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Issue no. 2016 - 2 July 2015

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  • This year's Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) will reach into the homes of people across 49 African countries, including South Africa. Channel [ED] (DStv Channel 190 and GOtv channel 65) will broadcast live from the continent s premier film industry event between 17 and 21 July.

    The channel, which seeks to inspire and engage young Africans and is one of Urban Brew Studio s channels, will also screen selected DIFF documentaries on each of the five days.

    The broadcast partnership was the brain-child of filmmaker Don Edkinds, who works closely with the channel. Roberto Carletti, Station Manager for [ED] says: It was an obvious decision for us to get involved. Not only does it provide us with the opportunity to offer our viewers prime new documentary content, but we re a Pan-African channel that can play a significant role in raising the status of African film makers.

    Broadcasting from the continent’s largest film festival provides exposure for the filmmakers, both established and up and coming. [ED] line producer Colleen Smith explains: We re giving these film makers access to a wide African audience. It s hoped that the more exposure the film makers can garner, the better for the industry in the long run. If there are real platforms on which to showcase their work, there could ultimately be more documentary film makers that come to the fore.

    Passionate about telling African stories, Smith says many of these powerful documentaries are empowering and in line with their vision of disseminating knowledge. The line-up of documentaries screened includes some of the best on offer at the festival. Last year [ED] showcased a number of acclaimed Durban International Film Festival documentaries, including Miners Shot Down by Rehad Desai and I, Afrikaner by Annalet Steenkamp.

    This year, new documentaries coming out of the festival will be screened on [ED], during prime time. As well as a daily one hour live broadcast with stakeholders and filmmakers. The interviews will be broadcast live from the Elangeni Hotel hosted by Danine Naidoo, from Edge: Sci-Tech, an [ED] production.

    The live broadcast also serves to empower those behind the scenes. It is an opportunity for second and third year students from Durban University of Technology (DUT) to man cameras and operate the OB unit, gaining valuable technical experience.

    The broadcast team believes that the media can play a pivotal role in helping to grow the local and broader African film industry. Aside from the exposure that the coverage provides the film makers themselves, it also assists in elevating the status of the festival, which in turn helps to attract bigger names to South African shores.
    Source: Screen Africa 1 July 2015

  • This July sees the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) return for its 36th year of cinematic celebration. From 16 to 26 July, the city will celebrate the wonder and diversity of global cinema, with over 200 screenings in nine venues. Alongside this selection of quality contemporary cinema, including 74 feature films, 50 documentaries, 74 short films and 23 surf films, the festival offers an extensive workshop and seminar programme in which industry experts from around the world share their knowledge and skills.

    This year's diverse line-up includes an expanded focus on African cinema with a selection of Africa’s Lost Classics and a showcase of this year’s FESPACO winners. Other focus areas include a cross-section of contemporary cinema from Brazil and an investigation into the filmmaking landscape of a changing Tunisia, as well DIFF Beat, which celebrates a number of music-based films, and Just One Earth, which presents a selection of environmentally and sustainability themed titles. In addition to the generous selection of feature films and cutting edge documentaries, DIFF 2015 will screen 10 packages of short films and a selection of thrilling surf films in the Wavescape Surf Film Festival.

    South African Focus
    While DIFF is a vital showcase for the ever-expanding African film industry, South African film remains the festival’s key focus, with 14 feature and 13 documentary films and 30 short films – most of them receiving their world premieres on Durban screens.

    This year’s opening night film sees the African premiere of Ayanda, the second fiction feature film from South African filmmaker Sara Blecher who opened the festival in 2011 with Otelo Burning. Ayanda tells the story of single-minded 21-year-old Afro-hipster Ayanda (Fulu Mugovhani) who has a talent for taking neglected pieces of furniture and bringing them back to life. Eight years after her father’s death, his prized auto repair garage is in financial trouble and in danger of being sold, but Ayanda does everything in her power to hold onto his legacy.

    Then there’s Breathe – Umphefumlo, the Isango Ensemble’s contemporary adaptation of Puccini’s La Boheme; the low-budget horror The Actor from Aiden Whytock; the politically inclined ‘Bonnie-and-Clyde’ tale Impunity from Jyoti Mistry; and the long awaited Necktie Youth from Sibs Shongwe-Le Mer. Other South African fiction feature films include Dis Ek, Anna, based on the famous Afrikaans novel and directed by Sara Blecher, and the dramatic thriller Lady Grey from Alain Chouquart.

    South African documentaries include Blood Lions, which follows a South African conservationist and an American hunter on their journey through the lion hunting industry; Coming of Age, which follows the lives of two teenagers in Lesotho; Glory Game – The Joost van der Westhuizen Story, which chronicles the famous rugby player’s battle with motor neuron disease; and The Shore Break which documents the attempts by a foreign mining company to mine titanium in the Eastern Cape.

    African Focus

    The rich programme of films from elsewhere on the continent includes a number of strong directorial talents. From South Africa’s Mpumelelo Mcata comes the challenging documentary-hybrid Black President. Philippe Lacôte’s Run is a left-field masterpiece from Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda delivers the goods with The Boda Boda Thieves, the latest title from vivacious creative co-operative Yes! That’s Us.

    African documentaries include the powerful Beats of the Antonov, which portrays the musical lives of a war-torn community in Sudan; the remarkable Sembene! which documents the life and career of African master Ousmane Sembene; and Paths to Freedom, which explores the genesis of Namibia's armed struggle against South Africa.

    Africa’s Lost Classics is a selection providing a rare opportunity for viewers to catch some of the most powerful and idiosyncratic works from the continent’s rich film history. The selection comprises the previously lost masterpiece Come Back, Africa; the seminal Mapantsula from Oliver Schmitz; and The Blue Eyes of Yonta by pioneering Guinea-Bissau filmmaker Flora Gomes; as well as Badou Boy and Touki Bouki, both from African master Djibril Diop Mambety.

    FESPACO Stallions
    In a special tribute to African cinema, DIFF 2015 features six winners from the 2015 edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, or FESPACO. These include amongst others Fevers, which tells the story of Benjamin, who moves in with his father and grandparents in a Paris suburb in order to avoid foster-care; Sékou Traoré’s feature debut film The Eye of the Cyclone, a psychological drama about a young lawyer who has been appointed a case that no one else wants; and Rehad Desai’s Miners Shot Down which returns to DIFF after being celebrated at FESPACO this year.

    World Cinema

    Following its rich tradition of world cinema, DIFF 2015 presents a diverse showcase of films from around the world. 1000 Rupee Note from India tells the story of a poor old widow named Budhi who receives a gift of several 1000 Rupee notes from a politician. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night bills itself as the first Iranian Vampire Western, while Dealer, from France, documents 24 hours in the increasingly hellish life of a small time drug dealer. Bob And The Trees tells the story of Bob, a 50-year-old logger in rural Massachusetts with a soft spot for golf and gangster rap. Jean-Jacques Annaud’s visually spectacular film Wolf Totem from France and China; Roger Allers’s animation of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet; Gregg Araki’s dramatic thriller White Bird in a Blizzard; Kim Farrant’s uneasy drama Strangerland set in Australia; and Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s drama romance, Coming Home contribute to the richly textured programme this year.

    This year’s festival will once more play host to a sterling selection of documentaries from around the world. The American film (Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies explores the complex impact dishonesty has on our lives and our societies. Cartoonists: Foot Soldiers of Democracy, from France, tells the story of 12 cartoonists and their fight for equality, accountability and transparency. Democrats, from Denmark, tells the unique story of the political elite in Zimbabwe fighting the battle over the principles defining the country's possible future. Foodies, from Sweden, follows five of the world's most renowned foodies on their hunt for the most exclusive nourishment in the world, while Taxi, from banned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, takes us on a vibrant and colourful journey through the streets of Tehran. This year will also screen Joshua Oppenheimer’s highly acclaimed follow up to his Academy Award nominated documentary The Act of Killing, his second film The Look of Silence which sees a family that survives the genocide in Indonesia confront the men who killed one of their brothers.

    Brazilian Focus

    Like South Africa, Brazil is a country defined by glaring inequality and cultural polarity. It also has a rich culture of cinema and a remarkably diverse national canon. Offering a window on to this complex and diverse country, Brazilian Focus presents a wide range of films from different regions in Brazil, providing an incisive overview of its considerable cinematic output. From the north-east state of Pernambuco comes two celebrated feature films: The History of Eternity by Camilo Cavalcanti and the moving Brazilian Dream, an opera movie depicting the Brazilian economic crisis. From the capital Brasília comes White Out, Black In, which portrays a country longing for transformation, while The Ballad of Poor Jean deals with the huge social divide between rich and poor in the country.

    Tunisian Focus
    The explosion of free speech that followed the Tunisian revolution in January 2011 gave birth to new cinematographic voices as young filmmakers armed themselves with cameras to express their points of view on a newly emerging society. The selection, which features films all in Arabic with English subtitles, includes amongst others: Néjib Belkadhi Bastard (Bastardo) ; Kaouther Ben Hania’s Challet Of Tunis (Le Challet De Tunis) ; Raja Amari’s Tunisian Spring (Printemps Tunisien) ; Hamza Ouni’s El Gort; and Mohamed Challouf’s Tahar Cheriaa Under the Shadow of the Baobab. Challouf’s film documents the undisputed father of Pan-Africanism and founder of Carthage Film Festival, the first film festival in Africa, who deployed all his energy to create the first authentic images of post-colonial Africa enabling African cinema to contribute to the modernisation of the continent.

    Semaine de la Critique in South Africa
    DIFF, with the support of the French Institute of South Africa and Urucu Media, presents a traveling programme of La Semaine de la Critique (Critics’ Week) of Cannes Film Festival which will launch in Durban before travelling to Cape Town and Johannesburg. Featured films include amongst others Hope, Boris Lojkine’s take on migration from Africa to Europe and You and the Night, an erotic-existential-queer comedy from Yann Gonzalez. As well as these screenings, La Semaine de la Critique in South Africa features a masterclass with visiting filmmaker Boris Lojkine in Durban and filmmaker round tables in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

    DIFF Beat

    With DIFF Beat, the festival pays tribute to musical freethinkers and rule-breakers. Filmmaker Adam Sjöberg and rap superstar Nasir ‘Nas’ Jones explore breakdancing and hip-hop in unlikely places in the film Shake the Dust. Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango intersperses dance and musical performances with interviews with tango-lovers and experts, while Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck blends Cobain’s personal archive with touching interviews with his family. Imagine Waking up Tomorrow and All Music Has Disappeared comes from cult musician/art terrorist Bill Drummond, and When Voices Meet tells the story of therapist Sharon Katz and singer/educator Nonhlanhla Wanda’s 500-voice multiracial choir.

    Just One Earth
    Just One Earth offers a selection of films that promote sustainable living and raise awareness about the ecological threats we are facing. All the Time in the World tells the story of Canadian filmmaker Suzanne Crocker and her family who decide to take time out from their lives and relocate to the wild. In Energised filmmaker Hubert Canaval explores how profit-driven efforts ensure that both alternative energy solutions and the threats to our existence posed by today’s main sources of energy remain largely unknown to the public. In Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, filmmaker Grant Baldwin and producer/writer Jen Rustemeyer explore why nearly 50% of the food produced in Canada ends up in the trash. Finally, the extraordinary Virunga tells of a group of park-rangers in the Democratic Republic of Congo who have devoted their lives to saving the gorillas in Virunga National Park.

    Wavescape Surf Film Festival

    The 10th Wavescape Surf Festival at DIFF celebrates a decade of films and events around ocean sustainability and beach culture. From Sunday 19 to Saturday 25 July, Wavescape will showcase the latest surf films from around the world. In keeping with tradition, the Wavescape premiere will take place under the stars at the Bay of Plenty lawns on Sunday 19 July, followed by screenings at Ster Kinekor Musgrave until 25 July.

    Talents Durban
    The 8th Talents Durban will bring together 40 selected filmmakers from 10 different countries in Africa, chosen from over 200 submissions, who will take part in a series of masterclasses, workshops and industry networking opportunities during the festival. Supported by the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, Goethe Institute SA, German Embassy in South Africa and Gauteng Film Commission, Talents Durban is presented in co-operation with Berlinale Talents. Talents Durban is a platform for African filmmakers to enhance their skills, develop collaborations and interface with the film industry in Africa and beyond.

    Durban FilmMart
    Now in its 6th year, the Durban FilmMart, a partnership project with the Durban Film Office and the Durban International Film Festival, is a film finance and co-production market presented in three strands – Finance Forum, Masterclasses and the Africa in Focus seminars. Nineteen selected African projects (ten fiction features and nine documentaries) will have an opportunity to hold one-on-one meetings with potential financiers, co-producers, and distributors in the Finance Forum. Projects will also have an opportunity to pitch to a panel of international commissioning editors and financiers in the African Pitch, a pitching forum of the DFM.
    Source: Filmcontact 2 July 2015

  • Right from inception, ONTV has dedicated itself to offering Nigerians a different kind of television programming with its rich content.  Combining drama, entertainment and sports, the channel aims at meeting  its viewers’ expectations in their various sphere of need.The TV channel from the stables of Consolidated Media Associates (CMA) has consistently  positioned itself as the number one terrestrial station in Lagos. This tradition is continued in its free-to-air channel ONTVMAX that was recently launched  on Multichoice’s DStv and GOtv platforms. The new channel parades a variety of programmes from sports, news to intriguing entertainment programmes that will keep its audience glued to their seats.

    According to the CEO of the media company, Tajudeen Adepetu, “ ONTVMAX is a further rebranded extension of the ONTV experience and will broadcast other syndicated contents from other CMA GROUP channels on the DSTV and GOTV bouquet, specifically from Trybe Movie Channel, Televista contents like the telenovelas, spanking new and fresh music videos and exclusive contents from Soundcity, fashion and lifestyle content from Spice fashion channel and actualities/News information from Access24, making and creating a complete television package experience unrivalled by any platform currently in operation.”

    Adepetu also revealed that the channel will launch original content as well as intriguing programmes that will place it ahead of other entertainment channels, particularly telenovelas which are the rave of the moment and family’s delight.
    For instance,  one of the new telenovelas the channel will be introducing is a popular telenovela called Avenida Brasil.

    “Avenida Brasil  is hugely popular in Brazil and other neighbouring South American countries even in Portugal. In fact, it is so popular that on the day of its final episode in Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff felt obliged to change her work plans; a planned political rally, so that people could watch it. That was unprecedented in the annals of television programming.” said Adepetu excitedly.
    He continued:  “Avenida Brasil is in a class of its own.

    Brazilians are known to take their soap operas or novellas seriously, but this one has even surpassed another national passion, exceeding audiences for even a football final. As well as being a compelling watch, the show is notable for putting Brazil’s growing middle class centrestage where in the past it was the lives of the super wealthy that dominated the screens. Would you believe that on its final episode, restaurants and bars held events in many cities and bets were placed to find out the plot’s final mystery? That is the kind of unprecedented phenomenon Avenida Brasil is. We have secured the broadcast rights for it and it would start airing in the next couple of days.”

    Avenida Brasil tells the dramatic story of Rita, a sweet young woman, who struggles to recover part of the life her gold digger stepmother took from her when she was only a child. It is a story of vengeance, melodrama and everyday vicissitudes that everybody can relate to. The channel also broadcast other telenovelas from Mexico, Philippines, Brazil and India.
    Source: This Day Live 28 June 2015

  • One Rand Man, directed by Arcade Content's Rob Smith, won a Bronze in the Branded Content category at Cannes Lions this weekend, where it was also shortlisted for Integrated Campaign Led By PR and Promo & Activations. The five-part online documentary series follows a South African man living beyond his means, who gets his salary paid to him in one rand coins for one month to give himself and South Africa a new perspective on spending and saving.

    We never thought we’d nab one of these on our first production, says producer Will Nicholson. Thanks again to King James for bringing us such a great concept to start our company with and then giving us the necessary creative freedom. One Rand Man is exactly the kind of job we were created to do. Rob worked with a small, unobtrusive team, which allowed him to capture far more real, unscripted moments. These often managed to be both thought-provoking and quite funny, so credit to the One Rand Man himself, Rob and his team for making finance entertaining.

    Cannes only added a branded content category in 2012, so Will says it feels good to be one of the early winners. We're excited to see where the category and our company goes next.

    Rob is currently directing One Rand Family, which will be released later this year.

    One Rand Man also won Creative Circle Ad of the Year; the only Gold for Branded Content and the only Gold for Integrated Multi-Platform Campaign at The Bookmarks; five Golds at The Midas Awards; and The African Leadership Grand Prix at The African Cristal Festival, among other accolades.

    Watch the playlist here. 
    Source: Filmcontact 1 July 2015


  • French free DTT kids and family channel Gulli expanded to Africa this March and is planning to reach out to a local kids and parents with a raft of local content.

    Having launched a local version in Russia six years ago, where the channel is now received by five million homes, Lagardère Active, launched Gulli Africa in late March.

    The kids channel is now available in 22 sub-Saharan French-speaking territories and exclusively carried on Les Bouquets Canal+, formerly known as Canalsat Afrique.

    Gulli Africa, which mixes European, international and African programmes, and broadcasts exclusively in French, wants to become a leading regional leading destination for the 3-14s and their parents.

    It has a programming line-up that includes 15% of locally-sourced content. The channel, which is run from Paris by Gerald Brice Viret, managing director of TV at Lagardère Active, and head of programmes Caroline Cochaux, wants this proportion rise to 30%. Bringing 350 of fresh hours, the channel also targets to reach 30% of that total being local fare in the mid-term.

    Gulli Africa will strengthen its grid in September with local weekly magazine series Gulli Mag. Dedicated to the culture and tech trends, this show will be put together by ten editorial teams based in ten African countries. There will also be a monthly magazine entitled Dessine-moi ton Pays, which will follow Ethiopian school kids travelling and discovering iconic locations in their country. The series will be shot by local production teams.

    Gulli Africa has also bought three South-African animation series, 3D animation Morula Pictures’ The Magic Cellar, Sunrise Productions’ Jungle Beat, and Animasia Studios’ Supa Strikas.

    In 2016, Gulli Africa will step forward with the launch of adventure game Africa Quest, an adaptation of Gulli’s own French show Tahiti Quest, from Ah! Production.

    “Gulli Africa is based on the same values as its sister channel Gulli, and offers both edu-taining and fun content, mixing animation, documentaries, movies and series,” Lagardère Active said.

    However, though highlighting similar key strands and slots as Gulli France, such as ‘Girl Power’, ‘Adventure’ and ‘Discovery’, Gulli Africa’s schedules are adapted to local habits. A ‘Gullidoo’ slot starts at 5.30am, the after school programming at 2pm and evening primetime at 6pm.

    Among animation and live action series announced for 2015 are preschool series Vivement Lundi-produced Dimitri, Tree Fu Tom, and Max Steel, both of which are distributed by FremantleMedia and RCN Chile’s Chica Vampiro. Acquired movies include Kirikou, ET, Madagascar 3, Monsters vs Aliens, Dragon and Kung Fu Panda.
    Source: TBI Vision 30 June 2015

  • The next local telenovela, Gold Diggers, premieres on 10 August at 20h00. The much-awaited Gold Diggers is an intriguing story which brings key issues affecting the South African working class to the fore. It explores the various dynamics of love, money, family feuds, debts and economically motivated relationships. It is set against the strong backdrop of the mining industry.

    Gold Diggers tells the story of an aging, polygamous miner, Patrick who typically spends most of his time underground. Above the ground, he has a very challenging life. His two feisty wives hold the family homestead together in the rural areas while he is away in the city digging for gold. Constantly under pressure to ensure that he fulfills his role of providing for his large family and taking care of his demanding fatal sickness, he is tempted to cross moral lines that make him question who he is.

    The telenovela is a classic South African story that captures the reality of many South Africans scraping the surface of the country’s economy - ordinary South Africans digging out a living in the mining industry, which has largely shaped the country’s cultural, economic and social dynamics.

    The telenovela also highlight traditions and culture in the modern world, as well as social issues such as health, education and prostitution.
    Source: Screen Africa 30 June 2015

  • Prime Entertainment Group has announced a package deal of 578 hours with its partner of the last three years, Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).

    Prime MBCMBC is the historical and leading broadcaster of Mauritius Island, airing in multiple languages including English and French. The group has expanded a lot over recent months, growing to 18 channels including a sports channel.

    MBC says that it was ‘glad’ to be able to select the content which also includes 400 hours of quality sports programmes within Prime Entertainment Group’s catalogue.  Shows include the combat magazines JLB 39x26’ hosted by Kick Boxing World Champion Jérôme le Banner; No Contest 30x26’; Face to Face 20x26’; the series World Tour of Martial Arts 12x26;  and 120 hours of kick boxing fights from 2014-2015.

    Read more: Prime Entertainment Group scores sports and entertainment deal with MBC | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News Source: Rapid TV News 27 June

  • M-Net’s Afrikaans Channel, kykNET, will launch a brand new soap opera on Monday, 16 November 2015. Titled Suidooster, it is the first soapie to be set in the Western Cape and screened on kykNET & Kie (DStv Channel 145).

    Over the past few years, M-Net has steadily increased its investment in local content and now produces programming in multiple languages for viewers across the continent.
    These world-class home-grown shows are available on a variety M-Net channels, exclusively for DStv customers.

    The exciting new Suidooster will bring together the talents of top South African stars while also giving local cast and crew a valuable platform to showcase their abilities. It is anticipated that the new series will contribute to creating more employment opportunities in the television and entertainment industry in South Africa.

    Speaking on the development of Suidooster, M-Net Director for Afrikaans Channels Karen Meiring says, “Binnelanders and Villa Rosa, our two popular kykNET soaps, were film in Gauteng – it is time we expand our production footprint nationally. Suidooster allows us to do this, while still delivering a compelling story for our viewers. Even though the show calls the Western Cape home, its storylines are universal – we look forward to sharing this story with Afrikaans viewers throughout South Africa.

    Suidooster will be produced for kykNET by Gambit Films, reaffirming M-Net’s commitment to the transformation of the TV industry, in terms of promoting and supporting producers from previously disadvantaged communities.

    Gambit has proven itself a force to be reckoned with, thanks to a tried and tested skill for scripting and shooting within the drama genre. Their short film Number 37 received critical acclaim at the kykNET Silwerskermfees and they were also instrumental in producing the 20 Ons Stories films that aired on kykNET & Kie in 2014.

    “It is a tremendous honour to be tasked with creating a brand new soapie for kykNET and is a great acknowledgement that our hard work is paying off. Over recent years M-Net has played an integral part in our development journey by affording us valuable opportunities to showcase our work,” says Gambit Director Travis Taute. “All those steps have led to this moment, and we’re determined to deliver on the confidence that M-Net has placed in us. We’re focussed on ensuring that Suidooster becomes must-watch Afrikaans TV entertainment.”

    Meiring also thanked Homebrew Films for their role in mentoring the team at Gambit: “M-Net is delighted that this partnership – which we actively supported, encouraged and nurtured for several years – has led to the birth of a series that’s expected to become a highlight on our schedule. We are passionate about developing capacity in the industry and the kykNET Silwerskermfees has been instrumental in achieving this.”

    DStv customers can watch Suidooster every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from November 16 in the primetime 20:00 timeslot on kykNET & Kie (DStv channel 145). KykNET & Kie is available on the DStv Family package and upwards. For more information on kykNET channels and programmes, visit For more information about DStv packages that kykNET & Kie is available to, please go to
    Source: The Call Sheet 30 June 2015

  • Polyglot is a new scripted web series from Rwandan-German visual artist and self-taught filmmaker Amelia Umuhire that explores the multi-hyphenate identities of young creatives of color in Berlin. The show’s first episode, which premiered in April, introduced viewers to Babiche Papaya, a rapper and poet played by Umuhire’s sister, Amanda Mukasonga. Titled “The Bewerbungsgespräch” (“The Interview”), the five minute clip follows Papaya as she tries to find a home among other international Berliners.

    With its intimate fly-on-the-wall cinematography, Umuhire plans for future episodes of the web series to focus on a rotating cast of young polyglots navigating daily life in the German capital. The show’s recently-uploaded second episode, “Les Mals du Pays,” returns to Babiche’s world as she deals with the malaise of homesickness and the frustrations of maintaining a natural hair care routine. “If I were in a TV show, normally as me a black woman, I wouldn’t get to be this real, as this 3D, as deep as a character, you know,” Mukasonga told NPR Berlin of her role in the series.

    The Rwanda-born Berlin-based sisters who grew up in a small town in West Germany are quintessential polyglots– fluent in German, English, French, and Kinyarwanda. Growing up with multiple means of expressing themselves and their culture, Umuhire and Mukasonga look to challenge preconceived notions of Afro-European lives with the series. “There is this one image of Germany, like you have white people speaking German, if you look at the TV landscape for example. Black people only appear as nurses, or cooks,” they said. “You don’t get to know people, this big part of Germany and Berlin, because they are kind of marginalized in media.”
    Source: Okayafrica 30 June 2015

  • Grammy Award-winning R&B singer Ne-Yo will perform at this year’s MTV Africa Music Awards, organizers said on Wednesday.

    The event, sponsored by the KwaZulu-Natal province in association with Absolut Vodka and in partnership with the city of Durban, will take place at the Durban International Convention Centre on July 18.

    Ne-Yo will perform songs from his sixth studio album, Non Fiction. Discussing his first-ever performance in the South African city, he said: "I can’t wait for you to see what I have in store, Durban! I hope you’re ready, because I am!"

    Said Bruce Gillmer, executive vp music, talent programming and events at Viacom's International Media Networks unit: "We are thrilled to have Ne-Yo join us in Durban. He’s an incredible artist that will elevate the MAMA to new highs." The awards show returned last year after a three-year hiatus.

    The awards will air live across Africa on Viacom's MTV Base and BET networks. The show will also air worldwide, including on BET International. A special MAMA edition of MTV’s World Stage franchise will air globally on MTV channels on Aug. 27.

    Said Alex Okosi, senior vp and managing director, Viacom International Media Networks Africa: "We are very excited to welcome Ne-Yo to MAMA 2015 for his first-ever appearance in Durban. As a sensational live performer and truly accomplished R&B star, Ne-Yo’s an all-round class act who will greatly complement the African performers on the show."
    Source: Hollywood Reporter 24 June 2015


  • African Movie Channel (AMC) continues its growth with its latest partnership with Lebara to distribute African Movie Channel on the new Lebara Play OTT TV service; this is the first time AMC is being licensed for distribution outside Africa.

    Lebara Play boasts over 150 channels, in 13 languages and 3,000 movies from around the world to provide quality entertainment to the large migrant community.

    As one of the leading Africa-wide broadcasters, with its service playing out of London, AMC is perfectly placed to deliver new and classic Nollywood and African productions to Europe s migrant community and African culture fans. This partnership will give Lebara s European subscribers unlimited access to thousands of hours of prime African cinema content 24 hours a day.

    Lebara Play s premium multi-ethnic TV & movie content is available via PC, mobile app, tablet or set top box. The new service is currently available in the UK, France, Germany and The Netherlands, and will be in the rest of Europe over the summer, and other territories worldwide by the year-end.

    The founding partners and co-directors of African Movie Channel, Yinka Mayungbo and Lola Onigbogi made this joint statement: AMC brings the best in domestic African productions to its viewers across Africa. Broadcasting on Lebara Play in Europe is a fantastic opportunity to showcase top African talent to the African diaspora, and a bigger audience. We are extremely delighted to be back in the European space where we started, serving the burgeoning need for top-notch African content .

    African Movie Channel was the first ever channel in Europe dedicated to Nollywood and other African movies when it launched as a VOD channel on what was then Homechoice (now Talk Talk) TV platform in the UK, nine years ago in 2006.

    AMC is available on the West African English bundle on Lebara Play with unlimited access to African TV and movie content.
    Source: 1 July 2015

  • The Consumer Protection Council says it has commenced investigation into the operations of MultiChoice Nigeria through its Digital Satellite Television offering based on complaints of alleged consumer rights violations.

    The CPC, in a notice of commencement of investigation signed by its Director-General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, and served on MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, said that it had been inundated with a barrage of complaints by consumers, who alleged wide-range abuse of their rights.

    The regulatory agency asserted that despite its earlier interventions in form of meetings, telephone and written correspondences with the company to resolve the issues and developed quality standards to safeguard the interest of consumers, complaints had been pouring in unabated against the company.

    The CPC stated in the notice of investigation, “These complaints in effect allege that the DStv service does not conform with international best practice and is specifically designed to exploit Nigerian consumers who have suffered loss by not being able to fully enjoy or receive the benefit or actualise the full purpose for which they purchased or subscribed to the service.

    “The complaints include poor quality of service such as incessant disruption of service without compensation, while subscription is current; wrongful abrupt disconnection of service during subsisting subscriptions; monthly subscriptions lasting less than 30 days; and poor redress mechanism and customer service.”

    Others, according to the CPC, are advertisements on customer care lines at the expense of consumers; poor implementation of decoder swap policy; and effecting price increase for subscriptions despite payment before due date of increase.

    The council said its investigation would involve receiving relevant evidences and documents from complainants, MultiChoice, satellite broadcast experts and witnesses as well as relevant sector regulators.

    The company, according to the council, is expected to prepare a written response on the allegations contained in the notice of investigation as well as provide other relevant documents and information that may be necessary.

    Atoki said the council’s action was in line with the focus and commitment of the Federal Government to engage in sectoral interventions to address the myriad of problems facing Nigerian consumers with a view to getting a saner market-place in the country.
    Source: 22 June 2015

  • IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX) and Filmhouse Cinemas, Nigeria's largest chain of theatres, today announced an agreement for an IMAX® theatre to be located in a new construction project in Lagos, the nation's biggest city with a population of more than 20 million. The deal, announced at CineEurope, marks the first-ever IMAX agreement in Nigeria and West Africa. Nigeria now ranks as Africa's largest economy. Today's agreement also underscores the Company's continued expansion in Africa, where in the past year IMAX signed its first-ever deal in Angola and added four new theatres to its network in South Africa.

    "Our mission is to establish the best movie-going experience in Nigeria. IMAX will help us realize this goal by delivering an immersive and differentiated experience previously unavailable to Nigerian moviegoers," said Kene Mkparu, CEO, Filmhouse Cinemas.  "As we continue our aggressive expansion plans, IMAX will serve as an anchor attraction in our multiplex in Lagos, redefining the premium cinema experience in Nigeria. We are proud to be the first to introduce IMAX in the country and look forward to broadening its reach."

    "We are delighted to join forces with Filmhouse Cinemas and enter Nigeria, which represents a key strategic move for our expansion in Africa. Recent reports project that Nigeria's entertainment and media revenues will reach an estimated $8.5 billion by 2018 - more than doubling from 2013," said Andrew Cripps, President, IMAX EMEA.  "As the biggest economy on the continent and a market that is extremely under-screened, we believe that together with Filmhouse we can seize the mutual growth opportunities that exist in Nigeria and bring the world's most immersive cinematic experience to more audiences across the country."
    Source: PR Newswire 24 June 2015


  • MultiChoice, which owns DStv, M-Net and SuperSport, has turned in another strong financial performance for the year ended 31 March 2015.

    JSE-listed media giant Naspers revealed in its annual results, published on the evening of 29 June, that its video entertainment segment (formerly its pay-television segment) generated annual revenues of R42.4bn up by 17% on a year ago, despite tough economic conditions in MultiChoice s main market, South Africa.

    However, investment in infrastructure and expansion in Africa meant trading profit contracted by 6%, falling to R8bn from R8.5bn in the year before. Development spend increased by 31% to R2.4bn, Naspers said.

    Subscriber growth across the African continent remained robust, it said. Some 727,000 (satellite TV) customers were added, bringing the subscriber base to almost 8m.

    The group s digital terrestrial television (DTT) network is also now substantially in place, with MultiChoice operating in 11 countries and 114 cities across Africa.

    The DTT base more than doubled, closing at 2.2m customers, Naspers said. Kenya is one of the first African countries to make the transition to digital as the analogue switch-off roll-out began in January 2015.

    But the group warned that competition from international online players, including Netflix, Amazon and Google, is increasing . TechCentral reported previously that Netflix will launch in South Africa before the end of 2016.

    MultiChoice is investing in its online offering, expanding its delivery platforms and improving products and services. The DStv Explora personal video recorder is a significant differentiator and became Internet-connected in November 2014, it said.

    Our TV everywhere strategy gained traction with the launch of DStv Now. Connected services allow customers access to a greater selection of entertainment on their tablet or smartphone anywhere, anytime. Home movie rentals were made available to all DStv customers through BoxOffice, the video-on-demand service, which is now available in 11 African countries. Average monthly rentals tally around 600 000.

    The group said it is focusing on producing home-grown content tailored to audiences in markets such as Nigeria and Kenya. It spent R2bn in South Africa on local sport and other content.

    MultiChoice signed deals with Eutelsat and Intelsat to bolster backup satellite capacity. It also invested in a second broadcast site to ensure uninterrupted viewing for example, to deal with inclement weather conditions at its Randburg, Johannesburg headquarters that can affect broadcasts.
    Source: Duncan McLeod for Techcentral 29 June 2015

regulation & policy

  • The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has awarded six firms broadcasting licences, stepping up competition in local content delivery.

    In 2014, CA set June as the deadline for broadcasters to air 40 per cent local content under a new regulatory regime. The regulator has also compelled new broadcasters to commit to the rule as they seek licences.

    In a June 19 Gazette notice, the regulator indicated that it had licenced Smart Media Colleges Ltd, BClimax Africa Ltd, Equatorial Multimedia Group Ltd, Mwanyange Television (MTV) The Standard Group Ltd and Neno Evangelism Centre.

    “The reason for the grant of the licence is to enable the applicant to operate and provide services as indicated above (commercial free to air television on digital terrestrial television platform),” said the Gazette notice.

    The licences are thematic with some stations focusing on sports and others documentaries. CA director-general Francis Wangusi said media owners are also required to present pre-aired content every week for vetting by CA as per new regulations.

    He added that a majority of the media stations only air 14 per cent local content, with only two airing 51 per cent local content. Currently, there are over 160 media owners hence the need to regulate them.

    2013/2014 financial year statistics by the regulator state that only 3 in every 10 local content programmes produced actually end up on Kenyan television. The statistics also show that KBC is the leader in airing local content at 50 per cent followed by QTV at 44 per cent. The rest are ranked below 40.

    Bringing new broadcasters who promise to air local content into the arena is expected to stimulate and increase earnings from the local creative industry. Currently, the industry makes an annual revenue of Sh1.95 billion compared to Nigeria’s which makes around Sh50.7 billion.

    Those who do not meet targets will be exposed to harsh penalties such as remitting more money to the Universal Service Fund (over 0.5 per cent of their annual revenue).
    Source: Business Daily 29 June 2015

  • Another dormant pay-TV broadcaster, WoWtv which got a pay-TV licence in 2007 is finally ready to start its commercial pay-TV service in South Africa offering 19 TV channels and 8 radio stations.

    Walking on Water Television (WoWtv) was granted a licence in September 2007 to start a subscription TV service.

    WoWtv got a pay-TV licence together with Super 5 Media (then called Telkom Media) which has since tanked and closed down without doing anything; On Digital Media (ODM) which launched the struggling TopTV - now StarSat - in May 2010 and remains in business rescue; and e.Sat which decided against starting a pay-TV platform but rather creating TV channels like the eNCA (DStv 403) TV news channel for MultiChoice DStv.

    With South Africas broadcasting regulator last year granting new provisional pay-TV licences to Siyaya TV, Close-T Broadcasting Network Holdings, Mindset Media Enterprises, Mobile TV and Kagiso TV in a new round of pay-TV applications, it now seems as if the urgency to actually start pay-TV services is getting bigger.

    The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa recently warned that companies who had received licences for communications services but who are not using them or the spectrum will now start running the risk of losing these licences.

    That, coupled with the roll-out of subscription video-on-demand (VOD) TV services from Altech’s Node to Times Media’s Vidi, MTNs FrontRow and Netflix which will be in South Africa before the end of next year, seems to have given new urgency to those with pay-TV licences to sew up and secure the broadcasting rights of whatever programming are still available and to start services as soon as possible.

    WoWtv has now filed its Application for Authorisation of Channels. The term is the usually uneventful process all pay-TV operators undergo when they want to add TV and radio channels to their services.

    The usual non-descript, mostly administrative process often goes off without a hitch, although it sometimes stir massive controversy like when ODM twice approached Icasa to start hardcore pornographic TV channels which were okayed during the second application but finally shut down at the beginning of this year.


    WoWtv applied to start a family-friendly and multichannel pay-TV service to broadcast only 100% Godly television content and entertainment.

    WoWtv says it wants to operate in the mainline television broadcasting industry through divinely inspired television programmes and genres that are designed to be relevant in todays world of entertainment.

    WoWtv has applied for mostly German TV channels. The 19 TV channels Wowtv wants to authorisation for include RTL Television, RTL2, SAT.1, ProSieben, Kabeleins, VOX, Puis 4 Austria, ProSieben MAXX, DW-TV 24 German, Sixx, Super RTL, Jukebox, n-tv, FOX Sports, Euronews, Auto Motor, Fix und Foxi TV, N24 and Satelio Info & Event.

    All the radio channels WoWtv wants to add are from Germany and in German, except one from Namibia, Hitradio Namibia which also broadcasts in the German language.

    Subscribers will have to buy a WoWtv decoder costing R675, as well as a smartcard of R110. Then theres the dish of around R400 and a once-off installation cost of around R450.

    People have two weeks to comment at Icasa on WoWtvs channels authorisation application.

  • The high court in Pretoria this week handed a significant victory to communications minister Faith Muthambi as well as broadcasters opposed to the idea of subsidising an encryption system in the set-top boxes that government intends providing free to 5m poorer households as part of the country’s migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television.

    Judge WRC Prinsloo dismissed an application by challenging Muthambi’s decision to amend government’s broadcasting digital migration policy. The new policy makes it clear that the subsidised set-top boxes will not contain a conditional access system capable of decrypting encrypted TV signals.
    Read the full story here:
    Source: Duncan McLeod in Techcentral

  • The Portfolio Committee on Communications has officially closed the legal opinion that was sought following the removal of three board members of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

    The purpose of the legal opinion, which was sought from Parliament s Constitution and Legal Services Unit, was to advise the committee on the legality of the SABC board s decision.

    It concluded that any removal of a SABC board member that was not in line with the provisions of the Broadcasting Act was invalid and unlawful.

    The members were Ronnie Lubisi, Rachel Kalidass and Hope Zinde.

    However Communications Minister Faith Muthambi told the committee that the Companies Act took precedence over the Broadcasting Act when it came to governance matters concerning the broadcaster.

    Minister Muthambi told the committee that the SABC acted legally in accordance with section 71 of the Companies Act (Act No. 71 of 2008).

    The Portfolio Committee on Communications has welcomed the Minister s response.

    In light of the fact that there was no formal dispute and complaint from the affected members, the committee would like to consider this matter officially closed, said committee acting chairperson Dikeledi Tsotetsi.

    Tsotetsi further reiterated that upon listening to the minister s response, the committee was satisfied that the SABC Board had followed due process and did not break any law to remove the three members.

technology & convergence

  • Nigerian pay TV platform Continental Satellite Limited (Consat) has signed a conditional access modules (CAM) deal with Kudelski Group-owned company, SmarDTV.

    The DTH satellite operator’s pay TV service will soon be available via any integrated digital televisions (iDTVs) that incorporate a CI+ interface, having already launched using Nagra’s anyCAST content protection system.

    Consat CEO, Mayokun Okunola, said that “iDTVs with satellite tuners combined with a conditional access module is an attractive way to provide a high-quality service encouraging customers towards digital TV” and claimed that Consat will become “the satellite platform of choice for low to middle income earners in Nigeria.”

    Jerome Vial, vice-president of sales at SmarDTV, said: “The SmarDTV CAM module is a compelling plug-in solution that enables consumers to enjoy premium channels directly on their iDTVs without an external box. We welcome the arrival of iDTVs with common interface slots on the African continent and are excited to see Consat benefit from this technology as they pursue their digitisation efforts.”
    Source: Digital TV Europe 1st July 2015

  • Uganda has confirmed that it is switching off analogue broadcasting by end of August, East African Businessweek reported. Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Director for Broadcasting Fred Otunnu announced the country's TV migration policy during the launch of a Zuku Television channel. The East African nation is one of the few in the region that seems to be ready for the digital migration.

    Digital Migration has already set foot in Kampala with the switching off of a radius of 60 km. The second phase to be done on 31 July with a switch off radius of 120 km while the third phase will complete on 31 August with a switch off of the entire country, Otunnu said. Otunnu has asked pay-TV companies such as Zuku to provide basic information about digital television to their potential consumers so that users can make an informed choice about services.
    Source: Telecompaper 30 June 2015


  • NFVF Call for applications - South Africa-Brazil Co-production Forum

    The NFVF hereby invites South African filmmakers to apply for the South Africa-Brazil Co-production Forum to be held at the Durban Film Mart during the Durban International Film Festival. Durban International Film Festival takes place from the 16th until the 26th July 2015.

    This initiative is in recognition of the pending signing of the South Africa Brazil Co-production Treaty. The meeting will take place side by side five (5) Brazilian and five (5) South African producers with specific projects that represent job opportunities between the two countries, enhance the real possibilities of co-productions between them.

    This is the second session hosted by the NFVF and Agencia Nacional do Cinema (ANCINE), having previously collaborated at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. The first meeting was a general introduction of the Brazilian and South African markets and inform producers about film possibilities in the two countries.

    The Producers must be experienced and satisfy the following criteria:

    Have a registered production company.

    Have a firm and informed understanding of finance structures and incentives

    Understanding of legal processes (contracts/co-production agreements)

    Knowledge of international markets (festivals, markets, sales)

    Synopsis of the project(s) in mind for a co-production with Brazil.

    The closing date for applications is 5th July 2015. Selections will be made according to the above criteria and successful applicants will be notified by 8th July 2015.

    To apply for participation at the NFVF-Ancine Forum email:

  • Frans Matlala appointed new SABC GCEO

    The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has appointed Frans Matlala as the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO). Matlala, a former banking executive and consultant to the SABC, takes over from Lulama Mokhoba who resigned as CEO last year.

    SABC board deputy chairperson Leah Khumalo said, The board is excited and confident that the right person with the leadership, skills and qualifications has been appointed. In addition Mr Matlala has previously served as project and strategic support to the board and the executive directors of the organisation. The Board, management and staff will provide Mr Matlala with all the support he will need during his tenure and we wish him well .

    The DA released a statement on the appointment saying there was cause for cautious optimism but that Matlala seemed to carry the necessary qualifications and experience for the role. However, the party also stated, There are some question marks around the process to appoint Mr Matlala. With only six members, the board is three short of the quorum it requires to make legally binding decisions such as the appointment of a new CEO. The DA is looking into this.

    Matlala stated, I am excited and humbled by the confidence that the SABC board has in me to lead this important institution in South Africa. I have a mammoth task to serve the South African public in fulfilling the public service broadcaster s mandate to its full potential and beyond. I have faith that with the work that has already been done, the foundation has been laid and we will work as a collective to achieve our goals.

  • 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

    Cannes, France

    4 to 6 November 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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