Ghazali, « président de la Haute Autorité de la Communication audiovisuelle » (HACA) in Morocco. There are 19 long films in competition.
    click for details here:
     

     

    9-11 February 2011
    Discop Africa
    Venue: Lapalm Royal Beach hotel, Accra, Ghana.

    Since 2009, DISCOP markets targeting Sub-Saharan African television marketplaces have brought together over 400 companies selling and buying television content in this part of the world.
    click for details here:
     

     

    10-20 February 2011
    “Berlinale” – Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin)
    Venue: Berlin

    One of the most important dates on the international film industry’s calendar: About 400 films are shown every year, more than 19,000 film professionals from 128 countries, including about 4,000 journalists, almost 300,000 tickets sold.
    click for details here:
     

     

    16-21 February 2011
    2011 Pan African Film Festival (PAFF)
    Venue: Los Angeles, CA, USA

    Completed U.S. and international feature-length and short films festival. The PAFF presents and showcases a broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes of Africans and African-Americans.  In addition to the film festival, the PAFF presents a world renowned Art Show featuring over 100 fine artists and craftspeople from around the world showcasing the best in Black fine art, sculpture, photography, unique handmade crafts, home furnishings, designer jewelry, designer fashions and accessories that highlight the artistry and beauty of the African aesthetic. click for details here:

     

    23rd till 26th February 2011
    Aluta film festival 2011
    Venue: Kimberley – South Africa.

    click for details here:
     

     

    26 February to 5 March 2011
    2011 FESPACO – 22nd edition
    Venue: Ouagadougou – Burkina Fasso

    Set up every two years, the well-known FESPACO festival is a week of celebration for Cinema for Africans and for the African Diaspora. Fespaco is considered as one of the biggest film events on the African continent. In 2011, it will be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Communication of Burkina Faso
    click for details here:
     

     

    22nd - 27th March 2011
    Festival Cinema Africano Asia e America Latina 21° edizione
    Venue: Milano, Italy

    click for details here:

    22nd - 24th March 2011
    IPTV World Forum 2011
    Venue: Olympia, London UK

    A comprehensive programme of more than 200 visionary speakers, including over 140 service providers from telcos, cablecos, broadcasters and content providers. The conference programme is divided into four specific tracks focusing on IP Platforms for TV, Network Optimisation, Service Management and The Business of Content. Each day will start with a keynote plenary session discussing the innovations and services in IP and TV:
    click for details here: for a conference programme please e-mail gavin.whitechurch@informa.com
     

     

    23-25 March 2011
    AdExpo
    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

    Mega Media AdExpo is a platform where the advertising industry, marketers, advertisers and media buyers gather and meet to discuss and plan advertising for the year ahead. Apart from the exhibits, the event also aims to educate with its offering of short 30 min workshops on interesting topics from Mobile marketing to internet advertising. 

     

    25 march to 9 April 2011
    Afrika Filmfestival
    Leuven, 3220 Holsbeek - Belgium

    The Afrika Filmfestival in Leuven is the most important annual showcase for African films in the Benelux. The festival promotes African cinema.
    click for details here:
     

     

    4-7 April 2011
    MIPTV
    Venue: Cannes, France

    MIPTV is the world's leading content market. It provides a unique opportunity to meet the key decision makers in the TV/Film, Digital media and Cinema industry. 21,000 m2 exhibition floor.
    click for details here:
     

     

    13-17 April 2011
    International Pan-African Film Festival of Cannes
    Venue: Cannes

    Submission of films and application for accreditation for the International Pan-African Film Festival of Cannes are now open.
    Closing date for film entries: February 20, 2011
    Film Genres Sought: Fiction/ Narrative, Documentary, Animation...
    Category: Long, Medium, Short film.
    click for details here:
     

     

    April May 2011 (final dates tba)
    African film festival (AFF) in NYC
    NYC, USA

    Film Festival. AFF organisers accept submissions on an ongoing basis.
    click for details here:
     

     

    May 2010
    The Helsinki African Film Festival
    Venue: Andorra, Eerikinkatu 11, 00100 Helsinki

    Call for short film submissions - Deadline 31 December 2010

    Helsinki African Film Festival brings an entertaining and thought-provoking selection of contemporary African cinema to Finland. The festival aims to foster communication across cultures and support dialogue on wide-ranging issues related to Africa
    click for details here:

     

    2, 5 June 2011
    Africa Festival
    Venue: Wurzburg, Germany

    click for details here:

     

    11th to 19th June, 2011
    The 8th African Film Festival of Tarifa, Spain
    Calle Monte Carmelo, 5 bajo
    41011 Sevilla España

    click for details here:
     

     

    2 - 10 July, 2011
    Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF)

    East Africa's largest film and arts festival, showcasing a broad spectrum of African films.
    click for details here:

     

    20-22 July 2011
    Mediatech Africa 2011 Exhibition
    The Coca-Cola Dome
    Northgate - Johannesburg (South Africa)

    Mediatech Africa SA's only all-inclusive broadcast, media, entertainment and AV trade. It showcases cutting edge technologies and services from industry leaders in television and broadcast, sound and audio, lighting and staging, animation, communication and related fields.
    click for details here:

     

    22-25 July 2011
    The 2nd Durban FilmMart over the 32nd Durban International Film Festival (21-31 July).
    Venue: Durban

    Contact: Durban Film Office –
    click for details here:

     

    July to Sept. 2011 (final dates tba)
    African film festival (AFF) in NYC
    NYC, USA

    Outdoor Summer Screenings in NYC Parks. Featuring dance, music, food and of course films. AFF programs year-round; therefore, AFF organisers accept submissions on an ongoing basis.
    click for details here:

     

    3-8 Octobre 2011
    Festival du Court Métrage Méditerranéen de Tanger
    Venue: Tangier, Morocco

    A festival focused on short films.
    for details E-mail : ccm@menara.ma

    31 Oct 7 Nov 2011
    Out In Africa
    South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
    Venue: various, see website

    click for details here:

     
    Oct-Nov, final dates tba
    Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival
    Venue: Edinburgh's Filmhouse cinema

    The UK's largest African Film Festival
    click for details here:


    (final date tba)
    Festival du Monde Arabe du Court-métrage Azrou-Ifrane

    click for details here:

  •  At the start of January 2011, it was announced that South African  Parliament is moving ahead to fill the four vacancies on the SABC’s board, with its communications committee due to meet next week to draw up a shortlist of candidates. A total of 84 nominations have been received by Parliament since it called for names in October 2010.

     African Cinema will miss two grand figures: Mahama Johnson Traoré (1942-2010) and Sotigui Kouyaté (1936-2010) passed away in 2010 and will be honoured at FESPACO 2011.

     Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has taken on a new role: he’s starring in a television series called The South African Story with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
    This remarkable nine part documentary premieres on SABC3 from Tuesday, 1st February at 20:00.

  • ACP Films to African film Producers
    Coming soon: a new call for proposals

    The new ACP-EU ACP cultural sector Support Programme will be launched in 2011 and includes two components: ACPFilms and ACPCultures.
    Funded by the 10th EDF, this new program has a budget of 30 million Euros, 24 million allocated to projects. A call for proposals will be launched in a couple of weeks.


    ACP Films: 2010 wrap up and perspectives in 2011

    The year 2010 ends on a positive note for the ACPFilms Programme, with several
    beneficiaries participating to many international festivals. I am glad to mention the wonderful film “A crying man” of the Chadian Mahamat Saleh Haroun, who won the Jury Prize at last Cannes Festival, and three awards at Dubai Film Festival- best director, best actor and best editor. The Last Flight of the Flamingo of the Mozambican Joao Ribeiro was also awarded at the Festival of Tarifa in Spain, and Viva Riva, by the Congolese Djo Munga, was invited to the Toronto Film Festival 2010 and to the next Berlin Film Festival in February 2011. The ACP cinema and audiovisual production has continued to strengthen its position in these prestigious environments.

    Also in the ACP field, our policy to make images available to the ACP local population is taking root. From Mozambique to Fiji via Trinidad & Tobago, people have access to local works through mobile digital cinema screenings or broadcasts on television channels, through projects supported by ACPFilms Programme. At the same time, the support offered by the Programme also strengthens distribution
    networks while giving priority to professional technical trainings.

    The cultural policy of the ACP Group aims at, among other things, developing and structuring film and audiovisual industries at intra-ACP level. It does so through the creation and dissemination of their own pictures in better conditions, better promotion of cultural diversity and enhancement of cultural identities in the ACP and intercultural dialogue on the one hand; on the other by promoting an environment conductive to the creation, trade and sustainability of their fundamental cultural values and diversity.
    Today more than ever, the ACP Secretariat affirms its continuing commitment to support the strengthening of the culture sector as a fundamental element in the development cooperation policy.

    This support that will be confirmed in a few weeks with the launch of the new “EU-ACP ACP cultural sector support Programme” combining the two components ACPFILMS and ACPCultures. The overall objective of this new Programme, with a budget of 30 million Euros, of which 24 million will be spent on projects, is to contribute to the struggle against poverty through the emergence and consolidation of sustainable cultural industries in ACP countries, fostering their contribution to social and economic development and preservation of cultural diversity. A first call for proposals will be launched in early 2011, to enhance the creation and production of cultural goods and services in the ACP States, through an integrated approach, with interregional distribution channels; to promote better access to local, regional, intra-ACP, European and international markets; and to build capacity of stakeholders, operators and cultural entrepreneurs in ACP countries. The focus will be on supporting projects that have South-South cooperation perspective and that seek to develop synergies at intra-ACP level.
    With this new programme, the ACP Secretariat took it to heart to hear the wishes of artists and cultural operators. Whenever it was possible, the specificity of the sector was taken into account when drafting the Guidelines to be published shortly.
    Once again, the ACP / EU demonstrate the benefit of the Cotonou Agreement for ACP cinema and audiovisual sector. I invite all ACP professionals and citizens of Member States of European Union to apply.

    To you all I extend my best wishes for 2011.

    Michèle Dominique RAYMOND
    Assistant Secretary General
    Department of Political Affairs
    and Human Development
    www.acpfilms.eu


    Call for entry - International Pan-African Film Festival of Cannes, France, from
    13-17 April 2011.

    Submission of films and application for accreditation for the International Pan-African Film Festival of Cannes are now open.
    Closing date for film entries: February 20, 2011
    Film Genres Sought: Fiction/ Narrative, Documentary, Animation...
    Category: Long, Medium, Short film.
    More info here:


    Scholarships for Artists UNESCO-Aschberg 2011

    An application for UNESCO-Aschberg grants for artists are now open. These scholarships promote mobility of young artists (between 25 and 35), in order to enrich their personal perspectives, to enable them to engage in intercultural dialogue and to expose them to cultural diversity.
    For more information click here:

     

    Call for entries - Eighth edition of the African Film Festival of Tarifa, 11 to 19 June
    2011.

    The African Film Festival of Tarifa is organizing calls for applications:
    Submission of movies to be screened during the festival - Deadline for registration and sending DVDs: February 25, 2011. For more information e-mail: marionb@fcat.es

    Call for candidates to submit your pictures to the fourth Africa Photo competition.

    Registration deadline: March 1, 2011. For more information e-mail: gaetano@fcat.es

    To download regulations of these various applications: www.fcat.es/FCAT_fr

    Festival of Media Awards deadline has been extended.

    Due to the overwhelming response and the many requests the organiser have received, the deadline for the Festival of Media Awards entries has been extended to Friday 4 February 2011.

    CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards 2011

    CNN International and MultiChoice officially launched the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2011 Awards.
    The winners of these prestigious annual awards will be announced at a gala ceremony to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2011.
    The competition is open to African nationals who are professional journalists including freelancers across print, television, internet, photographic and radio. Full details on how to enter can be found by logging on at www.cnn.com/africanawards. The closing date for entries is 27 January 2011
    This year, the competition will recognise excellence in most journalist categories including the following:
    • Television Features Award
    • Television News Bulletin Award
    For further information please contact:
    CNN International London: Joel Brown + 44 20 7693 0967/ + 44 7967 293452 joel.brown@turner.com
    MultiChoice South Africa: Marietjie Groenewald + 27 11 289 3067 / +27 79 501 1758 Marietjie.Groenewald@multichoice.co.za

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