The African audiovisual industry experiencing a mid-life crisis


The African audiovisual industry is currently experiencing a genuine mid-life crisis.

The African continent has never before produced this many images of itself (drama series, documentaries and even news programmes), a phenomenon generated by new digital tools, audience choice and a proliferation of new broadcasters. However, the programmes produced are still technically weak, which reduces their circulation potential in countries outside Africa. This recent momentum has raised much hope, but also presents a major challenge: a large-scale training programme to produce enough qualified personnel to develop these new positions and boost levels of technical expertise.

In this regard, supporting the production and broadcasting of African programmes constitutes a priority component of CFI’s work on the continent.
“Aside from cooperating with African news professionals and the media, CFI also works in the field of drama on a daily basis, with the aim of enhancing the skills of all those involved in making programmes, so as to improve the end result.

Our training programme “L’Afrique en series” illustrates this approach in practice, ” explains Etienne Fiatte, managing director of CFI.

CFI is one of the forces behind the growing momentum of the television series industry in sub-Saharan Africa.

FESPACO, the pan-African film and television festival taking place in Ougadougou in Burkina Faso until 1 March, saw CFI thrust the spotlight on its television drama training course “L’Afrique en series”, which runs for a two-year period with the backing of ACP cultures+.

In July 2012, CFI launched “L’Afrique en series”, a training course designed to improve the quality of African television dramas by means of professionalising key technical roles (such as direction, image, sound, editing and mixing). Objective: for the best African series to achieve the international standards demanded by the field of global broadcasting.

“L’Afrique en series” also aims to help build a local scene for the audiovisual industry and to instil the sharing of good practices between African professionals whilst giving young trainees an opportunity to experience production at ground level.

The programme will be run over a two year period and will comprise 12 training workshops that will benefit around one hundred technicians in three countries: Ghana, Cameroon and Burkina Faso.

CFI is currently running the third and fourth sessions of "L'Afrique en séries" in Ougadougou.  After mixing and frames, CFI experts will then explore the filming process in greater detail: The key figures involved will be Christophe Andréi, director of “Plus belle la vie” as well as “Maguy” and "Marc et Sophie”, and Mathieu Danielo, assistant director on "Plus belle la vie", "Le jour où tout a basculé" and on several dramas. The fourth session of the training will consist of an interim review workshop.

« This programme is CFI's response to a call for proposals from ACP cultures+, coordinated by the Secretariat of the ACP States and financed by the European Union. ”The CFI has committed €500,000 to the initiative, €350,000 of which is financed by ACP. CFI has already worked with ACP cultures+, back in 2011, for the launch of the "Journée de la Télévision Africaine". This initiative has since become independent and been made permanent without European support.
This will be its third year, and will take place on 8 March, live from Tananarive in Madagascar,” concluded Etienne Fiatte.