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Broadcast, Film, Convergence in Africa - Issue no. 2017 17 July 2015

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  • Free to Air African TV broadcasters have built longstanding partnerships with live events to the benefit of both.  Now more specialist pay TV channels are forging these kinds of relationships. It’s the second year DStv channel [ED] has partnered with DIFF and Afridocs to provide both a news programme and documentaries from the festival. Russell Southwood spoke to Roberto Carletti, [ED] about how the partnership works.

    [ED] was created by Urban Brew Studios as an education channel for DStv but not one that followed the curriculum as DStv already shows Mindset which is focused on the South African schools curriculum. Carletti describes [ED] as “an informal knowledge building channel”.

    It’s only been on air for 17 months so the format of the channel is still being adjusted. From August, half its content will be series and the other half documentaries. The most popular topics currently are culture, history, social issues and health.

    Current average reach is 800,000 people per month. As Carletti told me:”The figure moves. We’ve been up to 1.4 million but the figures do drop and it’s not always easy to say exactly why. It boils down to the programme mix.”

    The partnership with the Durban International Film Festival (18-22 July) came about through their relationship with producer Don Edkins who runs the documentary distribution company Afridocs and is a judge at DIFF. The idea was his brain-child and the partnership is in its second year.

    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 will include 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 from 4pm (CAT) and repeats at 10pm (CAT). 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 2nd and 3rd year students from Durban University of Technology (DUT) to man cameras and operate the OB unit, gaining valuable technical experience.

    See first story in Broadcast News below for details of which documentaries will be shown.

    This partnership demonstrates how Pay TV channels can both promote their audience reach and help lesser-known content get a wider continental viewing. These lessons could as easily apply to the new African Free To Air DTT channels that are coming on stream as they will have to work very hard to get the attention of potential audiences.
    So far 1022 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.

    Recent video interviews:

    Eric Kabera on his new documentary Intore about Rwanda 20 years after the Genocide

    Abel Kouame, Afrika Toon on its forthcoming animation feature Poku - Ashante Princess

    African comedian Mamane on his TV political satire, the Very, Very Democratic Republic of Gondwana

    Stanlee Ohikhuare on his new Nigerian comedy film Stupid Movie

    The Scoop: Talk show host Salim Amin gets famous Africans to reveal themselves

    Adamu Waziri on Bino and Fino, an educational childrens' animation series with its own dolls


  • Following on from the success of 2014’s AfriDocs Film Festival on Your Screen, and once again in conjunction with the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) and DStv channel ED, AfriDocs is excited to present a full week of documentary films broadcast across sub-Saharan Africa on DStv channel ED (channel 190) and GOtv (channel 65).

    From the 18th – 22nd of July, AfriDocs brings some of the best of DIFF to screens across Africa with eleven films from the festival to be screened. These films include award winning documentaries - The Shore Break, by Riley Grunenwald (South Africa), The Democrats by Camilla Nielsson (Zimbabwe), Beats of the Antonov by Hajooj Kuka (Sudan) and Coming of Age by Teboho Edkins (Lesotho).

    There will also be daily live broadcasts with filmmakers and industry stakeholders from DIFF at 4pm  (Central/South African time), and screenings of documentary films from 5 – 10pm with eight hours of the Best of DIFF on the weekend of the 25th and 26th of July.

    With the schedule on these days repeating every six hours, you can catch the live interviews and films three more times following the first broadcast.

    This feast of documentary films is not to be missed, make sure to get the full schedule and follow all the updates from AfriDocs as they broadcast live from DIFF: ,

    Saturday 18th July

    AfriPedia: Kenya | Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft, Senay Berhe | Kenya | 2014

    ‘Afripedia, Kenya’ takes an intimate look at Nairobi’s urban culture scene and its leading personalities and stars.

    Miners Shot Down | Rehad Desai | SA | 2013

    In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days later the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more.

    The Future Sound of Mzansi | Lebogang Rasethaba, Nthato Mokgata (Spoek Mathambo) | SA | 2014

    Welcome to the apartheid after-party! The film explores the past, present and future of the electronic music scene and its multiple sub-genres – the mission was simple: to meet up with some of their heroes, colleagues, competitors, and co-conspirators…an ever-potent gang of electronic music pioneers sculpting The Future Sound of Mzansi.

    A Mother at Fifteen  - 14 min | Malawi | 2015

    The Shore Break | Ryley Grunenwald | SA | 2014

    Two cousins from South Africa’s Wild Coast have opposing plans to develop their land. Nonhle wants to develop eco-tourism in order to protect her community’s homes, farms, graves and traditional lifestyle while Madiba is planning a titanium mine and national tolled highway. Meanwhile, their King and Queen, who oppose the mine and highway, are deposed by the South African Government.

    Sunday 19th July

    The Dream of Shahrazad | Francois Verster | Egypt, Lebabon, Turkey | 2014

    The Dream of Shahrazad is a feature-length documentary film which locates political expression before, during and after the Egyptian revolution – and also within recent times in Turkey and Lebanon – within a broader historical and cultural framework: that of storytelling and music.  More particularly, it looks at the legacy of the famous collection of stories known as THE 1001 (or “ARABIAN”) NIGHTS.

    Gareth’s Story  - 11 min

    Beats of the Antonov | Hajooj Kuka | Sudan | 2014

    Beats of the Antonov is a feature documentary about the people of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains in Sudan, during civil war. The film explores how music binds a community together, offering hope and a common identity for refugees engaged in a fierce battle to protect cultural traditions and heritage from those trying to obliterate them.

    AfriPedia: Senegal | Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft, Senay Berhe | Senegal | 2014 |

    Dakar has quickly become one of the most buzzing cities on the continent, infused by a new sense of creativity that cross-pollinates influences across genres and cultures

    Shake the Dust | Adam Sjoberg | Global | 2014

    From executive producer and rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones and journalist-turned-filmmaker Adam Sjöberg, Shake the Dust chronicles the influence of breakdancing, exploring how it strikes a resonant chord in the slums, favelas and ghettos of the world and far beyond. Showcasing some of the most jaw-dropping breakdancing moves ever committed to film, Shake the Dust is an inspiring tribute to the uplifting power of music and movement.

    Monday, 20 July

    Afripedia | Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft & Senay Berhe | Ghana|  2014

    The whispers among connoisseurs talk about Accra as the next big hotspot for African cultural production, and ‘Afripedia, Ghana’ suggest they’re not wrong.

    Concerning Violence| Göran Olsson | Africa | 2014

    Internationally awarded documentary about the African liberation struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. It combines newly discovered archival material depicting some of the most daring moments in the confrontation with colonial powers. Narrated by Lauryn Hill, with text based on Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth.

    The Democrats | Camilla Nielsson | Zimbawe | 2014

    In politically unstable Zimbabwe, a new constitution is being put together by the ruling party of strongman Robert Mugabe and the divided opposition. Various political, local and personal interests are bogging the process down.

    Coming of Age | Teboho Edkins | Lesotho | 2015

    Coming of Age is a film that follows teenagers over two years as they grow up deep in the southern African mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Lefa, sees her world fall apart when her best friend Senate leaves the village, and must decide whether to stay or leave in search of a better education. Retabile takes care of the family’s livestock up in a remote cattle post, helped by his younger brother Mosaku, who watches as he goes through a rite of passage that marks his transition into manhood. The summer of youth is quickly over, doors into adulthood open and close.

    The Cessation | Lotte Manicom | South Africa | 2014

    Angola was subject to brutal conflicts that raged for over forty years. Thousands of refugees fled over the borders into neighbouring countries in search of a safe haven. Many came to the coastal city of Cape Town, on the western coast of South Africa. Here, in exile, the Angolan community created thriving businesses and families of their own. Now, twenty years on, this diaspora is facing a new challenge. In 2013, the South African government ended their refugee protection. This short documentary follows three members of this vibrant Angolan diaspora in Cape Town as it maps the impact of this Cessation on their lives.

    Tuesday, 21 July

    Afripedia | Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft & Senay Berhe | Angola|  2014

    Welcome to Angola, home of heavy electro music known as kuduro. Follow us across the pulsating city of Luanda as we delve into the kuduro evolution and meet the people charting its course.

    Under African Skies Joe Berlinger | South Africa | 2012

    Paul Simon returns to South Africa to explore the journey of his Graceland album, including the political backlash he received for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa designed to end the Apartheid regime.

    Paths to Freedom | Richard Pakleppa | Namibia | 2015

    Paths to Freedom tells of the origins of Namibian nationalism in the 1950’s and how Namibian  peasants and migrant labourers created a guerilla army to fight the illegal occupation of their country by South Africa.  Utilizing extensive archive, struggle music and eye witness accounts Paths to Freedom tells this story of David rising against Goliath against all odds.

    The Man in Me – 15 min | Lesotho | 2014

    Fonko: New Music from West Africa | Lamin Daniel Jadama,  Lars Lovén | 2014 |

    Dakar is the unrivalled centre for the West African hip hop-scene and coupé- décalé is now a major influence all over West Africa. In Burkina Faso the name and speeches of Thomas Sankara is used by musicians to protest against injustices and corruption. In Benin, the veterans of Orchestre Polyrytmo give a historic background to the music scene of today. Narrated by Neneh Cherry.

    Wednesday, 22 July

    Afripedia | Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft & Senay Berhe |South Africa|  2014

    Twenty years after liberation, ‘Afripedia, South Africa’ portrays a diverse new generation that is helping redefine the legacy of the post-apartheid Rainbow Nation.

    When Voices Meet | Nancy Sutton Smith | South Africa | 2015 | 86 min

    When Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, courageous South African musicians broke through Apartheid’s barriers to form a 500-voice, multiracial children’s choir. Threatened with bombs and thwarted at every turn, they prevailed and railroaded across the country aboard The Peace Train. When Voices Meet documents the trials, tribulations and triumphs of those musician activists and young choir members. They performed together for seven years; never lost touch with one another; and then reunited 20 years later.

    Cartoonists: Foot Soldiers of Democracy | Stéphanie Valloatto | France |

    12 lovable lunatics, capturing the comic and tragic in all four corners of the earth: cartoonists who risk their lives to defend democracy, with a smile on their faces and a pencil as their only weapon.

    Fonko: South Africa/ Nigeria | Lamin Daniel Jadama,  Lars Lovén | 2014

    South Africa and Nigeria are two countries with a troubled past, that have today become the economic and cultural super powers of the continent. South Africa is the home to styles like kwaito, SA House and Shangaan electro, which is possibly the fastest club music in the world.

    Nigeria is a country of extreme income gaps, deeply rooted corruption and violent religious conflicts. Here you find the most commercial music on the continent. But also fierce protest music, as artists are trying to carry on the work from the late Fela Kuti. one of the most hard-core protest singers of all times.

    AfriDocs screens every THURSDAY at 8pm Central African time (GMT + 2) on DStv ED Channel 190 & GoTV across sub-Saharan Africa.

    For the full programme schedule and synopses of the films, please go to or

  • STARTIMES has secured rights to broadcast live the International Championship Cup (ICC) being staged in four different locations of North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

    StarTimes Tanzania Vice-President, Zuhura Hanif, told reporters in Dar es Salaam ICC tournament is being aired live by StarTimes through ST Sports Focus and ST Sports Premium channels.

    “This is a historic deal; the ICC tournament is one of its kinds as it features the best gigantic clubs around the globe. I call upon our esteemed customers to brace themselves for a very exciting tournament as the matches will be broadcast live through StarTimes’ mentioned sports channels.

    “Soccer is the most preferred sport in Africa, so we are delighted to acquire rights to one of the biggest and best tournament in world sport.

    We are proud to broadcast exclusively in our channels, we urge our customers to keep on subscribing to watch these games live only via StarTimes channels,” she said.

    Hanif said from the tournament’s kick-off last Saturday, StarTimes will exclusively televise live five to seven games per week.

    She said the ICC fans will watch all games assuring football fans to continue enjoying the sport during this time of the year, when most of the soccer leagues around the globe have ended.

    “We are pleased that our customers who love football on the continent will continue to enjoy good football even during this time when most leagues around the globe have ended.

    It is an honour to bring this exciting experience into the homes of Tanzanians,” said Hanif. She said customers will be updated with all the necessary information as the tournament progresses.

    “We will continue to deliver the very best in sports broadcasting,” she affirmed.
    Source: Daily News Tanzania 14 July 2015

  • The critically and commercially acclaimed swashbuckling adventure series Black Sails is set to take South African television by storm when it premieres on HISTORY, DStv channel 181, on Tuesday, August 18 at 21.20.

    A prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s world-famous novel, Treasure Island, Black Sails is a gritty, adult drama set in the brutal and cut-throat golden age of 18th century piracy.  

    Shot on location in Cape Town, the series features a veritable who’s who of South African talent including Sean Cameron Michael (When We Were Black), Louise Barnes (Jozi-H), Fiona Ramsey (Homeland) and many more.

    The 8x1-hour series follows Stevenson’s infamous and feared pirate, Captain Flint (British actor Toby Stephens) who has a reputation throughout the West Indies as being the most brilliant and feared of all the Golden Age pirates.

    It’s 1715, and as Flint fights for the survival of New Providence Island – a debauched paradise teeming with pirates, prostitutes, thieves and fortune seekers – in the wake of threats from British and Spanish forces, he aligns himself with Eleanor Guthrie, daughter of the local kingpin, to hunt the ultimate prize and ensure his people’s survival. But standing in the way are rival captains, Eleanor’s intrusive father and perhaps the bigger obstacle of all: John Silver (Luke Arnold), a young, fast-talking, authority-flouting sailor recently added to Flint’s crew.

    A story combining real life historical figures, events and locations with fictional pirate legends, the gritty, raw and violent eight-part series from Hollywood executive producer, Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon) stars Toby Stephens (Die Another Day, Jane Eyre), rising star Luke Arnold (Winners & Losers, The Tunnel), Jessica Parker Kennedy (90210, 50/50) and Hakeem Kae-Kazim (24, Hotel Rwanda, Half of a Yellow Sun).

    The series was filmed at Cape Town Film Studios and employed more than 800 extras and crew of which only 30 were not South African.
    Source: Press Release

  • Discovery Communications-owned pay network TLC is launching a chat show for Arab women, its first local program for the Middle East, which marks a breakthrough of sorts. It will be shown across North African countries.

    Hosted by Iraqi-American humanitarian, activist and reporter Zainab Salbi, “Nida’a,” which means “the calling” in Arabic, will launch in October across the Middle East and North Africa on TLC, on Dubai-based paybox OSN, the region’s leading pay-TV player.

    Salbi, who is the founder and former CEO of Washington-based Women for Women International, has lined up interviews with several notable international and Middle Eastern personalities, including Bill Clinton, fashion designer Donna Karan and Egyptian actress Yusra.

    “Nida’a” is being touted as giving Arab women “a voice and platform in a way that has never been done before, as diverse topics such as women’s issues, current events, pop culture, entertainment, food and fashion are all covered in front of a studio audience,” TLC said in a statement.

    “The ‘Nida’a’ show aims at inspiring, supporting and empowering young Muslim and Arab women to achieve their full potential in society,” it quoted Salbi as saying.

    “It provides high quality entertainment and current affairs content with a fresh, engaging and intelligent tone, reflective of young women in the Middle East today,” she added.

    While talk shows targeting women are nothing new in the Middle East, most notably Kalam Nawaem’s “The View” on MBC, “Nida’a” will mark the first one produced by a U.S. media conglomerate.

    TLC is the world’s top woman’s pay TV brand with almost 400 million global subscribers.
    Source: Variety 9 July 2015


  • Starz Play, the new OTT video streaming service serving the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), has announced a multi-year licensing agreement with leading US television studio CBS Studios International for exclusive digital rights to bring premium content from Showtime and CBS to the region.

    Exclusive series and full TV box sets will be available to Starz Play subscribers on demand, including seasons 1 and 2 of Showtime drama series; Penny Dreadful, Ray Donovan and The Affair, along with the three summer event series' from CBS; Under the Dome, Extant and Zoo. A number of these titles will premiere on Starz Play shortly after being broadcast in the US.

    Maaz Sheikh, president of Starz Play, said of the deal, “We are delighted to be working with CBS Studios International to bring their premium content to the region with this exclusive deal. This deal meets the rising demand for premium OTT content by the region’s burgeoning young population and recognises the unique opportunity the Middle East market presents. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.”

    “We are excited to partner with Starz Play to bring our world-class programming to the region on this new and growing digital platform,” said Armando Nuñez, president and CEO, CBS Global Distribution Group. “This deal is another great example of the growing licensing opportunities available for premium content from CBS in a very dynamic digital marketplace.”

    Khaled Benchouche, Starz Play VP of programming, said, “CBS Studios International was an obvious partner choice for Starz Play; their gripping edge of your seat series from CBS and Showtime will resonate with our audience who look for quality and originality.”

    Starz Play launched in April this year across 17 countries in MENA. It provides over 3500 hours of movies and TV series anytime, anywhere and on up to five devices for the equivalent of just $12.99 per month with a one month free trial.
    Source: Screen Africa 13 July 2015

  • Ayanda is a forthcoming South African coming-of-age story whose title character embarks on a journey of self-discovery in the male-dominated world of auto repair. The film’s synopsis describes Ayanda as a “21-year old Afro-hipster” who fights to preserve her father’s auto repair shop from being sold eight years after his death. As she handles the business of reviving the shop, Ayanda must come to terms with her father’s legacy and her own personal growth.

    The feature uses the device of a film-within-a-film to offer a glimpse into a vibrant and diverse Johannesburg community of African migrants from across the continent while offering a meditation on gender stereotypes and human relationships. Ayanda, directed by filmmaker Sara Blecher (Otelo Burning), stars South African actress Fulu Mugovhani as Ayanda, and Nigeria’s OC Ukeje (Confusion Na Wa) as her love interest, David. Rounding out the cast are Ntathi Moshesh, Kenneth Nkosi, Jafta Mamabola, Thomas Gumede, Sihle Xaba and Venessa Cooke.

    Ayanda, which premiered last month at the Los Angeles Film Festival, was recently selected as the opening film of the 36th Durban International Film Festival. Watch the trailer, and see below for the film’s official synopsis. Keep up with Ayanda on Facebook and Twitter.

    “In a community vibrant with migrants from across the African Continent, against the backdrop of unspoken love, a young woman tries to navigate a path for herself. But this is a world where everything keeps shifting… Everything except the one thing that really does need to change. Ayanda and the Mechanic is a coming of age story of a twenty one year old Afro hipster, who embarks on a journey of self discovery trying to keep the memory of her father alive, when she’s thrown into a world of greasy overalls, gender stereotypes and abandoned vintage cars in need of a young woman’s re-inventive touch who tries to reclaim what would’ve been, what could’ve been.”

    Ayanda opens in South African cinemas on October 2nd 2015.
    Source: Okayafrica 8 July 2015

    To watch an interview with the film’s director Sara Blecher, click on the link here:

  • To mark a decade of bringing the best surfing films to Durban, the Wavescape Surf Film Festival has announced a record line-up of 23 movies over a week at the 36th Durban International Film Festival, which takes place from July 16 to 26.

    Every conceivable film technique and technology is represented in an extraordinary selection of films, according to Spike from Wavescape, co-director of the Wavescape festival. “We have some excellent documentaries, including the hair-raising story of the Signal Hill Speed Run in California that started downhill skateboard racing.”

    Wavescape 2015 boasts 12 short films and 11 medium or feature length movies that reflect a unique diversity. A unique trilogy of poetic shorts form a beautiful rendition of surfing in the UK: Sea Fever – and Irish film set to a John Masefield poem and gritty black and white footage; Edges of Sanity – a uniquely powerful piece narrated by Charles Dance who plays Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones; and Chasing Rumours – moving from the clamour of a football match at Newcastle United to the nearby Tyne River where storm waves pound grimy shores.

    Included are films from the most remote wildernesses of Alaska (Arctic Swell) and the Arctic Circle (The Cradle of Storms). But from these frozen wastelands and frigid waves we sweep to the translucent tropical waters and reefs of Indonesia in the Mentawai Drone Movie, a short shot entirely by aerial drone.

    “Don’t miss the languidly beautiful pace of Bella Vita that takes us to Tuscany as an Italian surfer and activist retraces his ancient roots, or the hard-hitting feminist film Flux: Redefining Women’s Surfing that ask serious questions of the surf industry.”

    “One of my favourite shorts is Narcose, an artistically rendered account of world apnea free diving champion Guillaume Néry’s hallucinations caused by ‘raptures of the deep’ during one of his dives,” says Spike.

    There are films about skateboarding in the urban precincts of Cape Town, and keeping within themes of sustainability, two South African shorts about wooden surfboard craftsman. From the epic surfing and slo-mo definition of worldclass surfing in Attractive Distractions, we move to Always on the Road, a beautifully shot film that traces the old surf routes of Europe along the Basque countryside, as well as France and Portugal.

    There are obligatory soul surfing movies (I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night, Missing, Rail to Rail and Se7en Signs) to a heady mix of high action surfing that can be found in Missing, Attractive Distractions, Strange Rumblings in Shangri La and Pipeline and Kelly Slater.

    And with any selection of surf films, there is the whacky wildcard: Expencive Porno Movie (sic) spoofs the “surf porn” genre, of endless shots of waves and wave-riding, with a cheesy 1960’s Austin Powers theme. The widest collection yet hails from locations such as Namibia, Cape Town, Hawaii, California, Indonesia, Portugal, Spain, Alaska, Patagonia, and Australia.

    The free outdoor screening at the Bay of Plenty takes place Sunday 19 July.

    Ster Kinekor Musgrave screenings are from from Monday, 20 July to Saturday, 25 July.

    Films are R35 at Musgrave. See and

    Tickets for Musgrave available from
    Source: Filmmaker Africa 14 July 2015

  • The Zanzibar International Film Festival, taking place from July 18 – 26th has officially announced its full schedule and programme of events. This year sees an incredible selection of over eighty films being screened at four venues in Stone Town, in addition to screenings in villages across Zanzibar island and Pemba.

    A full workshop programme, nightly music concerts, special screenings as well as annual Women’s Parade and Market as well as The Dhow Race will round out an incredible schedule for ZIFF 2015.

    ZIFF is also extremely proud to announce as its Chief Guests, internationally renowned hip-hop recording artist, actor and activist Mos Def.  Mos Def will take part in a number of official activities during the festival along with Leleti Khumalo who will host the South Africa Day events as well as special screenings of some of her films.

    More information on all these events can be found at with daily news and updates on and on twitter @ZIFF_2015

    NB: Programme is subject to change for all the latest and up to date information, please visit, or on twitter @ZIFF_2015


  • Côte Ouest, an African content distributer, and Dobox, one of the largest portals of Video On Demand in Africa, are pleased to announce the signature of an exclusive distribution agreement related to 25 Nigerian feature films. The collection includes Journey to Self produced by Ashionye Michelle Raccah which earned awards at the Best of Nollywood Awards, Nollywood Movies Awards and Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards.

    In addition to this five year worldwide distribution agreement, on 27 July 2015, five months after the launch of Nina TV across French speaking Africa, Movies will launch the channel in English speaking African markets. The Nina TV English Channel will offer the very best of Telenovelas in a unique mix of Brazilian and African flavours , to all the African fans and lovers of the genre. Nina TV has secured exclusive access to the entire Globo TV Catalog.
    Source: Screen Africa 15 July 2015

    To watch an interview with the director of Journey To Self, click on the link here:

  • Ryley Grunenwald’s The Shore Break won the prestigious Backsberg Audience Choice Award at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival for Best South African Film. The award-winning documentary film follows the dilemma faced by a rural community on South Africa s Wild Coast as to whether to support or resist a proposed titanium mining project and a national tolled highway.

    Grunenwald says she is thrilled with the accolade: Both my co-producer Odette Geldenhuys and I are really pleased about the win. The Shore Break was a labour of love so it is very rewarding to know it is well received by South African audiences. It was an important story to tell because it captures the nuance and complexity around issues of developing the Wild Coast. The story follows two Pondo cousins who have opposing dreams for the future of their land. One wants to preserve the land through sustainable development while the other plans to mine it for titanium, believing large scale development is the only way to improve employment opportunities.

    The audience award is based on a complicated calculation in which the festival takes into account the capacity of the cinemas, numbers of tickets sold and the votes cast, says Odette Geldenhuys. The film captured the imagination of festival goers, so much so that all our five scheduled screenings were sold out and we had to have two additional screenings in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

    Backsberg Estate Cellars CEO Simon Back adds, It is a great honour for us to sponsor the Audience Choice Awards. The aim of the awards is to raise awareness around the festival and what has resonated with audiences. With sustainability being core to the way we run our winery, I am also thrilled that both winners raise awareness around critical environmental matters.

    The Shore Break, which was a project in the 2013 Durban FilmMart, will have its co-premiere at the 36th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) on 18 July 2015 with four screenings during the festival which runs from 16 to 26 July.
    Source: 14 July 2015


  • IcflixMiddle East and North African VoD streaming service, Icflix, has agreed an exclusive partnership with Maroc Telecom.

    The deal will allow Maroc Telecom customers to access Icflix for what the VoD service described as an “unprecedented” price of 50 Moroccan Dirhams (€4.62).

    “Maroc Telecom – a pioneer in the Moroccan industry, will enable us to reach a greater number of viewers through our proposal for high-quality and varied content,” said Icflix founder and CEO, Carlos Tibi.
    Source: Digital TV Europe 15 July 2015

  • The Durban FilmMart (DFM), the joint initiative of the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) and Durban Film Office (DFO) the film industry development arm of the City of Durban, which takes place from July 17 to 20, has announced partners’ awards for this year’s market, with an exciting new award being presented by the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program.

    Considered one of Africa’s most important film finance platforms and industry gatherings, the FilmMart sees about 500 film-makers from around the globe, with a significant representation from Africa, attend the festival for four days of industry development forums and networking sessions. An integral part of the DFM is the finance and co-production forum, which this year has 10 features and nine documentary films selected for intense mentoring and pitch sessions to financiers and distributors, and other industry representatives.

    Over the years the DFM has developed key relationships with a myriad industry partners that have seen the value of supporting and developing African content for both continental and global markets.

    This year the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program will award a documentary film project that demonstrates potential for strong storytelling craft, artistic use of visual language, originality, feasibility, and relevance with a cash award of $7000 for further development. “In light of the tremendous talent for documentary filmmaking in Africa and the significant work of the DFM to celebrate those artists, the award is designed to contribute to and support the work of an African non-fiction filmmaker.” explains Rahdi Taylor, Film Fund Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. “In supporting a broad spectrum of cinematic and creative non-fiction projects globally, Sundance Institute embraces contemporary storytellers as part of the collective consciousness of culture, and documentary film as a vital contributor to the language of the 21st century.”

    Partners and awards this year include:

    Afridocs, the broadcast stream that sees African and other international documentaries screened across 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa on a weekly basis, will offer a €3000 grant for one outstanding documentary project.

    The CineMart Award, sponsored by the co-production market of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, provides a fiction project with an opportunity to attend the Rotterdam Lab, a five-day training and networking event bringing together producers from all over the world.

    The International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) awards the most promising documentary project at the DFM with an opportunity to attend the  IDFA Forum, the largest and most influential meeting place for documentary filmmakers, producers, commissioning editors, funds, private financiers and other documentary stakeholders in Europe, from November 23 to 25.

    The New Cinema Network awards will give an official project an opportunity to attend the 10th edition NCN in Rome, where the producer/director will be able to present the project to film companies at an international level.

    Produire au Sud of Festival des 3 Continents (Nantes), will give one fiction project an opportunity to attend its developmental workshop program, PAS, where they will be given tools, expertise, and opportunities to develop European networks.

    The Restless Pitch award, is a one-year representation deal for the project by Restless Talent Management, who provide development services such as image-building and positioning, project packaging, PR, and advises its clients on film sales, distribution and promotion.

    Durban’s Videovision Entertainment, will once again award the “Best South African Film Project” a prize valued at R75 000, which guarantees its release once it is completed. The prize includes marketing and distribution support from Videovision Entertainment.

    ‘We are immensely grateful to all our partners for the generous opportunities they have created for the DFM selected projects,” says Toni Monty of the Durban Film Office. “For independent film-makers, this is such an ideal opportunity to take their projects to the next level through the mentorship and support provided at the Market. We are looking forward to a robust and stimulating market this year, and seeing how the projects will evolve and develop through the  DFM process.”

    For more information about the DFM go to

  • Following a capital increase of €35m, Media Globe Networks, a company controlled by the Sawiris Family, becomes the majority shareholder of Euronews

    Lyon, France, July 9th, 2015 - Euronews announced that Media Globe Networks, a company owned by the Sawiris Family and managed by Naguib Sawiris, now holds 53% of shares of the international news media based in Lyon. The majority stake has been purchased through a capital increase of €35m. The remaining 47% of shares stay with Euronews' traditional shareholders; 21 public television channels and 3 local authorities. The purchase of Media Globe Networks of Euronews' capital comes after several months of exclusive negotiations, validated by an Extraordinary General Assembly on June 19th.

     Since then, a dedicated Shareholders Agreement has been signed by the vast majority of the public shareholders, giving final validation to the entrance of Media Globe Networks to the capital.

    Euronews will be governed by three distinctive bodies: The Supervisory Board, the Editorial Board and the Executive Board. The 10 members of the Editorial Board will be journalists or have a strong experience in the media area. Seven out of the 10 members of this Editorial Board, including the Chairman, will be directly appointed by the public shareholders of Euronews. The creation of the Editorial Board will allow an active permanent control of the independence and diversity of Euronews editorial line. This new governance, validated by all stakeholders, will ensure the preservation of the mission of general interest of the international news media as well as its editorial independence.

    The Supervisory Board also renewed the directorship of Mr. Michael Peters as CEO of Euronews for a term of 4 years.

    "I am grateful for the consistent support that the Euronews' Shareholders demonstrated over the preceding months throughout this project, which will definitely put Euronews in a new dimension", commented CEO Michael Peters. "The process of capital increase started one year ago. We chose to enter exclusive negotiations with Media Globe Networks, because of its clear commitment and guarantees to respect Euronews diversity and editorial independence. We are delighted to work alongside our new investor to expand our reach and service lines in order to reinforce Euronews' position as a key-player in the media industry."

    "Euronews is a strong, global, independent and highly professional news media," commented Naguib Sawiris, the Chairman and CEO of Media Globe Networks. "I believe that Euronews, with its unique expertise, has a huge potential for future growth and do fully support Michael Peters and his team in their aim of raising Euronews to the next level."

    "The public shareholders welcome the investment of Media Globe Networks and look forward to working alongside Naguib Sawiris to support the future growth and development of Euronews", said Paolo Garimberti, current Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Euronews. "The new governance provides all the guarantees regarding the editorial independence of Euronews. The public shareholders will remain closely involved alongside the new investor for the success of this unique media."
    Source: Company Press Release

regulation & policy

  • A new direct to home cable television service provider, African Cable Television, has kicked against the subscription rates being paid by Nigerians to view pay-TV.

    It said it had always been against such ‘high rates’, which was why it chose to offer content in four bouquets at affordable prices on an apple-to-apple comparison lower than those already available in the market.

    The ACTV made its entry to the pay-TV market some months ago, and industry observers have noted that it is gradually winning its own share of the market.

    “The ACTV-6000 HD decoder is undoubtedly the customers delight with its exceptional video clarity, enhanced sound quality, television programme guide, recording, picture browsing and pause-TV features.

    “ACTV is primed to give Nigerians the opportunity to choose their television experience with its unique offerings. Their advanced HD decoder that easily fits into one’s pocket and is highly portable is one of the decoder features many customers have been going out for,” the company said in a statement.

    It stated that ACTV offered four bouquets with over 56 local and international channels.

    “Customers enjoy its world-class content, available through the ACTV Prime Bouquet with 18+ channels; ACTV Family Bouquet with 24+ channels; ACTV Family Max Bouquet with 36+ channels and ACTV Premium Bouquet with over 56+ channels,” the statement also read.

    It added, “The company is currently running a promo that gives customers free subscription for three months when they buy its decoder and dish.

    “ACTV offers over 45 international TV channels providing news, movies, general entertainment, children, sports, religion, lifestyle content genres to mention but a few.

    “The ACTV channel lineup includes BBC World, Sky News, Aljazeera, France 24, Russia Today, Fox News, FOX Business News, VH1, MTV Base, BET, FOX Movies, B4U Movies, FOX Sports 1 & 2, Nickelodeon, Baby TV, NatGeo Gold, Investigation Discovery, Fine Living Network and many more.”
    Source: Punch 14 July 2015

  • Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to save the country's entertainment industry from pirates.

    He said the Nollywood film industry was doing well but unless it was backed, it would be "ruined by pirates".

    The industry is worth $5bn (£3bn), but filmmakers still struggle to make a profit because of piracy.

    Despite being hastily shot on low budgets, their focus on love, betrayal and witchcraft is hugely popular across Africa.

    President Buhari ordered security agencies to identify those involved in copyright piracy and bring them to justice.

    Nollywood is not the only industry affected by the problem.

    Producers in Kannywood - the Hausa language film industry based in the northern city of Kano - are also complaining and had asked the president to intervene.

    Mr Buhari said he would do everything possible to protect the entertainment industry.

    "They [film producers] have built an industry with their own sweat", he said.

    "It is therefore incumbent on us to give them the necessary support."

    Nigeria's film industry analysts believe that Nollywood is churning out up to 50 films a week.

    However, most of these movies are sold straight to DVD and filmmakers struggle to make a profit.
    Source: BBC  World News 15 July 2015

  • An MOU has been signed between ICASA and the NCC to help deal with telecoms-related consumer complaints faster.

    The National Consumer Commission (NCC) and the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) have entered into a cooperative working agreement to help resolve telecommunication and broadcast-related complaints.

    The entities signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen both their mandates and ensure complaints are dealt with by the rightful entity. The agreement will also create certainty for consumers as to how they should deal with complaints in the sector, ICASA COO Willinton Ngwepe said at a press briefing today.

    Both bodies receive "hundreds" of complaints relating to the telecoms and broadcasting industry each year, and this understanding should remove duplication, says Ngwepe.

    "This formal relationship allows for complaints to be classified in terms of our respective jurisdictions, which makes complaints handling more efficient," says NCC commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed.

    "The NCC will attend to matters relating to contracts, misrepresentation, bait marketing, faulty handsets, as well as call limits. ICASA will deal data, international roaming, pricing and quality of networks," says Mohamed.

    The memorandum was also drawn up to prevent "forum shopping" where a consumer would lodge a complaint with the two separate entities and chose the more favourable outcome.
    Source: ITWeb 10 July 2015

technology & convergence

  • The South Korean cinema technology featuring moving seats and environmental effects will launch in two locations in South Africa this year with three more planned in the days to come.

    South Korea's CJ 4DPlex announced additional sales for "4DX" at CineEurope on Wednesday, where it signed a pact with South Africa's Nu Metro Cinemas to launch the immersive cinema technology in five locations. This is the latest development for the fast-expanding South Korean brand, which is available in 182 cinemas in 34 countries and is aiming to reach 300 auditoriums by the first half of 2016.

    This will mark the African debut of 4DX, which was picked up on Tuesday by Turkey's Mars Cinema Group at the Barcelona trade show. By the end of the year, Nu Metro Cinemas will add the 4D multi-sensory effects including motion, vibration, water, wind, lighting and scents at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and The Pavilion in Durban, two key tourist attractions in South Africa. Three other sites are in the planning process, said a press release from CJ 4DPlex.

    "4DX continues to outdeliver non-4D feature film performances around the world, as it expands into new markets, and now to its fifth continent,” said Byung Hwan Choi, CEO of CJ 4DPlex. "Nu Metro Cinemas has recently been adding new features and expanding its reach, and we look forward to working with them as both companies continue to grow."

    "[Introducing 4DX] is a strategic move, fitting our commitment to supplying customers with a fully immersive cinema experience, utilizing the best, most up-to-date world-class technology,” said Nitesh Matai, marketing executive at Nu Metro. "4DX fulfills those expectations as the new 4D cinemas will involve all five senses for consumers to enjoy a cinema outing like nothing else they've seen, heard or felt before. With the introduction of 4DX, Nu Metro Cinemas now joins an elite group of cinema chains using this technology, and showcasing popular blockbusters in this groundbreaking format."

    This week, 4DX celebrates the first anniversary of its debut in the U.S., where it has generated a revenue of $1.52 million. According to CJ 4DPlex, its attendance record in the Los Angeles location has nearly doubled with recent 4DX versions of Jurassic World and San Andreas, achieving opening weekend occupancy rates of over 90 percent.
    Source: Hollywood Reporter

  • For the first time in its history the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), which runs from 16 to 26 July, appears on iTunes where audiences will be able to enjoy films that complement the official selection this year. Staying within DIFF’s areas of focus, the films which fans can enjoy include Palme d’Or winners such as Marty, or experience the musical frenzy that is the Director’s Cut of Woodstock.

    iTunes has a history of working with film festivals around the world such as Cannes, Tribeca, Toronto Film Festival and more and DIFF will now also have a presence on the store.

    “Many people are unable to get to DIFF, or simply do not have the time to see all the titles on offer at the festival so we are pleased that for the first time, we are building this special area on iTunes for people to access great films associated with DIFF.” says Pedro Pimenta, director of DIFF.

    The festival also features the Wavescape Surf Film Festival as well as important industry initiatives including a programme of seminars and workshops with notable industry figures, the 8th Talents Durban (in cooperation with the Berlinale Talents) and the 6th Durban FilmMart co-production market (in partnership with the Durban Film Office).

    The full festival programme can be found on the DIFF website.

    Follow DIFF on Twitter at @DIFFest or Facebook on DurbanInternationalFilmFestival.


  • Triggerfish launches $3.5m pan-African Story Lab

    CAPE TOWN - After the international success of its first two feature films, Triggerfish Animation Studios is establishing The Triggerfish Story Lab with the support of The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and The Walt Disney Company.

    Triggerfish will be investing up to $3.5m over the next three years in The Story Lab, which aims to give Africa’s most talented storytellers and filmmakers the opportunity to develop their ideas alongside Triggerfish’s international network of mentors. Selected storytellers will potentially have their concepts developed into episodic TV content or an animated feature film for the global market.

    Triggerfish is conducting a continent-wide search for storytellers. These storytellers will be carefully selected, based not only on the creative and commercial merits of their concept, but also on their track record.

    The entries will be evaluated by a high-profile panel of both local and international experts, including British director and co-founder of Aardman Peter Lord (Chicken Run, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists), Hollywood writer Jonathan Roberts (The Lion King) and script consultant Karl Iglesias (Writing For Emotional Impact), and a panel of development executives from The Walt Disney Company, as well as South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope, comedian David Kau and Triggerfish’s development team of Anthony Silverston, Wayne Thornley and Raffaella Delle Donne.

    Shortlisted storytellers will take part in workshops with leading Hollywood script consultant Pilar Alessandra, author of The Coffee Break Screenwriter.

    The selected Story Lab participants will also receive two weeks of mentoring with key studio and television executives at Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, California.

    “We are ready to bring a fresh voice to the world,” says Anthony Silverston, head of development at Triggerfish. “We believe there is extraordinary talent in Africa and the Story Lab is the perfect way to partner with them.”

    “We are excited to be supporting Triggerfish on this innovative project,” says Christine Service, senior vice president and country manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “We believe the Story Lab provides a unique opportunity to discover this continent’s next generation of storytellers.”

    “The dti is committed to developing a pool of creative talent that can produce international quality animation production scripts,” says Nelly Molokoane from the dti’s Film and TV Incentives Unit, adding that the department is honoured to support projects that will contribute to job creation.

    “The Story Lab will be a great catalyst for African creativity on the global stage,” says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. “We look forward to opening up the Triggerfish production platform and our networks to the continent’s top creative talent."

    The development process can take a number of years. For each phase of development, Triggerfish will provide financial support, workspace, and expert guidance by internal and international consultants and mentors, as well as a route to market through top-tier relationships with Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor.

    Animation has proven to be a successful medium for South African films to travel internationally, with Triggerfish’s films Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba being distributed in over 150 countries and dubbed into over 27 languages.

    Applications are welcome from all writing and creative disciplines, not just experienced film and TV screenwriters. Applicants must be over 21 and either African citizens or permanent residents. Entries must be in English. Entries close 31 August 2015.

    Full guidelines and an online application form are available at 

    Watch and embed the promo here:
    Source: Press Release 16 July 2015

    Filmmakers invited to enter sixth Harambee Award ‘Conveying Africa’

    Harambee Africa International, an organisation which promotes educational programs in Africa and for Africa, has announced it will offer filmmakers and students the opportunity to win the sixth Communicating Africa prize. The prize aims to create a more accurate image of Africa and to promote awareness of the continent. Harambee means ‘all together’ in Swahili.

    In past editions, the award winners have been professionals such as Lena Slachmuiklder, Michelle Makori, Mayte Pascual, Stefano Belardini and Serena Laudisa who all submitted audiovisual works, which were broadcast on major television networks in Belgium, Italy, Spain, United States, Ireland, South Africa and other countries.

    The prize was previously given out in 2004, and then later in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2013.

    There are two categories is this year’s competition: Televised Report or Documentary. This must have been broadcast on television or on internet-based news channels between 1 January 2014 and 30 June 2015, but students under 25 years old, may submit a video-clip.

    The prize for best documentary/televised report, is €5000€ , while a total of €1500 in prizes will be awarded for video clips.

    Filmmakers participating in the Zanzibar International Film Festival , which runs from 18 to 26 July 2015 in Stone Town, are especially encouraged to enter, along with all other filmmakers from across Africa.

    For rule and full entry information click here

  • ‘Black-ish’ Star Anthony Anderson Set To Host MTV Africa Music Awards

    Anthony Anderson, who won an NAACP Image Award this year for his starring role on ABC’s “Black-ish,” will host the fifth edition of the MTV Africa Music Awards on July 18 in Durban, in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal.

    The Mamas, as the awards are known, were revived last year after a three-year hiatus and aired live in 48 countries, including for the first time across sub-Saharan Africa on multiplatform network MTV Base. They also trended globally, including in the U.S., on Twitter.

    Anderson, who besides starring in “Black-ish” is the show’s executive producer, and also hosts Food Network’s “Carnival Cravings with Anthony Anderson,” enthused about the gig in a statement.

    “I’m so looking forward to my first trip to Durban and KwaZulu-Natal and honored to be hosting Mama 2015 on Nelson Mandela’s birthday – it’s going to be awesome!,” he said.

    Anderson also known for leading roles on NBC’s “Law & Order,” where he played Detective Kevin Bernard, as well as shows “K-Ville” and “The Shield,” and semi-biographical sitcom “All About the Andersons,” is fresh from his recent stint as co-host of the Black Entertainment Television Awards 2015 in L.A. in June.

    He has also earned praise for his film work on “Barbershop” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed.”

    “Funny, charismatic and engaging, Anthony Anderson is guaranteed to make Mama 2015 a memorable event thanks to his unique comedic presence and boundless energy,” commented Alex Okosi, senior VP and managing director at VIMN Africa.

    Anderson follows in the footsteps of previous Mama hosts Marlon Wayans (2014), Eve (2010), Wyclef Jean (2009) and Trevor Nelson (2008).

    As previously announced, U.S. R&B star Ne-Yo will perform to promote his sixth studio album, “Non-Fiction,” as will singer Jhene Aiko and rising American hip-hopper Young Thug.

    Performers set for Mama 2015 also include 2FACE, AKA, Big Nuz, Black Motion, Bucie, Cassper Nyovest, Da LES, Davido, Diamond Platnumz, DJ Fisherman, DJ Tira, Jhené Aiko, NaakMusiQ, Toofan, Wizkid, and Yemi Alade.

    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.
    Source: Variety 13 July 2015

  • 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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