Issue no. 114; 29 September 2011

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  • The Arab Spring has provided much needed momentum for Free-To-Air broadcast liberalisation in North Africa. The pace of change has been matched in Sub-Saharan Africa where the domestic airwaves are opening up to something more than Mr President TV and satellite Pay TV for the well-heeled elite, with the exception of North Africa where Satellite TV is a more democratic affair. Russell Southwood looks at those that have now got their foot on the accelerator and at the traffic jam at the back of the queue.

    Free-To-Air TV broadcast liberalisation is one of the litmus tests of freedom of expression and the desire to see a country’s economy develop. Allowing more than one mass channel for sending and receiving information and allowing commercial advertising into the market both change the communications dynamic in a country.

    Privately-owned TV channels also imply the weakening of the “direct-line” access from the President to the state broadcaster’s Director-General or News Editor. The private owner might be a friend (or close associate) of the President but friends can always fall out.

    Two North African countries have decided to go cross this line: Tunisia is to introduce 5 new private TV and Algeria will open itself up to private Free-To-Air broadcast stations in 2012.

    In Tunisia, the National Forum for the reform of information and communication (in French, L'Instance nationale pour la réforme de l'information et de la communication - Inric) recommended in a statement issued September 7, 2011, that five new TV licences be granted to: Tahar Ben Hassine (El Hiwar Ettounsi), Mohamed Hannachi (Golden TV), Mohamed Moncef Lem-Kachar (Khamsa TV), Nasr Ali Chakroun (Ulysses TV), Issam Kherigi (TWT).

    The Forum also recommended, in the same statement, the granting a license to create a public sports channel (via DTT) under the supervision of the Establishment of Tunisian Television (In French, l'Établissement de télévision tunisienne - ETT). The Forum recommended that these authorizations should be granted only to individuals and that they cannot be transferred in any manner to third parties.

    Tahar Ben Hassine already edits a service of the same name from London, while Mohamed and Mohamed Moncef Lemkachar Hannachi are owners of a local audiovisual production company. The other two lucky winners, Nasr Ali Chakroun (Ulysses TV) and Issam Kherigi (TWT) are respectively general manager of a company specialized in IT (3S Globalnet), and director of a production company, Spad (Société de production audiovisuelle).

    Tunisia had - even before the Arab Spring revolution - two public channels: Wataniya 1 and TV21 and two private channels: Hannibal TV and Nessma TV.  According to the Tunisian news agency, TAP, 33 requests for new TV channels have been filed, but only five licenses for the establishment of five new TV channels have been allocated.

    Moreover, the lawyer in charge, Sihem Ben Sedrine, said that RTCI  will get a provisional license to create its own radio station (Radio Kalima), but had not yet obtained the final license. Radio Kalima’s lawyer have been coing and going to Inric headquarters for a specification that is not yet ready.

    In Algeria, the local press has recently announced that private broadcasters will be licensed in 2012: The independent daily El-Watan, the Arabic El-Khabar and L'Expression all carried stories to that effect. Since 1962, state-run ENTV has had an almost monopoly on the national TV landscape. Except as in most of North Africa, there is widely distributed satellite TV with many Arabic and European channels. 

    The CEO of El Khabar, Zahreddine Smati, had already informed its editorial team before announcing its intention to start a TV station to the public, while El-Watan announced ‘El Watan-TV’ and a radio station loud and clear in its Wednesday edition. The French-language daily L'Expression has announced that its management will launch "Shems TV" (TV Soleil). Beur TV’s CEO Réda Mehigueni also wants to position itself on the Algerian market. ETRHB group seems to have taken several steps ahead of future competitors. Since 25 August 2011, a website - www.dzairwebtv.com - was launched.

    The Algerian government confirmed last Monday the opening of broadcasting licences through new laws reforming politics and media in the country. According to a 2008 study from French Médiamétrie that has an office in Algiers, 14 to 16 million Algerians watch foreign television against 8  to 10 million Algerians who follow ENTV programmes, which household penetration rate is about 23%.

    Meanwhile in Sub-Saharan Africa, Zimbabwe is dragging its heels and seeking to avoid giving any kind of licences that compete with the Government-controlled broadcast media. The Government appeared to be moving cautiously towards radio liberalisation when it called for applications 4 months ago but studiously avoided offering private TV licences. However, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has not yet responded to the 15 or so applications it received for radio licences.

    So the roll-call of those with only one Government Free-To-Air TV station is shortening but not quickly enough. It currently stands at 19 countries: Algeria (see above); Cape Verde (private TV station piloted); Chad; Central African Republic; Comoros; Djibouti; Equatorial Guinea; Ethiopia (reports of 8 new private TV stations in 2011 but no sign yet with only 3 months to go); Eritrea; Gambia; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Lesotho; Libya (assumed to be coming soon); Mauritius; Rwanda; Sao Tome; Seychelles; and Zimbabwe.

    The next step is to open up the foreign ownership restrictions which effectively make it difficult to attract external investment and too often restrict ownership to the President’s family (see Angola), friends or hangers on. But more that another day….

    Please note, correction in Issue 113: The website Conrad Nkutu of Fast Track Productions is launching is: africafilmonline.tv

    This week on Balancing Act’s You Tube TV Channel:


    Conrad Nkutu, CEO, Fast Track Productions
    on its hit daily comedy, The Hostel

    Teju Babyface, CEO, Class Act Entertainment on his new comedy and variety show

    Bunmi Davies, CEO, Afrotainment on his hot comedy show Stand Up Nigeria

    Fathia Plange, Executive Director, Trend TV
    on season 2 of Make Me A Star

    Steve Ojo, CEO, Galaxy Entertainment on Africa's first telenovela Echoes

    David Campbell, CEO, Mediae on the new season of Shamba Shape Up

    Patrick Zuchowicki, CEO, Basic Lead on its new event TV Loves Africa

    Kalada Wilson, Managing Director, Trend TV on the revival of this Nigerian cable channel

    Santos Okottah, founder, eziki.tv on its livestreaming and downloads service

    Mike Aldridge, Broadcast Manager, Cape Town TV on this South African community TV station’s programming, audiences and business model

    Balancing Act's Twitter feed provides a combination of breaking news for telecoms, Internet and broadcast in Africa, direct tweets from countries visited and access to the occasional rumours circulating. You can follow us on:
    @BalancingActAfr

  • Ajala’s Dayo Osholuwu has launched the Ajala Travel Channel on Hi-TV and has far reaching ambitions to take it across the continent. The existence of a travel travel channel somehow validates the little-explored phenomenon of tourism amongst Africa’s growing middle class.

    The Channel was launched on Hi-TV in April of this year and it runs as a branded block for 8 hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with repeats on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

    The business model is a mixture of advertising (not much so far), sponsorship of programmes and people buying trips and packages from the company that also operates as a travel agent: currently 80% of revenues come from this source. On the advertising front, Osoluwu thinks it’s a matter of time and this will help establish that the channel’s credible.

    “Hi-TV had 200,000 subscribers when it launched but this has dropped over the last 8 month (without the EPL) to less than 100,000 subscribers. The big challenge is to take it from being a Nigerian Travel Channel to being one going out across the the continent, an African Travel Channel.

    “We’re in talks with DStv and Wananchi and want to get signed up on their platforms. We’ve also done a deal with Liberty TV for a strategic alliance that will develop a stand-alone channel. We need to deliver the ratings to convince advertisers.”

  • Doha, Qatar, 14 September 2011: There are more slaves than ever before, according to a shocking new documentary series premiering on Al Jazeera English on 10 October 2011.

    South African Oscar, BAFTA and Emmy winning executive producer Jon Blair says, " Slavery: A 21st Century Evil has been a year in the making and represents one of Al Jazeera's most important global investigations. Shot on three continents, this is the most in-depth study undertaken by any broadcaster of how and why modern day slavery persists.”

    Presented by Somali-born journalist Rageh Omaar, Slavery: A 21st Century Evilexposes how slavery is flourishing all over the world. “Today 27 million men, women and children are held, sold and trafficked as slaves throughout the world,” says Rageh. “That’s more than double the 12.5 million Africans who were taken into slavery during the several centuries of the Atlantic slave trade. This is atrade worth $32 billion a year – a trade that refuses to die and remains the most prolific evil in the world today.”
    Among other horrors, the different episodes explore:

    Food chain slaves in America and the largest slave labour case in living memory, where a Californian company is charged with enslaving more than 900 Thai child
     
    Series producer Tim Tate says, “Slavery: A 21st Century Evil reveals uncomfortable truths about the role of slave labour in modern life, like the way some of the food on the shelves of supermarkets has been harvested by slaves, or the use of slave labour to produce many of the goods consumers throughout the world take for granted.”

    Tim adds, “It’s also a challenge to governments throughout the world. There has never been an easier time to rid the world of slavery but we live in a world where a top lawyer charges £3 000 per hour and a slave can be bought for £55 or less. Yet the American government, despite its self-appointed role as the world’s anti-slavery police, devotes precious few resources to its own part in the 21st century slave trade.”

    The final episode will be an open public debate, which will discuss how the modern slave trade can be targeted and assess the efforts of the USA and the United Nations – the two major agencies involved.

    The seven 30-minute and one 60-minute episodes begin on 10 October 2011.

    For moreinformation, visit http://english.aljazeera.net. Watch a compilation of excerpts at http://www.vimeo.com/29040905. " target="_blank">here: Watch a compilation of excerpts here:

  • You might have previously heard about the local Indian government and railway ministries being reluctant to allow EON Productions to shoot Bond 23 in their country this winter and the back-up plan was always to move production to South Africa if an agreement couldn’t be reached.

    Now it’s confirmed the Plan B is moving ahead with India Take One Productions confirming to The Times of India (via MI6-HQ) newspaper over the weekend that an official EON note dated Thursday 22nd December had ruled out plans to film in India. Pravesh Sahni says; “Bond will not be coming to India,”

    However India Railways, widely believed to be the last hold-up on Bond 23 access in India, told the same newspaper via their executive director Chandralekha Mukherjee;

    “We’d given them all the permissions. They wanted to shoot in the Sabarmati yard and had asked to shoot on two gauges – broad gauge and meter gauge – and they wanted these for seven-hour stretches every day for seven days in a row, and we’d agreed. All had been worked out. They also wanted to shoot between Mumbai and Goa on the hero train, and wanted a special shot where a motorcycle from a bridge would jump on to a train, and the coach on which he’d jump needed to be reinforced, and we agreed.”

    “The matter was finalised by September 13. But a week later, we were informed that after an international discussion, the production team decided not to shoot in India. We’ve been very cooperative with them. We had ourselves hoped that the movie would be shot here,” she confirmed.

    Certainly one or two plot details to be garnered from the above though in truth we were already aware of the 738km Konkan Railway along and it’s stunning scenery that it was hoped would house some particularly memorable moments;

    So instead it will be South Africa that will house much of Bond 23, with also a stint in Istanbul and Pinewood Studios in the UK. Production will begin in the winter for an October 2012 release in the UK!

    Expectations are really high for this next instalment and it would seem that Bond 23 is shaping up to be an exciting prospect which we know has a title but EON are waiting for their usual press conference before they will unveil. With an a-list director on board (Sam Mendes), Craig well established in the lead role, Javier Bardem looking likely as the villain with Ralph Fiennes in a major role (could he be Blofeld?) and a welcome return for classic characters (Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny leading to the hope that Q might be back) things are shaping up very nicely indeed.

  • How to Steal 2 Million, South Africa director Charlie Vundla’s compelling debut feature film, has been selected for this year’s Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the US. The festival runs from 22 to 29 September 2011, and is held in Austin, Texas.

    "Fantastic Fest is a hugely popular film festival so this is excellent news for everyone involved in the movie," says Jeremy Nathan, producer of How to Steal 2 Million. "The festival specialises in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. The organisers aim to choose only the best international films, so their selection is a wonderful accolade for How to Steal 2 Million, and especially for Charlie Vundla as this is his first feature film."

    In the tradition of the heist movie, How to Steal 2 Million has an intricate plot woven around the characters' attempts to formulate a plan, carry it out, and escape with the goods.

    The film tells the story of Jack (Menzi Ngubane), who has spent five long years in jail after being arrested for robbery. His partner in crime and best friend Twala (Rapulana Seiphemo) never got caught and Jack never talked. When he is released, Jack decides to go straight. He wants to start a construction business, but after being rejected for a loan he must find another way to get money. An opportunity presents itself when Twala suggests they rob a home where the take is worth R2 million. The film also stars Terry Pheto, Hlubi Mboya and John Kani.

    According to Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution, How to Steal 2 Million performed 15% better than Jerusalema did on its opening weekend. "This is most encouraging. The film's attendances were also 7% higher at Ster Kinekor cinemas this past Tuesday than on opening Friday. That means word-of-mouth is working and that audiences are responding well. It's great to see that South African films are becoming increasingly popular."

  • A historical saga that traces the saga of the Bambara kingdom in the seventeenth century, this is the crazy bet of director Boubacar Sidibe, with ‘the Kings of Ségou‘ («Les rois de Ségou» in French).
    .
    This series of seven episodes of 78 minutes each, broadcast on TV5 Monde last July, is now available free on the French-language channel Web TV since Sept. 2, 2011 according to RFI. The saga takes the viewer on the steps of the “Bambara”, which dominated the region of present-day Mali between the seventeenth and nineteenth century.

    The stated goal of this production (deliberately simplified) is to: "give Africans the opportunity to see through the screen their past staged in an attractive and understandable way for the broader audience," says the director. It is also an opportunity to learn about the kingdom of Segou’s war customs beyond the borders of Mali.

    To write this history, we had to make a long archival work, but also meet many griots (traditional African poet-musicians) and specialized historians:"You know, the themes of many series focus on African ideas and realities. Far from despising the entertainment and intellectual enrichment aspects that these series provide, I feel, however as frustrated as the viewers of my continent, "says Boubacar Sidibé.

    Over the episodes, we discover the endless power struggles of legendary warriors, as Biton Coulibaly, founder of the kingdom of Segou, or the predictions of fetish who prepare their revenge..."The insult that cannot be cured in the blood. The challenge should be faced even if it is unreasonable and if the party is losing, "says the director.

    The shooting, which took place in the forest of Tienfala, a few kilometers from Bamako, the capital, and in the village of N'gami near Segou, lasted ten weeks, with the participation of 250 actors and extras from Mali.

    The series - a co-production of ORTM (TV channel Malian general public), Brico Films and Sarama Films - has cost 220 million CFA francs (335,000 Euros).

    Watch the series here:

  • SES announced today that Canal+ Overseas, the international subsidiary of French Pay-TV operator Canal+, has contracted multiple transponders and signed a long-term agreement for its subsidiary CANAL+ AFRIQUE in order to distribute the CANAL+/CANALSAT pay-TV bouquet of channels in Africa over the SES-4 satellite at the orbital location of 338 degrees East.

    CANAL+/CANALSAT is the first French-speaking pay-TV offer in Africa, distributed by CANAL+ AFRIQUE. The new contract with SES includes renewed and additional capacity and will allow Canal+ Overseas to extend its offer and migrate the pay-TV bouquet from the current NSS-7 spacecraft to the upcoming SES-4 satellite, without changing the orbital position and without a repointing of customer dishes. It ensures the long-term availability of the entire Canal+ Overseas programme line-up, standard definition as well as high-definition, via a single orbital position and to all of Canal+ Overseas’ target markets in Africa.

    The 338 degrees East position is one of the most highly demanded orbital locations for trans-Atlantic traffic serving Africa, Europe and the Americas. SES-4 has been built by Space System/Loral and will be launched on board an ILS/Proton booster from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, in the fourth quarter of this year. The massive spacecraft carries 52 C-band transponders as well as 72 Ku-band transponders and as such will be the largest satellite in the SES satellite fleet. SES-4 will replace the NSS-7 spacecraft, releasing this satellite for new missions at other orbital positions.

    States Ferdinand Kayser, Chief Commercial Officer of SES: “We are delighted to offer Canal+ Overseas a new satellite at 338 degrees East and extend our existing collaboration. This orbital location is already a well-established SES neighborhood over Africa and will offer our customers considerable incremental capacity for growth with SES-4. As Canal+ Overseas aims to increase the number of channels and services on offer and plans to introduce new HDTV services, SES will be pleased to provide the required state-of-the-art satellite capacity optimally covering all target markets in Africa.”
    For further information please contact:
    Markus Payer
    SES
    Tel + 352 710 725 500
    markus.payer@ses.com

  • TV5MONDE unveiled that the international TV channel is ahead of international channels in Togo, both in terms of reputation and audience.

    In the Togolese capital, 75% of people know TV5MONDE. They are 34% of the local population who watch the channel at least once a week (weekly cumulative audience) and 16% every day (daily cumulative audience).

    TV5MONDE consolidates its leading position in international channel in Togo with the excellent results of hearing, in a market wide open to local offers that make the country one of the most competitive in Francophone Africa.

    •    Survey Face-to-face conducted by TNS Sofres according to the method of quotas of 16 to 22 June 2011 with a sample of 1134 people aged 15 and over living in Lome.

  • URTI is holding its 63rd general Assembly of URTI and the Radio and Television Commissions in Paris, France, on Friday, October 21st 2011, at the invitation of France Télévisions, as an observer.

    There is also a programme of other events organised in partnership with the Le Radio fair, on Thursday, October 20th, around the prize-giving of the 23rd International URTI Radio Grand Prix (inc;uding a conference, official ceremony, and dinner dance).

    You will find the whole programme and the registration form in the enclosed documents, and also on its site here, where you will be able to register and get all the practical information.

    Participants are asked you to book your room as soon as possible in order to have the negotiated prices by mentioning the meeting organized by URTI. Please finalise your registration (on the Web site or by e-mail/fax) before September 30th 2011.

  • M-Net, the South African terrestrial pay-television channel, has sub-licensed the rights of its AfricaMagic content to international distributor THEMA TV. In a groundbreaking initiative, this deal will see a selection of AfricaMagic’s Nollywood content dubbed into the French language for the first time for television broadcast in Francophone Africa. 

    AfricaMagic is one of M-Net’s most popular entertainment channels, dedicated to broadcasting African content including drama series, documentaries and soaps. The channel also airs a vast selection of Nollywood films – formally known as the Nigerian video feature film industry – and is Africa’s largest movie industry in terms of the number of movies produced per year.

    Mike Dearham, Head of Sales & Library, M-Net says: “This deal marks an important milestone in M-Net’s growth in the global television market and supports our dedication to the development of Africa’s content industry. Nollywood is an African institution, which has showcased the continent’s rich pool of talent and creativity since its creation in the 1960s. We look forward to working with THEMA TV to present this content to new audiences, encouraging the expansion of the African production industry across the continent.”

    François Thiellet, CEO, THEMA TV adds: “We are very happy to announce our strong partnership with M-Net, reinforcing our strategy for the growth of the African media industry. With this new agreement added to the already existing creation of a SVOD offer entitled Films d’Afrique, THEMA TV is recognised as the provider of TV content for French-speaking Africans.”

    With a large portfolio, THEMA is the right partner to provide linear TV channels as well as content for VOD (SVOD) services.

    Major International Media Groups such as Digiturk, MBC Group, ART, ROTANA, ZEE Networks trust THEMA to handle the distibution of their channels, that is why THEMA has become the first provider of Ethnic TV channels in Europe, particularly in France, with the successful launch of "The African Bouquet", "The German Bouquet" and the "Indian Ocean Bouquet".

    Thema conveyed to Balancing Act that via this deal, Thema TV has acquired a selection of AfricaMagic programmes - 750 hours so far - with  rights for francophone Africa and Europe - namely France, Belgium and Switzerland. The programmes’ translation will be a large investment for which the company needs to make a return.

    Balancing Act’s Sylvain Béletre interviewed M-Net, Thema TV and analysed the deal’s impact.

    “M-Net’s AfricaMagic TV Channel is the African general entertainment channel showcases home-grown entertainment produced in Africa, by Africans, for Africans, mainly Nollywood content. AfricaMagic is recognised as one of the leading channels on the DStv bouquet and has been well-supported by the African audience and the advertising industry.”

    Mnet commented: “Africa Magic is one of DStv’s most popular entertainment channels. Dedicated to television broadcast of compelling African content, the channel showcases Nigerian films as well as filmed content from the rest of the continent. Africa Magic was launched on Dec 1st 2003 and began transmitting a mere 7 hours of content each day. Currently, the channel has a 24 hour uninterrupted broadcast of full length feature films, monthly soaps, drama series, magazine programmes, talk shows and documentaries. In 2008, the station launched Africa Magic Plus which differentiated itself because of its adoption of a broader Pan-African approach to programming. Channel growth further prompted a flowering of additional channels that catered for culturally (and language) specific African communities inclusive of Yoruba, Hausa and Swahili speaking groups.

    Juniper Musa, Channel Manager for Africa Magic & Magic World Africa said “The Channel through the years has continued to grow bigger and stronger, it has for several years been on the top performing channels across Africa. Fulfilling its promise to entertain its’ viewers by always dishing out fantastic and great TV series, Family Dramas and Reality shows. We can confidently say that the channel has become a part  and a true reflection of the African people and culture.”

    Beletre adds that “Thema TV now needs to decide what it will do with the programmes, whether these will be used to build a linear channel which could possibly be integrated in its ‘Bouquet Africain’, sold to francophone TV stations in Africa or Europe, made available on its SVOD service or on some third party VoD platform.

    This partnership could have a positive perspective on Mnet’s international visibility and on Thema’s packaging value because it provides a more compelling set of African content to meet the African diaspora’s demand in francophone market.

    So far, Thema has successfully launched its bouquet in France and since May 2011 via Numéricable Brussels in Belgium.

    However, the market impact of this deal will be moderate as only a few will be able to afford the bouquet, unless Thema TV manages to broadcast some of the programmes via free-to-air media.”

  • The award-winning gangster thriller feature film "Viva Riva!", directed by Congolese Djo Tunda wa Munga, is set to open in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland on 7 October 2011 and in several parts of the USA .

    The film has won several awards, including the inaugural 2011 MTV Movie Award for Best African Film, six African Movie Academy Awards and best feature from the 2011 Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. The international co-production also screened at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

    Gangster thriller

    Shot on location in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in both French and Lingala, "Viva Riva!" is a thriller about a small-time thug, Riva, who returns to his energy-starved hometown of Kinshasa after stealing a truckload of fuel from an Angolan crime lord named Cesar.

    His bounty is worth a fortune in the city which has run out of petrol. Not only is the sharply dressed Cesar hot on his trail, but Riva also runs into trouble with the tough mob boss Azor, husband of the beautiful Nora, a woman he meets in a nightclub.

    "This is a high-definition portrait of urban Africa that is rarely seen on the big screen," says co-producer Steven Markovitz of Cape Town based Big World Cinema. "Rich with colour and movement, Munga's film takes audiences on a journey through crowded city streets and steamy nightclubs. He captures an atmosphere evocative of the DRC as it is today."

    Behind the scenes

    Congo-born R&B singer Patsha Bay Mukuna stars as Riva. Making her screen debut as the beautiful night club denizen Nora, is Paris-based actress Manie Malone. Cesar is played by Hoji Fortuna, an Angolan born actor who lives in New York. Diplome Amekindra takes on the role of Azor.

    The film's runaway success is a coup for Djo Tunda wa Munga who spent his childhood in Kinshasa and completed his schooling in Belgium, where he later studied film. He has directed several short films and documentaries. He also wrote Viva Riva! his first feature film, and secured finance for the film from France's Canal Plus. It's the first film shot in the Congo in 25 years after the industry was shut down by former president Mobutu Sese Seko.

    "What's really exciting is that we're witnessing the arrival of an electrifying new filmmaker," says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution. "This is crime drama as it's never been seen before. It's an accomplished piece of filmmaking that has rightly been recognised as something new and special. We're really happy to be able to show it to South African audiences."

    Viva Riva is to be distributed by Indigenous Film Distribution and set to be released in Kenya and Uganda on 1 October 2011, followed by Mozambique, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe and the DRC. The film releases in Nigeria and Ghana on 1 December 2011.

    directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga
    starring Patsha Bay Mukuna, Manie Malone, Hoji Fortuna, Marlene Longange, Diplome Amekindra, Alex Herabo

    Riva is a small time operator who has just returned to his hometown of Kinshasa, Congo after a decade away with a major score: a fortune in hijacked gasoline. Wads of cash in hand and out for a good time, Riva is soon entranced by beautiful night club denizen Nora, the kept woman of a local gangster. Into the mix comes an Angolan crime lord relentlessly seeking the return of his stolen shipment of gasoline. Director Djo Tunda Wa Munga’s Kinshasa is a seductively vibrant, lawless, fuel-starved sprawl of shantytowns, gated villas, bordellos and nightclubs and Riva is its perfect embodiment.

    Awards
    2011 MTV Movie Awards – Best African Film

    Winner of 6 African Movie Academy Awards 2011

    Best Film
    Best Director – Djo Tunda Wa Munga
    Best Supporting Actor – Hoji Fortuna
    Best Supporting Actress – Marlene Longange
    Best Cinematography
    Best Production Design
    Official Selection – 2010 Toronto International Film Festival
    Official Selection – 2011 Berlin International Film Festival
    Official Selection – 2011 South By Southwest Film Festival
    Winner – Best Feature Film – 2011 Pan African Film Festival

    Press Reactions
    « Four stars…One of the best neo-noirs from anywhere in recent memory. » – Eric Hynes, Time Out NY
    « Frenetic, sleazy and entertaining as all hell. » – Alison Willmore, The Onion
    « An exciting new filmmaking talent. » – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

    Technical Information
    Production Year: 2010
    Release Date: 10 Jun 2011
    Country of Production: Democratic Republic of Congo
    Language: Lingala, French, with English subtitles
    Running Time: 96
    Screen Ratio: 1.85:1
    Sound: Dolby Digital
    Color
    Rating: R

    For more, go to the official site:
    YouTube trailer:

  • International co-productions are an essential tool for the South African film and television industry. They not only allow the local industry to pool financing, but also attract creative talent with those from partner countries to make film and television products that enjoy the status of national productions in each of the respective countries.

    The NFVF reviews the performance and impact of the treaties annually, however starting from 2011 the review will be done twice a year with the first report released at the end of July 2011 and the second at the end of the financial year (March).This review is aimed at assessing the contribution of co-productions treaties to the entire South African film industry looking at the following factors; job creation, budgets and shooting locations and sources of funding, while also determining if the treaties meet the objectives they were signed for.

    South Africa has signed co-production treaties with six countries; Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany France and Australia, although the SA/Australia agreement is not yet operative.

    A total of 6 projects were submitted for a review at the end of July 2011. The SA/Germany has been the most successful in terms of production volumes and the most active partnership for both countries.

    The review reveals that for the first six months of 2011, a total of 4 projects were submitted from the Germany partnership with a total budget contribution of R111,417 465.00. South Africa contributed R41,172,918.00 and the remainder was sourced from Germany.

    A total of R57,549,996 was contributed by South African investors, and R14 398 327 was raised from the Department of Trade and Industry through the Film and television incentive scheme. Another total amount of R43,145,697 was sourced from private investors.

    Television was the most preferred format of production as 3 projects were TV series and 2 feature films and once off made for TV format was produced, and 3 projects were drama 2 family and 1 was a sci-fi.

    A total of 246 crew members were utilised for all the 6 projects and 152 of those were South Africans with 188 days spend shooting in South Africa.

    From the review it is apparent that the gender and race gap seems to be closing as there is a narrow margin between female and male participation and the participation between blacks and whites also reflects a narrow margin.

    For more information contact the NFVF/ Tsietsi Themane or call 0027 11 483 0880.

  • The African Union (AU) will, from 17 to 20 September 2011, participate in the Pan-African Conference on Access to Information (PACAI) in Cape Town, South Africa. This major event will bring together the cream of journalism in Africa and commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration on freedom of expression.

    On the sidelines of the Conference, the AU, as a PACAI partner committed to promoting freedom of expression, access to information and the practice of independent journalism, will, on 19 September, launch the Pan-African Media Network (PAMEN).

    The PAMEN platform is an African Union initiative, run by the African Forum for Media Development of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) and the African Media Initiative (AMI). It will operate as a forum for exchange of information and practices among media professionals. It also aims to promote media development across Africa by fostering synergies between the initiatives of AU Member States, international institutions and development partners, including the media themselves. The network will pool projects for media development in Africa. On the whole, the PAMEN will serve as a reliable source of information for the AU and its partners to enable them to evaluate and monitor the changing media landscape in Africa. The PAMEN will also be a strategic tool that will help the AU to formulate better policies on aid and support to the media on the continent.

  • 23 September 2011: A government-imposed ban on media organizations reporting on the recent shooting that killed 39 people in Burundi has been broken by five radio stations and a private television channel.

    Information Minister Concilie Nibigira meanwhile said it would investigate the breach, saying the government's "decision must be respected."

    Victims of a massacre carried out in a bar in the Burundian town of Gatumba on 18 September 2011. While the scale of this attack was unprecedented in recent years, killings are reported almost daily in Burundi.

    The media outlets aired discussions on Sunday night's massacre at Gatumba, west of the capital Bujumbura, in a stronghold of the former National Liberation Forces (FNL) rebels whose leader Agathon Rwasa has been blamed for a recent spate of attacks.

    Burundi police said some of the attackers had come from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sources said FNL rebels, who are suspected of being behind the shooting, have a base in the east of the neighbouring country, where they have teamed up with Mai Mai groups. The government had announced a ban on media coverage of the attack inquiry.

    The small country is still struggling to emerge from 13 years of civil war that erupted in 1993 and left some 300,000 people dead. The escalating violence has raised fears of a resumption of all-out conflict.

  • The African Union (AU) took part on 17, September 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa, at the official opening ceremony of the first edition of the Pan-African Conference on Access to Information (PACAI) and the 15th meeting of Highway Africa. These two events are of paramount importance to media development in Africa.

    These two major pan-African conferences are historical for African media, given the role that media and social networks have played in the recent uprisings in North Africa and which resulted in unexpected political transitions and the establishment of institutions compliant with the demand for transparency and governance by the people. The ultimate goal of PACAI is to launch a continent-wide instrument to advocate for access to information through the African Platform on Access to Information (APAI).

    Mrs. Julia Dolly Joiner, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the AU, in her message delivered to participants on behalf of the Chairperson of the AUC, Dr. Jean Ping, emphasized the commitment of the AU to promote access to information as part of freedom of expression and as a cornerstone of the inalienable freedoms and rights. In this context, Mrs. Joiner stressed that access to information is not only the case of the media, it should also challenge the African citizens who are the primary actors in participatory democracy. “Access to information is not only important for human dignity but also for participation, accountability and democracy (…). Access to information is a human right” she emphasized.

    Africa is witnessing an unprecedented moment because of the technological revolution introduced by social media. However, Mrs. Joiner said that, despite the promises and progress already made on freedom of the press, expression and access to information, many cloudy areas remain. “In the post Windhoek Declaration era, (…) more still has to be done in order for media to play its rightful role in our African societies”. The AU has enshrined the right to information and freedom of expression in many of its texts. In accordance with these instruments, Mrs. Joiner said the AU Commission is committed to working more closely with African civil society organizations to promote greater access to information

    Commissioner Joiner hoped that the final declaration of the conference will be a strong instrument in accordance with the texts of the AU relating to the “right to development”. “It is the AU’s expectation, that the coming three days will enable our gathering to come up with ……… a declaration (…), not with the objective to name, blame and shame, but to assist our States in promoting access to information as a right to all Africans,” she said. (The speech by Commissioner Joiner is available here:)

    Launch of the Pan-African Media Network

    The Pan African Media Network (PAMEN), an AU initiative administered by the African Forum for Media Development of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), the African Initiative Media (AMI), will be launched at the margins of the PACAI on Monday September 19. A workshop will be dedicated to the effective implementation and monitoring of PAMEN on the same day at12:45.

    At the opening ceremony of the PACAI and Highway Africa, all the speakers welcomed the support of the AU and its commitment to promoting access to information, a fundamental human right.

  • Middle Eastern and North African pay TV platform Orbit Showtime Network is launching a digital platform that will allow subscribers to watch programming on tablet computers and smartphones.

    The operator will launch My OSN later this year or early next year and will offer a catch up service and some channels streamed online.

    David Butorac, the chief executive of the Orbit Showtime Network, said: “You’d be able to catch up with your favourite series online. It’s a big step forward. We will expand the OSN experience to be across multiple platforms – so not just the broadcast platform that there is today, but also across tablets, smartphones and online.”

    The platform operator, is, separately, launching a new general entertainment channel OSN Yahala! HD. The high definition channel, which will launch over satellite in the Middle East and across Africa, will air a mix of entertainment and drama series and Hollywood movies.

  • New SA broadcast challenger edges closer to launch.

    Mobile TV, the company planning to introduce mobile television services in South Africa using Korea's digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) standard, says it could be ready to start broadcasting commercially within three months in Gauteng.

    It is also planning to introduce SA's first digital audio broadcasting (DAB) radio stations - seen potentially as an eventual replacement to FM radio - as well as "visual radio" services, which offer visuals over normal radio broadcasts.

    Mobile TV founder and chairman Mothobi Mutloatse says the company is itching to get a commercial licence from the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) so it can launch services. It currently has a 12-month test licence, which expires at the end of November 2011. It's been running a pilot broadcast from the Sentech tower in Brixton, Johannesburg.

    Continue reading the full story here:

  • Looking for the next NFVF CEO:

    Applications from suitably qualified candidates are invited to apply for the vacant position of Chief Executive Officer.

    The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is a statutory body mandated by an act of parliament (the National Film and Video Foundation Act 73 of 1997) to spearhead the equitable and development of the South African Film and Video Industry. The NFVF seeks to appoint a suitably qualified candidate for the following position:

    Position: Chief Executive Officer (3-5 year renewable contract)
    Reporting to: NFVF Council

    To be responsible for the management of the affairs of the Council of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and to ensure that objectives of the NFVF are achieved, in accordance with the requirements of the NFVF Act No 73 of 1997. The incumbent must also have an understanding of government's key priorities, processes and governance. Have a broad understanding of the film and video sector and how film can make contributions to job creation, social cohesion and nation building.

    Key Responsibilities

    •Developing and managing strategic plan and budget
    •Reporting to the Council and its committee on projects of the organisation
    •Keeping the Council abreast with all international developments and best practice
    •Perform all duties in accordance with corporate governance practice and principles
    •Ensure that the NFVF its mission, programs and services are consistently presented in a strong and positive manner to stakeholders
    •Develops and maintains effective strategic relations with key stakeholders
    •Oversee the design, promotion and delivery of quality projects and services
    Qualifications and Experience

    Related tertiary qualification; post-graduate qualification will be advantageous; minimum of 10 years experience in senior management and executive leadership position; in-depth knowledge of the film and video industry and all legislation related to the sector; strong business acumen; strategic thinking and alignment; persuasion, negotiation and communication skills are imperative; high level of emotional intelligence and control; excellent people management skills; ability to network and engage with all stakeholders; obtain buy-in on crucial matters affecting the Council; highest integrity and adherence to corporate governance; ensure transformation and empowerment of the film industry.

    Market related package will be negotiated with successful candidate. If you have not heard from the NFVF by end October 2011, please note that your application has been unsuccessful. The NFVF applies the Employment Equity Act in its recruitment process and strives for a staff complement that is representative of South Africa.

    Applications from suitably qualified candidates are invited to apply and must include abridged curriculum vitae, via email to Rebecca Dube on rebecca@gpresourcing.co.za or fax to 0027 86 684 4057 by no later than 27 September 2011.

  • Call for South Africa and Australia Co-production of Films

    The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), hereby calls for applications for productions to be made in terms of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic South Africa and the Government of Australia concerning the Co-production of Films.

    The agreement came into effect on the 22nd August 2011 after all the necessary formalities between the two governments were concluded. The agreement was signed in South Africa on 18 June 2010.

    For the purposes of administration of the certification process, the designated competent authorities are the NFVF in South Africa and Screen Australia in Australia.

    Article 1 of the Agreement defines a film as any type of format including but not limited to feature films, television and animation but does not include an item which falls outside the applicable laws in South Africa and Australia.

    The NFVF advises producers to lodge their applications for an advance ruling at least 8 weeks before production to allow for further requests and interrogation of supporting documentations accompanying the applications. The signed copy of the agreement is available for downloading on the NFVF website.

    For any enquiries about the requirement of this treaty and other general co-productions contact Terrence Khumalo at 0027 11 483 0880.


    Call for social innovations across Africa

    Orange launches the African Social Venture Prize. The project aims at promoting social innovation for development, thanks to information and communication technologies, through financial and management support to new businesses rewarding ventures using technology for development purposes

    The African Social Venture Prize will reward three projects or enterprises addressing needs of the ‘bottom of pyramid’ market in Africa through technology.

    The digital projects range from e-health and mobile banking to digital and mobile applications for education or agriculture. They therefore represent huge opportunities for social development.

    An initiative part of a larger Innovation strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility policy

    Orange has commercial operations in 17 countries in Africa. This project is at the crossroads of its Corporate Social Responsibility policy and its Innovation strategy. By promoting social ventures, Orange aims at raising awareness about the role that Information and Communication Technologies can play in development.

    Prizes:

    The 3 winners will receive a financial grant (25K€, 15K€, 10K€) and they will also benefit from a 6-month mentoring by management experts.

    How to participate?

    Participants, regardless of nationality, must be more than 21 years old, can either be students, entrepreneurs or companies in activity since June 2008. The businesses or projects submitted are required to target at least one of the African countries of Orange’s footprint. Their core business has to use technology in an innovative way to enhance living conditions of local populations.

    The African countries of Orange's footprint are Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Uganda, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Botswana.

    Application will close on 30th. September2011.

    Contact : orange.socialventure@starafrica.com