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Issue no 2001 - 10 April 2015

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    With the exception of Senegal (and more recently Côte d'Ivoire), not much change has happened in the francophone broadcast sector for so long. But the long delayed transition to digital broadcasting is accelerating the move to more competitive markets. Sylvain Béletre looks at the example of Mali and picks over what the results of an audience survey in Bamako tell us about the new competition fault lines.

    At first glance, Mali’s TV and radio market is dominated by the Government broadcaster ORTM. It operates two TV channels (ORTM and TM2) and a number of radio stations that compete with private broadcasters. The latter are more numerous in the radio than TV sector.

    ORTM is the long-established Government channel and it gets the lion’s share of the audience still although largely in the capital Bamako. TM2 was set up to provide more entertainment-based programming and is aimed at younger audiences: it has yet to find its feet in terms of attracting viewers because it is digital and the transition process has barely begun.

    The main competitor to these channels is Africable, a private sector satellite platform that offers both Free To Air and Pay TV content. As we reported in Issue 198, it is also operating a satellite platform for other broadcasters as well as its own content. This platform is aimed more broadly at francophone west Africa.

    According to industry sources, there are around a dozen independent TV production companies and a small number of film-makers. The latter’s productions are largely made through international donor funding.

    International NGO MICT carried out an audience survey in Bamako called “J’aimerais bien être fier de l”ORTM” Enquête sur l’utilisation et l’image de la chaîne de télévision nationale au sein de la population de Bamako.” It has plans to carry out a second audience survey outside of Bamako.

    Asked which TV channel was their first choice, 40% of respondents from within Bamako said ORTM and 27% Africable. However, within these percentages, men are much more likely to watch ORTM and women more likely to watch Africable. The latter also does much better than ORTM in the 15-19 year old age group.

    ORTM’s digital channel TM2 was named by well below 5% of respondents as their favorite channel. TV5MONDE and France 24 both were named by 12% and 6% respectively as their favorite channel. TV5MONDE is currently running a billboard campaign in Bamako advertising its online presence.

    When respondents were asked whether they had confidence in a channel vs. it being a favorite channel, both ORTM and Africable had less people expressing confidence in them whereas TV5 and France 24 had more people expressing confidence. Education was the key variable in these responses as those with less education expressed higher level of confidence in ORTM and Africable, whilst those with a higher level of education were more likely to express confidence in TV5 and France 24.

    When asked whether ORTM was a “chaîne crédible”, between 30-40% either didn’t agree at all or didn’t agree. Over 40% felt ORTM was too controlled by the Malian Government.

    In the capital Bamako, TV is as likely to be used as radio and the vast majority of people watch it in their home. However, there is also significant viewing at work, in neighbours’ houses and with public TVs in places like cafes. As elsewhere globally, prime time between 18.00-21.00.

    When asked which media was Very Important in terms of their daily life, most respondents chose TV followed by radio and Internet (only slightly apart) and lastly the press. The presence of Internet at this level is particular significant for what is described in the following section. 15-19 year old respondents were slightly less likely to watch “journal télévisé” (or 'JT', the news in French) than other age groups.

    The most popular content (either watched often and very often) were in descending order: sport, music and concerts, magazine programmes and talk shows. Respondents also thought that ORTM did a good job (well covered and very well covered) with music, sport and the elections. 

    As for all Government broadcasters but particularly in francophone Africa, the dilemma which this survey highlights is that they are between a rock and a hard place. The private sector is increasingly offering better and more varied entertainment and sometimes sports and the international French broadcasters are offering news that the more educated middle classes find more credible.

    As if this squeeze by broadcast competition were not enough, as elsewhere, they face competition from online and social media where locally sourced news (particularly from the north) gets to people more quickly (though not always more accurately) than through TV and radio.

    If Government broadcasters fail to change to meet these challenges, they will both lose audiences and become irrelevant. They must meet these challenges by finding enough room to make credible reforms, particularly in terms of news gathering.

     

    Images: Bamako seals. Source: wikipedia.

    _______________________________________________

    “Creators and Innovators in Africa at the crossroads between Culture and Technology.”
    So far 876 people have subscribed to Smart Monkey TV’s web TV channel which uploads 10-15 video clip interviews a month, covering African TV, Film, VoD, social media  and media.
    Should you be one of those subscribers? Find out on this link.

    Video Clip Interviews - This week:

    Hypolite Bouabre on the public launch of Ivorian music producer David Monsoh's BeBlack TV

    Arseny Veber, Earth TV on streaming live one of the best views in Africa to the world

    Mohamed Omran, Mediasat on the launch of Libya's Arraed TV, a channel offering more neutral news

    Amos Neumann, Armoza Formats on selling The Package TV format into Ghana and Tanzania

    Uche Iwuchukwu on the launch of Udala Media's SVoD platform for African and Caribbean Users

     
    David Forbes on his documentary about an Ndebele women shot over 20 years of her life

    Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen on his film Invasion 1897 - The British remove the last King of Africa

    Writer Tom Rowlands-Rees on Kenneth Gyang's Confusion Na Wa and their latest film project

    African football talent scout Mikko Perala on a new TV programme - Top Spot - Spotting Top Talent

    Nicholas Beveney on Kingmakers, an Africa TV drama series about a struggle to be President

    For news updates, follow us on Twitter: @BalancingActAct

content

  • Dubai, Paris, 30 March 2015 — Strong Media SAL-Off-Shore (SMO) has signed a multi-year contract with Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL) that equips it to take its pay TV operations in Africa to a new level. SMO has leased capacity on the EUTELSAT 16A satellite to deploy a diversified range of English, French and Arabic-speaking television services over Sub-Saharan Africa, leveraging the group’s proven distribution capabilities across the region.

    “Ma TELE” and “Shashatee”, SMO’s new French and Arabic-speaking pay-TV services are gearing up for launch in April, joining the established “My TV” service that has been resized and rebranded as “My TV Smart” on EUTELSAT 16A, taking advantage of the satellite’s powerful African footprint. “Ma TELE” will initially target potential subscribers in Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo with an offer of close to 30 channels, including its own flagship Africa-specific channels and AB Sat’s BIS Africa service, complemented by a rich line-up of unencrypted (free-to-air) channels.

    STRONG is a provider of consumer digital satellite TV receiving equipment, with its own operations for distribution, technical support and after-sales service in a number of Sub-Saharan Africa countries. The new services will benefit from STRONG’s proven capabilities in providing efficient distribution and a comprehensive product range of consumer premises equipment.

    Samer Mourad, Chief Operating Officer of SMO, declared: “We are excited to announce the launch of our new services for Sub-Saharan Africa. We selected EUTELSAT 16A for its solid video neighbourhood and significant audience penetration in our target markets. We are more than confident that our cooperation with Eutelsat will bring the desired added value to the services we intend to deploy over the region.”

    Michel Azibert, Chief Commercial and Development Officer at Eutelsat, said: “Our 16° East neighbourhood is fast ramping up to be a key point of reference for a diverse range of African and international content. With STRONG’s skills at assembling compelling digital content and ensuring viewers get access to affordable and quality consumer equipment we are well placed for a new phase of growth. We look forward to collaborating with STRONG on accelerating access to digital entertainment in Africa.”

    Source: Company Press Release 30 march 2015

  • VIDI, South Africa’s premier video on demand entertainment service has recently added almost 20 locally made titles to its ever expanding library.  All currently available to view, the shows include something for everyone, from comedy to drama to family to adult and even a couple of titles to keep the little ones entertained.

    Most recent "home grown" additions to the VIDI line up include:

    Township Soul - this music documentary takes us back in time to the young men and women who made the music of the 70s. It relives the music that fortified South Africa's black population and helped them find joyful expression. The audience is treated to a funky selection of tunes from top bands of the era. Through this journey the viewer comes to terms with that intangible ingredient in music that helps people survive even the most difficult situation. It reveals the essence of funky joy and of having soul nomakanjani!  The film also explores the cross-pollination of sound, fashion and politics between South Africa’s ghettoes and Black America. It is arguable that the Soul Vibe of the 70’s was a potent local brew concocted from traditional African and American music.

    Single Guys is the story of three best friends trying to navigate the world of dating: Khaya, petrified of women, is the uptight owner of a failing DVD store; Taps is a smooth-as-silk playa; while their over emotional roommate Zanele can't stop falling in and out of love on a daily basis. You'd think it would be easier to be a Single Guy when there are three of you but it's harder to get a girlfriend when there's always two others peering over your shoulder.  Idiotic advice, failed attempts at being macho, trying too hard to be cool... it's not easy being young and looking for love in the age of Facebook. The series stars Thabo Malema, Thomas Gumede and Motlatsi Mafatshe.

    • For lovers of natural history shows, Shoreline is the South African answer to all those David Attenborough shows. In this 13 episode series, a team of experts (archaeologist, historian and marine biologist) take us on a 3000 km journey from Alexander Bay to Kosi Bay. They focus on the unique points of interest for each area and build an encyclopaedic picture of the South African shoreline, while discovering the secrets, the scenery and the stories that make our coast unique and how life at the edge shaped our destiny.

    Suburban Bliss is a favourite sitcom with South African audiences, as it spotlights the rocky relationship between a black and a white family - new neighbours in what was formerly an exclusively white neighbourhood. These two families are forever at each other’s throats – in the friendliest way possible, of course – as one misunderstanding after another arises out of ordinary day-to-day issues. The wives have a permanent vendetta going. One regards the other as a low class slob, and the other thinks her neighbour a pretentious yuppie.  Ma Moloi – the mother-in-law on the ‘“black” side – and Hempies – the patriarch on the “white” side of the fence – continually wage a war across the garden boundary, as the two are faced with a changing world, and they find in each other someone they can legitimately despise.  The only two people who seem to get on in this neighbourly chaos are the husbands, who spend their days trying to make peace between their feuding clans!

    Stokvel is a hugely popular comedy series from SABC2, set in the vibrant and exciting world of stokvels – a place where friends meet for companionship, good times, and a social way of saving money. This much-loved institution is the dynamic backdrop for the continuing activities of two stokvels in Diepkloof, Soweto.

    • The much-acclaimed drama series, Society takes viewers on an introspective journey that deals with subject matters relevant to and portraying a universally true reflection of the stories of young South African women.  In season one, four friends; Akua (Zandile Msutwana - of White Wedding fame), Beth (Sibulele Gcilitshana), Inno (Lele Ledwaba of Stokvel notoriety) and Lois (Samela Tyelbooi) are drawn together by the suicide of their high school friend, Dineo.

    Moferefere Lenyalong is a wickedly human and authentically South African comedy that centres around the antics of the various comic characters that run and work at Kersiefontein, a guesthouse on a farm in a secluded valley in the heart of Ficksburg. With a view of the Maluti Mountains and the sandstone cliffs of the Mpharane Mountains on the Caledon River, it is the perfect location for weddings and love and lots of humour.

    And finally - two shows for the kids:

    Adventures at the Water Hole is a series for children aged between six and nine years old and follows the adventures of Toti, a curious little mouse who, together with his friends – a chameleon, a frog, a goose, a warthog, a duiker and a tortoise – enjoys a series of exciting and often hilarious adventures at the water hole in a nature reserve, where his father serves as park ranger. And at the same time, he learns about his environment and how best to protect and sustain it.

    Haas Das Se Nuuskas - that all time classic children's show about a rabbit and a mouse running a news broadcast in Diere Land. Created by Louise Smit in 1976, at the time of television's introduction in South Africa, it was the first children's television programme in SA. The "news" typically revolved around all the animals' complaints, achievements and scandals. The voice of Haas Das was performed by well-known SABC news anchorman, Riaan Cruywagen.

    Other local titles currently available to screen on VIDI include Liefling, Semi-Soet, How to Steal Two Million, African Sky Stories, My Perfect Family, High Rollers, Urbo - The Adventures of Pax, Magic Cellar, Dinner with the President, Gauteng Maboneng, Magical World of Luna Belle, Streets of Mangaung and a doccie on the Soweto String Quartet.  Stay tuned for a lot more local offerings to come on VIDI in the weeks and months ahead.

    For more information on these and all other titles currently available on VIDI, log on to www.vidi.co.za.

  • Phiona Mutesi happened upon chess as a nine-year-old in the sprawling and impoverished Katwe slum of the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

    Now a chess champion who competes internationally, her story is being turned into a Hollywood film with Oscar-winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o tipped to play her mother.

    Back in 2005, Mutesi discovered a chess program held in a church in the Katwe slum districts in Kampala. Potential players were enticed with a free cup of porridge, and Mutesi began organising her days around her visits to the church.

    “It was so interesting,” she said of her introduction to pawns, rooks and kings in 2005. “But I didn’t go there for chess, I went just to get a meal.”

    The young girl developed a talent for chess, which was introduced in Uganda in the 1970s by foreign doctors and is still seen as a game predominantly played by the rich.

    “I like chess because it involves planning,” said Mutesi. “If you don’t plan, you will end up with a bad life.”

    The film of Mutesi’s story, titled Queen of Katwe, is based on a book of the same name about Mutesi by American writer Tim Crothers. It is to be shot in Uganda and South Africa, directed by Mira Nair and produced by Disney. Filming is reported to begin in March.

    Coach and mentor Robert Katende of the Sports Outreach Ministry remembers meeting Mutesi for the first time a decade ago: “She was really desperate for survival,” he said.

    Katende is now building a chess academy to accommodate 150 students outside Kampala.

    Two years into the game, Mutesi became Uganda’s national women’s junior champion, retaining the title the following year.

    “Phiona Mutesi has flourished,” said Vianney Luggya, president of the Uganda Chess Federation. “She made history in the schools’ competition by becoming the first girl to compete in the boys’ category. It was certainly surprising.”

    She participated in her first big competition, Africa’s International Children’s Chess Tournament, in South Sudan in 2009. “It was really wonderful because it was my first time abroad,” she said. “It was my first time to sleep in a hotel. We came back with a trophy.”

    Since then Mutesi has competed in chess Olympiads in Siberia, Turkey and Norway – after which she was given the Woman Candidate Master ranking by the World Chess Federation.

    Overseas, Mutesi has also played against her hero, Russian former world champion and Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, and inspired school students in the US to start a tournament in her name.

    Back home, her fame has had “an incredible impact”, said Luggya.

    “The number of female players participating in national chess championships has doubled,” he said, adding that each of the 26 schools set to compete in Uganda’s annual championships in April will have both female and male teams.

    Uganda’s female players have also been spurred on by the success of Ivy Amoko, who became east Africa’s first World Chess Federation Master last year.

    British-Nigerian actor David Oyelowo – nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Martin Luther King in the 2014 drama Selma – is also rumoured to star in Queen of Katwe.

    Luggya hopes the film will “open doors” for all players in Uganda, saying: “I think Ugandans realise that it is a brain game that can enhance their potential in all other aspects of life.”

    Mutesi’s goal is to rise to the level of Grandmaster, the highest level a chess player can attain, but she also hopes to become a paediatrician and open a home for children, to help girls facing challenges similar to those from her own childhood.

    “Girls are always overlooked, even in chess,” said Mutesi. “But I don’t think there’s any reason why a girl cannot beat a boy. It comes from believing in yourself.”

    Source: The Guardian

  • Durban - With an impressive seven awards – including the night's most prestigious award, Outstanding Soapie – Isibaya swept the boards at the 2015 Royalty Soapie Awards, held at the Durban ICC on Saturday night.

    The Mzansi Magic drama series continued its dominant run this awards season, claiming the trophies for outstanding set design, writing team, wardrobe, directing team, editing team and lighting, as well as the judges’ award for the best of the current crop of South African soapies – Outstanding Soapie.

    The glittering awards ceremony saw A-list celebrities and entertainers working the red carpet to celebrate South Africa’s robust homegrown soapie industry, which provides work for hundreds of actors, technicians, writers and creatives and continues to raise the bar with high-quality production values and compelling storylines.

    The big surprise of the night came when SABC2 soapie 7de Laan, which had been among this year’s Royalty Soapie Awards frontrunners with 14 nominations, failed to take home a single trophy.

    With Isibaya dominating the technical categories, the remainder of the evening’s spoils – voted for by the soapie-loving public after the judging panel had selected the finalists – were shared among e.tv’s Scandal and kykNET’s Villa Rosa (three awards each), and SABC3’s Isidingo (two awards).

    Villa Rosa won the coveted public vote for Most Popular Soapie of the Year, as well as the awards for Outstanding Female Villain (Therese Benadé as Astrid Wentzel) and Outstanding Male Villain (André Lotter as Liam le Roux).

    But these were bittersweet victories, because the long-running Afrikaans soap has been cancelled, with filming on the 11th and final season wrapping up in July. The awards ceremony was therefore an emotional occasion for the programme’s actors and creators, and a fitting send-off.

    Isidingo’s Motlatsi Mafatshe, who plays Sechaba Moloi, was named Outstanding Lead Actor, while Scandal’s Masasa Mbangeni, who plays Thembeka Shezi, was crowned Outstanding Lead Actress. Scandal also took home the awards for best supporting actress and actor, for Mapaseka Koetle (Dintle Setuke) and Andile Sithole (Ndumiso Ngcobo) respectively.

    Isidingo’s Izak Davel, who plays Bradley Haines, was named Outstanding Newcomer.

    The Royalty Soapie Awards also honoured two industry veterans with Lifetime Achievement Awards: 7de Laan creator and production maven Danie Odendaal, and eThekwini living legend, trailblazing beauty queen and Muvhango actress Cynthia Shange.

    This year’s Royalty Soapie Awards were a glamorous and star-studded affair, with stellar entertainment provided by eThekwini and national music "royalty", interspersed with comic relief from Goliath & Goliath. Mainly, it was a celebration of South Africa’s vibrant soapie industry – long may the drama continue!

    Visit www.royaltysa.com for more details.
    Source: Channel 24 30 march 2015

  • Sharing stories and challenging stereotypes are the main aims of the inaugural African Film Festival New Zealand.

    The event, which takes place at Rialto Cinemas Newmarket from April 9 to 15, includes 10 films and reflects the diversity of life in Africa.

    Festival communications director Kube Jones-Neill grew up in the United States, but has lived here for the past 17 years.

    "People tend to glaze over when you mention Africa," she said.

    "They immediately go to the big three: war, famine and disease."

    These are very real issues, but they aren't the whole story, the Mt Eden resident said.

    "What we know in spite of all that, is there are still people living joyous and fascinating lives there," she said.

    The African community in New Zealand has grown a lot since film festival trust chairman Boubacar Coulibaly moved here in 1989.

    The Malian says the continent has a rich cinematic history, but not many African films are released here.

    Buying the rights to films and having them rated in New Zealand is an expensive process, Coulibaly said.

    Trust members secured funding from various sponsors to help with costs and launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, which raised $2800.

    The film La Pirogue is one of Coulibaly's top picks from the programme.

    The story is about a group of Senegalese people trying to make the voyage across the ocean to Europe.

    You might think the film would be harrowing, but in fact it's empowering, the Grey Lynn resident said.

    "It's not that these people are hopeless. They are actually really strong people with a lot of determination.

    "To them it's an adventure they want to go on," he said.

    Other highlights include a music documentary about a Trinidadian singer called Calypso Rose, The Lioness of the Jungle and a dance film for young adults called Hear Me Move.

    Film is a reflection of culture, Jones-Neill said.

    "It's important for children who were born here of African heritage to stay connected to their roots, while also learning how to assimilate into New Zealand life."

    Go to africanfilmfestivalnz.org.nz for more information.
    Source: Stuff News 8 April 2015

broadcast

  • Johannesburg - Quirky new comedy, Strikdas – ‘n Familie Gedoente, earned R1 219 664 on its opening weekend. By the close of business on the long weekend, more than 35 000 people had seen the film.

    It held onto position number five on the Industry Top Ten behind Hollywood blockbusters Fast & Furious 7,  Cinderella, Home, and Insurgent, and remained ahead of another local film, Ballade vir ‘n Enkeling, which took sixth place on the Top Ten.

    "We are really thrilled that the public reaction to the film has been so positive," says Stefan Enslin, producer of Strikdas – ‘n Familie Gedoente. "We have also been monitoring the response to the film on several social media platforms and everyone who has seen it is raving about how much it makes you laugh. Especially the fact that you can enjoy a laugh with the entire family. It’s a delight for us as the filmmakers, especially because we wanted to make a family comedy that would appeal to everyone."

    The film opened 37% ahead of the hugely popular Klein Karoo (2013) on its opening weekend, and 105% ahead of Jakhalsdans (2010), effectively doing double the business of that film on the weekend. It’s also 2% ahead of Knysna which opened in December 2014, proving once again that there is an ongoing demand for Afrikaans family entertainment.

    Strikdas – ‘n familie gedoente is also the first Afrikaans feature film to be released worldwide simultaneously, in theatres across South Africa, and online to international audiences outside of Africa via the video-on-demand platform Scatzy.com.

    "As the local distributor of the film, it’s been exciting to have the unique opportunity to release a film that South Africans across the world can watch at the same time as their families back home are doing so," says Helen Kuun, CEO, Indigenous Film Distribution. "Given the success of the film on its opening weekend, we are keen to see how it performs online."

    The film’s hero Vossie, played by Kaz McFadden (Knysna, 2014) falls in love with Willemien, played by Leandie du Randt (Mooirivier, 2015), the spoilt daughter of a wealthy wine farm owner. He finds himself having to prove his worth not only to her, but also to her snobbish family. At the same time, he has to fight off Willemien’s two-timing ex, who is not prepared to let her go without a fight.

    The soundtrack for the film, produced by Gresham Records, is available from retail outlets nationwide. It features the title track Met Jou Hart, written and performed by Johan C Venter, who gained renown as a member of the popular a cappella group Flip a Coin. The music video is on YouTube and the ‘Praat Afrikaans’ Facebook page. A second single titled Klapsoen was recorded by Bouwer Bosch (Dans Lisa and Straatligkinders) and Almarie du Preez.

    Produced by Faith in Motion Productions and Philo Pieterse’s Philo Films, the production company behind runaway success Platteland, Strikdas – ‘n Familie Gedoente also stars Albert Maritz, Susanne Beyers, Gys de Villiers, Elsabé Daneel, Sandra Kotzé and Sean-Marco Vorster.

    Watch the trailer here:
    Source: Channel 24 8 April 2015

  • The multi-award-winning Greetings From The Colony premieres on Wednesday, 8 April 2015 at 20h00 GMT / 22h00 CAT on Witness, Al Jazeera's observational documentary strand.

    In Greetings From The Colony, Belgian filmmaker Nathalie Borgers explores a family mystery, kept secret for 80 years: her mixed-race aunt she didn't know existed.

    Nathalie’s grandfather, Leon, was a Belgian agent working in colonial Rwanda in the 1920s. Like many colonialists, he married a Rwandan woman, who bore him a daughter, Suzanne, and two sons. At the end of his term, he met and married a young Belgian woman, returning with her and four-year-old Suzanne to Belgium – abandoning his Rwandan wife and sons.

    “Suzanne’s father is my grandfather. She is my aunt. But until 15 years ago, I had no idea she existed,” says Nathalie. “When I learned about her, by accident, I realised that the secret dominating her life was not only a family taboo but also a national one.”

    In Greetings From The Colony, Nathalie explores Suzanne’s story of growing up without her mother, in a family of denial, in a foreign country with a dark colonial past. “Did you ever talk about Africa?” Nathalie asks in the documentary. “Never,” Suzanne whispers regretfully.

    While trying to re-unite Suzanne with her brothers who were left behind, Nathalie discovers that her aunt’s case isn't isolated: Suzanne is just one of hundreds of children who were removed from their homeland, while her brothers were just two of the many more who were simply abandoned.

    “Mixed-race children born during the colonial era embodied a deep contradiction,” says Nathalie. “Intimate relationships between white and black people were rampant in a society built on the idea of the white race’s superiority and civilising mission. The children born from these mixed relationships do not appear in Belgium’s colonial historiography. Yet many were repatriated, often abducted from their mothers, as independence approached, in order to ‘save the white part of their heritage.’”

    When Nathalie first contacted Suzanne, she was surprised but agreed to meet. “She told me that a few years earlier she had started to write a book in memory of her late father, called, All the Things I Wanted to Tell You. When I suggested making a documentary about her story, she saw it as a way to continue this unfinished work.”

    Greetings From The Colony, which has won five international awards, premieres on Al Jazeera on Wednesday, 8 April at 2000 GMT / 2200 CAT, followed by screenings on 9 April at 1200 GMT / 1400CAT, 10 April at 0100 GMT / 0300CAT, and 11 April at 0600 GMT / 0800 CAT.

    For more information the Al Jazeera website here

    Source: Filmcontact 8 April 2015

  • NEW YORK, March 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX) and Ster-Kinekor Theatres, a division of Primedia (Pty) Ltd., has announced an agreement for two additional IMAX® theatres.  The first IMAX theatre will be added to the exhibitor's upcoming multiplex at the Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth, with a second to be added to an existing multiplex at the Cradlestone Mall in Johannesburg. The deal brings Ster-Kinekor's IMAX footprint to six theatres with three currently open in Durban, Pretoria and Cape Town and another slated to open in Johannesburg.

    "It is our aim to pioneer the advancement of cinema across South Africa as well as Africa, to ensure that consumers get to experience movies the way they were meant to be," said Doug Place, Marketing Executive, Ster-Kinekor. "IMAX is a key enabler of this strategy and we're delighted to expand our relationship, which is directly related to our complexes' incremental box office as a result of IMAX."

    "In just 15 months, Ster-Kinekor opened its first IMAX theatre and, building on its success, has since gone on to expand its IMAX commitment to six theatres in the very important South African market,"  said Andrew Cripps, President of IMAX EMEA.  "As the industry leader in Africa, with a presence in five countries, Ster-Kinekor is actively growing its network as evidenced by its new build in Port Elizabeth. As an extraordinary operator and IMAX brand ambassador, Ster-Kinekor is the perfect partner to help us grow our business in Africa."

    See more at: www.sterkinekor.com

    Source: Company Press Release 30 March 2015

  • After two years of working on a Marrakesh-set documentary project, Moroccan pop art photographer/filmmaker Hassan Hajjaj will soon unveil his new documentary, A Day In The Life Of Karima: A Henna Girl. In the lead-up to the film’s world premiere at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in May, Hajjaj has shared a high adrenaline trailer and an accompanying music video for an artist by the name of Koma. From the short clip, the film looks to be a live action version of Hajjaj’s iconic Kesh Angels photographs of Moroccan biker women. The project follows the badass Marrakesh adventures of Karima, who the trailer reveals is a wife, mother, artist and graduate from “Jamaa Fena: the university of street life.” Hajjaj explained his excitement about the film’s premiere over Facebook:

        “AFTER 2 YEARS OF WORKING ON MY NEW DOCUMENTARY ‘A DAY IN THE LIFE OF KARIMA A HENNA GIRL’ IT WILL BE SHOW AT LACMA MUSEUM ON 13TH MAY,ITS FREE ENTRANCE.

    A Day In The Life Of Karima: A Henna Girl will make its world premiere May 13th at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Bing Theater. Watch the film’s trailer and the music video for “Karima” below. For more from Hajjaj, see his Moroccan biker barbie doll photos and his Wax Super Deluxe menswear collection with Moroccan designer Amine Bendriouich.
    Watch the trailer here
    Source: Okayafrica 6 April 2015

distribution

  • SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: On 2 April 2015, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa officially switched on its new localised BET channel, which appears on DStv channel 129. The channel is the latest addition to VIMN Africa’s offering which includes MTV, MTV Base, VH1, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr. and BET international. Senior vice president and managing director Alex Okosi describes the new channel, “BET offers great entertainment and is unapologetic about what it is - a celebration of that link between African and African American culture. It encourages viewers to ‘be you, celebrate you’ - that’s why our slogan and message for the brand is #BeAllYou.” He adds that BET is a family channel in scope, but offers a great blend of content skewed to the adult demographic. Read the full story here

    Find out more about BET by following @BET_Africa on Twitter, BETAfrica on Facebook
    Source: Screen Africa 7 April 2015

investment

  • The beginning of the new financial year is upon us and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is calling for submissions of applications for funding for that include: training, marketing and distribution support and development and production financing.

    Deadline date for applications is the 22nd of April 2015.

    All applicants are advised to carefully study the criteria and submission requirements in all areas for which funding is being sought. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications received after the deadline will only be considered for the next quarterly meeting of council.

    The following categories will be considered for production and development funding:

    Documentaries

    Features

    Short films

    TV Formats

    The following categories will be considered for training applications:

    International Bursaries

    Training Provider funding

    The following Marketing and Distribution categories will be applicable for applications:

    Marketing and Distribution, which entails funding for print and advertising as well as for independent DVD distribution.
    Film Festival, which provides financial support to individuals or organisations to host local film festivals which create a unique offering for the industry

    All applications must be hand delivered or posted to the NFVF at 87 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg, 2198. No e-mail submissions will be accepted. The NFVF is however working on an online application platform that will be in operations soon.

    To download the applications forms, click here:

    To view the funding criteria for all the categories, click here:
    The deadline for applications is the 22nd of April 2015. Please note the foundation will inform applicants of the outcome of the applications in June 2015.

    For any queries regarding development and production email Vuyo Sokupa on vuyos@nfvf.co.za

    For any queries regarding training or bursaries email Pretty Mthiyane on prettym@nfvf.co.za

    For any queries regarding marketing and distribution email Lerato Mokopanele on leratom@nfvf.co.za.

    Approved applicants will be required to submit proof of banking details such as a letter from the bank, bank statement or cancelled cheque, tax clearance certificate (where applicable) as well as a newly certified copy of ID.

    These documents should be submitted to NFVF finance before payment is processed.
    Source: Filmcontact 7 April 2015

  • Dailymotion_2Media and content firm Vivendi is set to buy an 80% stake in Dailymotion for ($235m) 217 million euros, pegging Dailymotion to be worth ($287) 265 million euros, in a move that will help Orange to create a global group and French champion in the media and content industries however giving Vivendi power over video content.

    Dailymotion, a YouTube for France will be joined into Vivendi’s assets such as Universal Music Group and Groupe Canal+ which the firm also aims to launch globally.

    In a statement, Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange, said: “Our partnership with Vivendi will enable Dailymotion, in which we remain a 20% shareholder, to accelerate its growth internationally and to enhance its content offer. The proceeds from this transaction will enable Orange to reinforce its efforts in the digital ecosystem. Finally, this agreement also illustrates our willingness to reinforce our partnership with Vivendi.”Orange will retain a 20% stake in the company.Acquired by Orange in 2011, Dailymotion says it has increased its audience by 2.5 and grown into one of Europe’s biggest success stories in the digital domain. Dailymotion is the second largest aggregation and distribution platform in the world, with over 2.5 billion videos seen per month. The company registered sales of 64 million euros in 2014, a figure that has increased by 30% every year since 2012. It employs 222 people in the world, based mainly in France and the United States of America.

    Vincent Bolloré, Chairman of Vivendi’s Supervisory Board, also commented on the operation: “The acquisition of 80% of Dailymotion’s capital is an excellent opportunity that will provide the group with added reach in the diffusion of high-quality musical and audiovisual content across the world. We are particularly enthusiastic at the idea of supporting Dailymotion in this important new phase of their development as the company evolves into a reference global platform.”

    Vivendi sees the deal as its first step in our ambition to create a large, global group that is focused on media and content. In addition, this operation illustrates our capacity to develop international strategic partnerships, in particular with Orange.”

    Orange has held 100% of Dailymotion since January 2013, following its initial acquisition of 49% of the company’s capital in April 2011. The telco will retain 20% of Dailymotion.
    Source: Techmoran 7 April 2015

regulation & policy

  • THE African National Congress (ANC) has reached a "messy compromise" on the issue of digital migration and set-top boxes, which will see subsidised boxes manufactured with minimal security features and no capability to encrypt broadcasting signals.

    The resolution of the tussle is a victory for Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and a defeat for those who opposed her, including members of the ANC economic transformation committee, the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

    It is also widely regarded as a victory for MultiChoice, which had lobbied against encryption, and which is now assured of dominance in the pay-TV market.

    The Democratic Alliance (DA) had also opposed Ms Muthambi’s position fiercely.

    The compromise, ironed out in subcommittees of the ANC national executive committee last week, cleared the way for the publication of the final policy on digital migration by Ms Muthambi in the Government Gazette on Wednesday.

    Members of the ANC national executive, the party’s allies and industry bodies had opposed Ms Muthambi’s proposal on the grounds it would entrench the MultiChoice monopoly and would not be sufficient to stimulate local production of the boxes.

    The policy says the "control system" would be such that its only function would be to ensure that the set-top boxes do not work beyond the borders of SA. The policy specifies that "(subsidised) set-top boxes shall not have the capabilities to encrypt signals".

    Industry specialists said the control system selected would also mean that the security mechanism was minimal and, if stolen, boxes could be resold, and easily hacked.

    As premium content — including sports games, television series and movies — is not sold to broadcasters that do not encrypt their signal, free-to-air broadcasters such as e.tv and the SABC will find it hard to secure quality content.

    DA shadow minister of communications Marian Shinn said Ms Muthambi’s move would "stifle competition in the free-to-air market and had the potential to put e.tv out of business". The decision also has big implications for electronics manufacturers.

    Among the stated aims of the digital migration policy was the stimulation of the local manufacturing industry. The South African Communications Forum, which represents manufacturers, said "the control system would be robust enough to promote the electronics industry".

    Trade and industry director-general Lionel October said the decision on encryption was "a messy compromise" but the logjam needed to be broken. Measures would be taken to protect local industry from cheap imports.
    Source: BDLive  8 April 2015

  • Cape Town – The Federal High Court in Nigeria has ordered MultiChoice to back off from its "arbitrary" monthly increase of DStv subscription fees which would have come into effect from April.

    MultiChoice and MultiChoice Africa which runs the DStv as a satellite pay-TV service across Africa, hiked its monthly subscriber fees in South Africa and across the rest of the African continent with the increase leading to vocal consumer and subscriber outrage in especially Nigeria and Zambia.

    DStv subscribers in Zambia for instance saw their monthly subscription fees skyrocket from April with a massive 21%, 22%, 24% and a whopping 30% for the various DStv packages.

    In Nigeria DStv hiked its monthly subscription fee by 20%.

    It led to widespread anger and resentment against DStv from its subscribers, several petitions and even a press conference from DStv in Zambia to try and calm subscribers.

    Now the Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria, has ordered MultiChoice to back off from its DStv subscription increase from April in that African nation, following two cases brought by DStv subscribers against it.

    Judge C.J. Aneke granted an interim order against a subscription increase for DStv in Nigeria, ordering MultiChoice not to implement its new rates. He also ordered the details of the case and the interim injunction to be published in national newspapers in Nigeria.

    Osasuyi Adebayo and Oluyinka Oyeniji are challenging MultiChoice's DStv subscription increases in a first "class action" case.

    Then in a second case, they also want Nigeria's Federal High Court to order Nigeria's National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to implement "pay per view" where DStv are allowed to choose only the TV channels they wish to watch and pay for – something known as an "a la carte" offering in the pay-TV business through a process known as "unbundling".

    "An order of interim injunction is hereby granted to the parties to maintain the status quo restraining the 1st defendant (Multichoice/DStv) from giving effect or enforcing its planned increase in cost of the different classes of viewing or programmes bouquet, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice," reads the injunction.

    The case will be heard on 16 April.
    Source: Channel 24 8 April 2015

technology & convergence

  • The Communications Authority of Kenya has embarked on countrywide inspection of analogue transmission sites of broadcasters to ensure compliance after lapse of the deadline of final phase of digital migration.

    It is still not clear whether the entire country is now on digital broadcast signals following the end of the final phase of migration last week according to the switchover timetable issued by the government in December.

    As per the schedule, Nairobi and its environs migrated on December 31 during the first phase of the digital migration while the deadline for second phase which covered Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kakamega, Kisoo, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyahururu (Nyadundo), Machakos, Narok and Loldiani was on February 2.

    In the third and final phase, areas such as Garissa, Kitui, Lodwar, Lokichogio, Kapenguria, Kabarnet, Migori, Voi (Vuria) Mwinzau, Kibwezi, Namanga and all other remaining sites were supposed to migrate by midnight March 30.

    "An inspection team from the Authority will go round the sites to determine the status. The sites are remote and this exercise will take some time to  complete," CA told the Star.

    In the first phase of the migration process, CA had to forcefully shut down analogue transmission sites of three media houses, a move that affected broadcasts of four television stations. The four were KTN, NTV, Citizen and QTV.

    The global deadline for digital migration is June 17 and was set by the International Telecommunications Union.

    Digital migration in Kenya has faced a lot of resistance from the three media houses - Royal Media Services, Nation and Standard Group - which have been lobbying for an extension to comply with the switch. The three intend to import their own set top boxes to convert analogue signals to digital for their viewers.

    "The authority will release a status report in the coming weeks," CA said.
    Source: The Star 7 April 2015

more

  • Entries open for Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award

    Each year the International Academy of Arts and Sciences administers the Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting competition. The initiative is designed to offer recognition and encouragement to novice writers under the age of 30 outside of the US.

    The winning scriptwriter will be flown to New York City and presented with a US$2,500 prize at the International Emmy World Television Festival on 21 November 2015. The winning script will be read by actors in front of an audience at the festival, and the winner will be invited to take part in the red carpet festivities at the 43rd International Emmy Awards on Monday, 23 November.

    Full competition details and entry form click here. 

    The deadline for submissions is 1 July 2015.

    Those interested in participating as a juror or those who would like to recommend qualified individuals interested in judging submitted scripts from young writers, can email the foundation at foundation@iemmys.tv.

    ZIFF 2015 announces official selection

    The Zanzibar International Film Festival is the longest running film festival in East Africa, with global credibility and instant Pan-African recognition. ZIFF 2015 will take place from the 18th to the 26th of July 2015 in Stonetown.

    ZIFF is proud to announce the films in the Official Selection based on a record 419 submissions. The list contains 25 feature films, 44 shorts and 27 documentaries from over 30 countries across the globe.

    Festival Director Dr. Martin Mhando had this to say of the submissions and selections for ZIFF 2015, “We would like to congratulate and thank all those who submitted their films. With so many films to choose from the selection process was especially difficult. This has been the largest number of films received to date. We are also pleased to say that the online submission process was a success, with 90% of all the films were submitted online through the FESTHOME platform.”

    The entries came from 38 countries with the largest number of entrants coming from Germany and with The Dominican Republic having its first entry in ZIFF 2015.

    The full list can be seen here

    Speaking on ZIFF 2015, Mandy Roger TV Director ZUKU noted,“We have in the past 2 years of our sponsorship witnessed significant growth in content development rising from the festival. As a broadcaster, ZUKUis deeply invested in the growth and success of East Africa's creative and content industries. It is therefore with pride we continue to partnerthe Zanzibar International Film Festival, which has for the last 15 been instrumental in celebrating and enabling film making from the region and around the world."

    The selection committee also noted a clear growth in the quality of short films from Africa revealing a refreshing creative input and experimentation with film language.

    East Africa is well represented at ZIFF 2015 with 7 films from Tanzania to compete in the general competition. Within the Official Selection Kenya leads in the region with 9 films selected, while Uganda has 3, Burundi 2 and Rwanda 1. South Africa has 7 films in competition this year.

    Selected films for the Bongo Movies competition, which is backed by the Satelite TV Channel ZUKU will be announced at a later date. ZUKU is also the event sponsor of the festival.

    It has also been announced that the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award winning film Selma will officially open ZIFF 2015 on the evening of July18th.

    As in previous years ZIFF will welcome dozens of professional and aspiring film directors, producers from across Africa and the world for 8 days of film, music and cultural celebration.

    For more information visit www.ziff.tz

    M-Net Movies is looking for a pooch with personality

    Does your dog do tricks or is it just so darn cute that it has you on your knees making baby noises? With the first continent-wide search for M-Net Movies Family’s first Ambassadoggy, they’re looking for a dog to be the face of the channel for a whole year.

    If you think your doggy has what it takes, complete the competition form and attach a photo or a video of your cuddly canine along with an explanation as to why you think they’re the continent’s top dog.

    Keep an eye out for your video of your pooch here or catch your snaps on the official M-Net website.

    A panel of five celebrity dog lovers will assess the mounds of adorable entries and select their favourites.

    Once the panel has completed the task of narrowing the entries down to the top five, M-Net will throw the final decision back to you to vote for the cutest, smartest furry friend to be the face of the channel. The dog with the most votes will then be the Ambassadoggy of M-Net Movies Family.

    Whilst you walk your doggy along the path of fame, you could win prizes too. The winner will receive a flat screen TV, a DStv Explora decoder and a pampering voucher for your canine friend.

    The runner up will win a DStv Explora decoder.

    No animals may be harmed during the making of the entry videos or pictures and entries close on 30 April 2015.

  • Peter Machen announces resignation from DIFF

    Peter Machen has resigned from his position as festival manager of the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), effective 31 March 2015. Machen leaves the festival in the capable hands of Pedro Pimenta, who has been appointed festival director.
    Full story here
    Source: Screen Africa 8 April 2015

    M-Net appoints new channel director

    With over six years of experience at the helm of some of M-Net’s biggest channel brands, M-Net’s newly-appointed director, Gideon Khobane is geared up for the increasing demands on Africa’s leading pay-TV service provider.

    Having spent over six years running M-Net’s Africa Magic channels in neighbouring African countries, and more recently as M-Net’s research and business intelligence director, Gideon Khobane is no stranger to the rigorous M-Net environment, but he believes that his strategic and analytical expertise will give him the edge needed to drive M-Net’s premium brands forward.

  • 13 - 16 April 2015
    MipTV

    Cannes, France

    13 - 24 May 2015
    68e edition of Festival de Cannes

    Cannes, France

    26 - 27 May 2015
    Satcom and Connected Africa 2015
    The Sandton Convention Centre - Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa
    An event mainly focused on satellite communications.

    2 - 4 June 2015
    Discop Africa Abidjan 2015
    Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire, a 5 stars hôtel in Côte d'Ivoire 
    THE African market & creative forum for TV programmes and audiovisual content trade in francophone Africa: A must go! conferences, trade floor, debates, meeting rooms...Around 400 participants expected this year. Country of honor: South Africa to boost co-productions between South Africa and Côte d'Ivoire. Organised by Basic Lead.

    4 au 7 June 2015
    Nollywood Week Paris

    The 3rd. edition of the now popular Nigerian film festical in Paris (Festival du Cinéma Nigérian à Paris), France.

    17-19 June 2015
    Convergence Africa World 2015

    Kenya (Nairobi) - Oshwal Centre (Parklands)
    Organised by Exhibitions India Group (EIG) 

    20-22 June, 2015
    Natpe 2015

    conference and trade show - Film and TV.
    Miami, USA
    Source: Natpe

    15 to 17 July 2015
    Mediatech Africa 2015

    Venue: Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate, Johannesburg, South Africa
    The biennial advanced technology trade show has positioned itself as the largest and most prestigious event of its kind in Africa for the media and entertainment industries.

    23 - 26 August 2014
    The 16th PAMRO meeting and All Africa Media Research Conference
    Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    “Media Research for One Continent”
    Updates on media audience research activities from countries from all parts of Africa and the rest of the world will be given.
    “Presentations will address a wide range of subjects such as Television audience research methodologies, as well as the measurement/status of Radio, Print, Internet and Outdoor research in Africa.”
    This year market segmentation will also be a focal point of the conference.

    10-15 September 2015
    IBC Amsterdam

    Big! global meeting place for everyone engaged in creating, managing and delivering the future of electronic media, entertainment technology and content. Featuring an influential conference and world-class exhibition, IBC immerses 55,000+ professionals from over 170 countries...

    5 - 8 Oct. 2015
    mipcom

    Cannes, France

    4 to 6 November 2015
    DISCOP AFRICA 2015

    Venue: Johannesburg - The Dome @NorthGate Johannesburg, RSA

    The biggest African market & creative forum for TV programmes and audiovisual content trade: not to miss. Around 1500 participants. Organised by Basic Lead.

    17 – 19 November 2015
    AfricaCom / AfricaCast / TV Connect Africa 2015

    The largest annual meeting of ICT, telecoms and broadcast professionals for Africa. A 'must attend'. AfricaCom welcomes the re-launch of the AfricaCast event as TV Connect Africa.
    About 8000 participants. 
    Organiser: Informa



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