All posts by Gary

Showmax employs Working Wives

Working Wives centres on a group of Harare women

MultiChoice Group-owned South African SVoD service Showmax has picked up Zimbabwean scripted series Working Wives, produced last year by Ndiani Studios.

Working Wives is a 13-episode dramedy inspired by the Real Housewives franchise that follows the lives of a group of Harare women from a Millennial perspective. It also explores the challenges faced by a modern African woman tied to tradition in an urban world.

The series was adapted from a blog created by Sharon Bwanya and was produced by Tendayi Nyeke. It stars Tendaiishe Chitima, Dikelo Mamiala, Tendai Nguni, Nyasha Grace Munangatire, Maritawana Dhliwayo, Chipo Mugovewedenga Chikara and Megan Victor-Carelse.

“The series is an exciting pan-African collaboration shot between Zimbabwe and South Africa, starring a crew and talent from both countries in a time that sees borders fall as far as storytelling and viewing experience is concerned. Brace yourselves for a comedy drama because as crazy as life gets, it’s easier to swallow the hard pill with a good laugh,” said Nyeke.

Ndiani Studios launched Working Wives independently in 2020, with episodes available over the web via sites including Vimeo, and is available to air to international audiences with Showmax access. The series is distributed by Cote Ouest Audiovisuel.

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M-Net orders Goalpost, Quizzical drama

South African pay TV network M-Net has ordered a new police series titled Detective Cooper from Australia’s Goalpost Pictures and local prodco Quizzical Pictures.

Malla Nunn

The series is an adaptation of Malla Nunn’s novel A Beautiful Place To Die, part of the Detective Emmanuel Cooper series of books set in South Africa.

Detective Cooper is a white detective in the apartheid era who is forced to conceal his mixed-race heritage.

Goalpost initially optioned the rights to four of the novels last April, while Quizzical Pictures is known for award-winning series Intersexions.

James McNamara and Amy Jephta have adapted the book for TV, while Goalpost’s Sarah Christie is development producer.

The drama is executive produced by Nimrod Geva for Quizzical and by Kylie du Fresne and Rosemary Blight for Goalpost.

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Netflix lines up more Nigerian movies

Global streaming service Netflix has lined up a number of Nigerian titles to launch this month.

They include crime caper flick Ojukokoro (arriving on Netflix on April 9), street hustler documentary Awon Boyz (April 14), adventure drama Doctor Bello (April 16), action thriller Oloibiri (April 21), romantic drama This Lady Called Life (April 23) and survival flick Seven (April 30).

Ojukokoro follows the story of a cash-strapped manager in a money-laundering petrol station who decides to rob the petrol station that employs him. It is directed by Dare Olaitan, produced by Olufemi Ogunsanwo and stars Linda Ejiofor, Wale Ojo, Zainab Balogun, Oyetoro Hafiz and others.

Awon Boyz is a 38-minute documentary exec produced by Steve Babaeko. It provides a picture of life for people living on the streets and follows the story of eight ‘area boys’ in Lagos.

Doctor Bello is directed by Tony Abulu and tells the story of a cancer specialist who tries to save a seven-year-old boy. It stars Genevieve Nnaji, Rachael Oniga, Stephanie Okereke-Linus and Femi Brainard.

Oloibiri is an action thriller directed by Curtis Graham and looks at how oil companies and government agencies exploit newly discovered oil in the historic town of Oloibiri. Nollywood stars Olu Jacobs and Richard Mofe Damijo feature.

This Lady Called Life tells the story of an ambitious cook who aspires to become a chef despite the fact she is a young, struggling single mother. It stars Jemima Osunde, Bisola Aiyeola, Paul Utomi, Asaah Samuel and Tuke Morgan.

Lastly, Seven follows a rich and irresponsible man who has to survive seven days in Lagos neighbourhood Ajegunle or lose his inheritance. It stars Sadiq Daba, Richard Mofe Damijo, Bimbo Manuel and Daddy Showkey.

Netflix has stepped up its activities in Nigeria recently, not only licensing Nollywood and other locally produced movies but also commissioning original Nigerian films.

These include Òlòtūré from Ebonylife, Citation from Golden Effects Pictures and King of Boys II, the sequel to Kemi Adetiba’s 2018 crime thriller.

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MultiChoice debuts new channels

African pay TV operator MultiChoice has launched two new channels on its platform: WildEarth and OneZed.

WildEarth airs on channel 183 and connects people with nature through live broadcasts and interactive experiences from the wilderness. It also focuses on live safari shows from wildlife locations including the Greater Kruger, the Kalahari, the Maasai Mara and other nature reserves.

Graham Wallington, co-founder and CEO at WildEarth, said: “WildEarth is all about sharing nature with everyone so we can all see why we must conserve our beautiful home.”

Cecil Sunkwa-Mills, MultiChoice’s MD for Ghana, added: “It’s important for us that our customers always have access to the best possible content available. We will continue to source the best possible content as we strive to bolster the channels on offer on our platform.”

OneZed is a general entertainment and family channel that blends a mix of talkshows, dramas, music shows and documentaries. It airs on DStv 172 and seeks to promote African talent.

Gus Banda, MD of MultiChoice Malawa, said: “This is one of the ways in which we continue to show how we are putting our customers at the heart of everything we do as a business and we will continue to add more value for their viewing pleasure.”

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Teachers Naija S2 begins registrations

Nigerian reality TV show Teachers Naija has begun contestant registrations for its upcoming second season.

The show’s aim is to create “a paradigm shift” in the way teachers are perceived in the country, according to the producers, in the hope of making them first-class citizens, just like in more developed countries. It also aims to give teachers the right recognition and support they deserve.

Contestants will be screened and only 20 will be invited to compete for the grand prize and other consolation prizes. Teachers aged between 25 and 40 who are looking for a chance to become a millionaire and also an opportunity for international exposure can register here before April 10.

The show is organised by Abuja-based Anub Media in partnership with the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, as well as commercial partners 9Mobile, Topaz, Jumbrox and Prixair.

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FG to fine Nigerian brands for foreign ads

Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, is clamping down on brands that advertise during international football matches but not Nigerian ones.

Lai Mohammed

The minister has announced that Nigerian brands that run TV commercials during foreign football matches must advertise to an equal extent during Nigeria Premier League games or pay a N100,000 (US$262) fine each time the ad appears on television.

This development was revealed recently during an interview on NTA’s Good Morning Nigeria programme, according to South African blog TV With Thinus.

In the NTA show, Mohammed said: “Let’s assume you have brought in La Liga, and during the matches Guinness is advertised. We will compel you, we will compel Guinness to also advertise when we are playing a local league. That is the only way we can grow this industry, but as can be expected, we have had very few supporters.

“If you do an advert in South Africa, you put it on CNN International and we look at that advert and we see that the advert was not made in Nigeria but actually made in South Africa, or you see that five times a day on CNN, you pay half-a-million [naira] to us. The half-a-million will go to the content development fund.”

The minister added that this was in line with Nigeria’s previously amended Broadcasting Code, which states that ads for products meant for Nigerian audience must be made in Nigeria.

“What is common today is to see products made in Nigeria but the advert for those products are actually probably done in South Africa or in the US. So we amended the Code to say that if a product you want to advertise in Nigeria is made in Nigeria, grown in Nigeria or processed in Nigeria, then you must make sure that the advert is also produced in Nigeria,” said Mohammed.

“[Beer brand] Gulder is made and processed in Nigeria. If you go to South Africa to produce an advert which you are going to air to Nigerians because Nigerians consume Gulder, what we have amended the code to say that for every time that advert is aired in Nigeria, either on radio or television, you pay a fine of N100,000.

“We went further to say that if a company should invest US$1m in bringing the English Premier League [EPL] to Nigeria, that company must also be ready to spend 30% of that US$1m in producing a local content along the same line. In other words, if Maltina or Guinness decides to bring in EPL we have no problem with that. But they must also invest in covering our local league to the tune of 30% of what he has paid.”

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Accelerate, Morafa team on drama series

Digital lifestyle and entertainment platform Accelerate TV and award-winning Nigerian director Yemi ‘Film Boy’ Morafa are working on a new drama series scheduled to debut in the next couple of months.

Yemi Morafa

The as-yet untitled series is written by Cheta Chukwu and Dami Elebe and directed by Morafa and stars Mawuli Gavor, Joke Silva, Ibrahim Suleiman and Theresa Edem.

Although there is little information about the series, Nigerian streamer Accelerate TV said on Instagram: “Accelerate Drama Series… Coming soon.”

Moraya is best known for his work on original film Africa Magic’s Battleground and Something Wicked, a feature released in 2017. In 2018, his short film ENO was screened at the Africa International Film Festival and he directed thriller City of Bastards in 2019.

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Malawi moves to digital broadcasting

Malawi has switched from analogue to digital broadcasting following an analogue switch-off ceremony that was conducted by the minister of information, Gospel Kazako, at Liwonde in Machinga.

Gospel Kazako

According to the minister, the migration from analogue to digital will offer more opportunities for the broadcasting industry, leading to meaningful contribution to the country’s social and economic development.

“The digital migration will expand the broadcasting industry to allow new entrants and enhance competition in the industry,” Kazako added.

Charles Thangalimodzi, president of the Association of Content Providers in Malawi, said: “Digital broadcasting will help broadcasters offer high-quality service to viewers. However, the government should reduce taxes for broadcasting equipment as many television stations are already struggling with revenue generation.”

Benson Tembo, technical advisor at the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, added: “The digital platform will allow more than 20 broadcasters to operate on one frequency. The regulatory authority will provide multiple frequencies to different role players in the ICT industry. This will ensure information accessibility, which is the fundamental principle of democracy.”

Malawi has been confirmed as one of eight African countries that has moved from analogue to digital broadcasting, according to trade reports. The others include South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Morocco, Namibia and Egypt.

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AfrikaToon creates toon for TV5 Monde

AfrikaToon, an Ivorian animation studio that produces 2D and 3D toons, has created an animated children’s series titled Koka Kitoumbou.

The 13-episode series is for international broadcaster TV5 Monde and is aimed at kids aged three years and above. It follows the adventures of two characters: 10-year-old Malisha and her woollen doll, Rikitou.

Together, they face many trials and tribulations in search of the Koka Kitoumbou stone, a magical and powerful stone capable of transforming everything she touches into confectionery of all kinds.

The Koka Kitoumbou series is filled with magic, sweets and a fantastic universe and portrays human values such as love, tolerance, honesty and hard work.

Abidjan-based AfrikaToon is thought to be the first animation studio in French-speaking Africa to have produced an animated feature film. The company also operates SVoD service AfrikaToonTV.

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Netflix finds Happiness Ever After

Global streaming platform Netflix has lined up a South African drama titled Happiness Ever After as a sequel to Happiness is a Four-Letter Word, which debuted in 2016.

Directed by Thabang Moleya, the original film is based on Nozizwe Cynthia Jele’s award-winning book of the same title, which follows three women looking for happiness while maintaining images of success and acceptability.

Moleya returns to helm Happiness Ever After, which will continue the story from five years ago while including sisterhood and friendship, as well as a new romantic story arc.

Production will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, while the film will debut on Netflix later this year. It is produced by Bongiwe Selane (Nomalanga & the Witch) and Ayanda Halimana is the screenwriter.

Cast member Khanyi Mbau said: “The sequel lives independently from the book but obviously with some of the old characters returning to bring more drama and more sizzle in the sequel.”

Another cast member, Renate Stuurman, added: “We wanted to take audiences somewhere new. The story picks up five years later from where we left our characters and it is on all of us (the cast, the producers, the crew) to take our audiences somewhere new.”

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Showtime orders epic Zulu drama

Showtime in the US has greenlit a series about the Zulu Empire chief Shaka and his unlikely rise to power, uniting multiple tribes across vast stretches of Africa in the early 19th century.

Antoine Fuqua

Shaka: King of the Zulu Nation will be executive produced and directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) and was created and written by Olu Odebunmi and Tolu Awosika.

Produced by CBS Studios and Propagate, the hour-long drama follows one man’s personal journey from stigmatised childhood to warrior king.

Odebunmi and Awosika (The Terminal List) executive produce with Ben Silverman, Rodney Ferrell, Fuqua, Howard T Owens, Gregory Lipstone, Rodney Ferrell and Spencer Medof.

The series is also produced by Scott Greenberg, with Michael Callas producing for Fuqua Films. The series is distributed by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.

Gary Levine, co-president of entertainment at ViacomCBS-owned Showtime Networks alongside Jana Winograde, said: “Olu and Tolu have written such an exciting and emotional origin story of an African warrior hero. Antoine’s passion for this project, coupled with his formidable talent, promises an epic series unlike any other on television.”

Fuqua added: “This project offers a gateway to our past that is so critical to our global history and yet so often marginalized. We hope to bring this saga to life, all the tears, sweat and blood, all the joy and sorrow, all the intimacy and intensity and humanity. In short, we’re going to rock the world with this one.”

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Arise Media unveils global streamer

African media and luxury brand Arise Media Group has launched a streaming service called Ariseplay.

According to the company, Ariseplay is an entertainment platform designed for a global audience looking for “exciting, sharp and sagacious viewing choices” that are not available elsewhere.

The company has accrued US$100m seed funding raised through venture capital firms to launch the service. It has partnered with Sony Pictures, FilmOne and other studios to deliver behind-the-scene interviews in the run-up to the release of new movies.

Ariseplay can be accessed via the website or you can download the app on iOS, Google and Apple platforms.

Ariseplay brand and marketing lead Sakina Renneye, told Arise News: “This distinctive streaming service will be combined with linear channels in the UK, Europe and Africa which will enable the unparalleled delivery of hundreds of titles in different categories that include blockbusters, TV series, kids’ programming, comedy, live entertainment, as well as the best in fashion, music and much more. Ariseplay will be home entertainment like you’ve never seen it before.

“The Ariseplay App has been designed using best-in-class algorithms and AI technology that will automatically determine the options that suit each subscriber’s profile, alert them when there is new content, provide special playback options and optimised viewing to limit the amount of data required to stream. We are also offering a 30-day free trial to give our subscribers a chance to experience the magic.”

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KIAFF to showcase African animators

East Africa’s Kwetu International Animation Film Festival (KIAFF) is set to hold its first edition online.

Daniel Nyalusi

The two-day festival on April 2 and 3 is themed Between Art & Reality and will showcase over 50 animated films from around the world, ranging from features to shorts, TV commercials and films made by African animators in Africa.

Various awards will be presented in diverse categories in an online event on Monday April 5 live on Zoom. The awards jury comprises Martin Mhando (Tanzania), Fred Lyons (Australia) and Fibby Kioria (Kenya).

The film screenings will feature African animators, including Esther Kemi Gbadamosi (Drunken Dreams) from Nigeria, Brian Msafiri (From Here to Timbuktu) from Kenya, Nuha Suliman (Hadeda) from South Africa and Kwame Nyong’o (The Legend of Lwanda Magere) from Kenya.

There will also be a workshop from April 1 to 3, titled Writing for Animation taught by Anaeli Kihunrwa from MediaOne.

Speaking about the role that KIAFF will play in the African film environment, festival founder and director Daniel Nyalusi said: “Technology has changed and now it allows for animation filmmakers to make more films.

“Also there is a need for more initiatives in East Africa that helps/pushes animators to produce more films. Animated films have been loved and still loved by children and family, hence its audience is permanent so filmmakers must be more creative and feed the market.

“The Kwetu International Animation Film Festival will be the platform and the only place that will bring together animation filmmakers and stakeholders including the corporate companies that use animation for advertisement.

“KIAFF will be organised every year in April and will also organise training workshops throughout the year. The aim of KIAFF is to become the centre and the hub of the animation film industry in East Africa.”

KIAFF is supported by Goethe Institut Dar es Salaam, CDEA and NuellaTV. All films will be free to watch via NuellaTV for those in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan) and for those outside of Eastern Africa, a one-off ticket price of US$10 will give access to all the films over the two days.

Animation fans worldwide can click here to watch the films. The festival celebrates and explores contemporary African and international animation film culture with a unique programme of screenings and special events, which aim to increase audience knowledge and participation.

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Netflix backs $1.9m SA film deal

Global streaming platform Netflix has partnered with Johannesburg-based National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) to invest US$1.9m in the production of South African micro-budget feature films.

Ben Amadasun

The move is aimed at supporting the South African film industry’s recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as alleviate the pressure filmmakers face in raising additional funding and ensure job creation.

SA publication Business Tech noted that each partner will contribute R14m (US$950,000) towards the production of local films that will receive exclusive debuts on Netflix.

The partnership will entail the funding of six local films including four by emerging filmmakers with budgets capped at R4m and two feature films by established filmmakers capped at R6m.

Ben Amadasun, Netflix’s director of content in Africa, said: “The past year has been incredibly difficult with the pandemic hitting so many industries around the world. The creative community that we are a part of has supported us through the good times so we want to help them continue to create the stories our members love. Now we’re excited to take this a step further with this joint fund with NFVF for above-the-line talent.”

NFVF CEO Makhosazana Khanyile added: “The inclusion of digital platforms into our traditional processes can only profit the industry further. We hope that this is a start of a long and fruitful relationship.”

The submission portal for funding will go live on April 1 and all filmmakers can apply here in accordance with the eligibility criteria.

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Rockville returns for fifth run

Rockville was created in 2013

South African telenovela Rockville has been renewed for a fifth season by MultiChoice-owned channel Mzansi Magic and will hit the screens in April.

The show was created in 2013 by South African TV production duo Connie and Shona Ferguson and produced by their production company, Ferguson Films. It is written by Phathutshedzo Makwarela, Gwydion Beynon, Linda Bere, Chisanga Kabinga, Pamela Power and Sibusiso Mamba.

Rockville follows the story of two black families who represent the middle class and the working class. The storyline revolves around their ongoing feud over a series of misunderstandings and problems.

“Rockville was our very first project as executive producers and laid the foundation for Ferguson Films to start building Mzansi Magic’s first-ever drama series after the channel was launched. We’re looking forward to welcoming the squad that started it all back and introducing new and exciting characters and talent. More details about the cast of Rockville 5 will be announced soon,” said Connie Ferguson.

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CAF’s Motsepe to ‘fix’ TV rights saga

The newly elected president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Patrice Motsepe, has revealed he aims to prioritise fixing the TV rights saga that has affected the finances of the football governing body over the years.

Patrice Motsepe

According to South Africa newspaper The Sowetan, CAF’s cancellation of its media and marketing rights agreement with French company Lagardere Sports & Entertainment in 2019 prevented several TV stations, like SuperSport, from airing top matches including Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Champions League and Confederation Cup matches.

Promising to sort out the situation, he said: “We spend too much money in Africa watching European football. We must get more revenue from selling [our own] TV rights. In SA, huge money is spent for people to watch European football, and it is wonderful. But we want them to spend huge money for African football.

“I’m absolutely confident over the next years, African football will improve in all areas and become globally competitive and self-sustaining.”

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Joko & Dide chosen for MIFA Nigeria focus

Nigerian cartoon studio Basement Animation’s project Joko & Dide has been selected for the Nigeria Focus at this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Market (MIFA).

Mbuotidem Johnson

The event takes place as part of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France from June 15 to 18.

The announcement follows a two-week workshop at the French Embassy in Lagos in collaboration with the 2021 Annecy festival and MIFA, through a development programme for 10 projects supported by Animation Nigeria.

The initiative is part of the efforts of the Annecy festival and MIFA to focus on Africa and create avenues for young talent in Nigeria to acquire funding, coproduction deals or collaborations for their projects.

Joko & Dide, from Nigerian animator and Basement CEO Mbuotidem Johnson, won the first edition of the Annecy Lagos workshop and his participation at MIFA will give him a chance to showcase his project on a global platform.

Sharing the news on Instagram, Johnson said: “I’m grateful to God for this opportunity and grateful for the journey. It’s just a blessing to be surrounded by amazing minds. Thank you.”

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Women animators discuss their journey

Yetunde Ogundipe, Dami Solesi, Emy Yugbovwre and Korede Johnson

Lagos-based Basement Animation Studio held a panel session this week with leading Nigerian women working in animation to discuss the theme ‘My Journey as a Woman in Animation.’

The session took place on March 8 in Lagos to mark International Women’s Day. It explored participants’ journeys in the sector as well as the opportunities it offers to women.

The discussion was led by Korede Johnson (Basement Animation) while other panel members included Dami Solesi (Smids Animation Studios), Yetunde Ogundipe (Beereel Pictures) and Emy Yugbovwre (Ajebotoons Studio).

Ajebotoons founder Yugbovwre said her first project had been the Nigerian cartoon Bino & Fino. This helped her see what was happening in the animation scene and made her realise African animation is accepted all over the world.

Solesi, CEO and creative director of Lagos-based Smids Animation Studios, started loving games as a child, which inspired her to create them. Having studied computer science and taken online lessons and read books, she started up her own business in animation.

Filmmaker Ogundipe, CEO of Beereel Pictures, ventured into advertising and production before falling in love with stop-motion animation, using her passion to develop her talent over time.

Regarding her inspiration, Yugbovwre said: “I loved watching cartoons growing up, and drawing. I love 2D animation and it was after my university days that I realised cartoons were actually animation.”

Discussing the challenges faced in the industry beyond infrastructure and power issues, Yugbovwre said the ones she faced were personal, since she had not been supported by her family.

Solesi said: “My challenges were more of family apprehension, but over time they came around. As a woman in animation, it’s been tough and challenging.”

Ogundipe said: “In Nigeria, no one wants to take risks. Stop-motion animation is not new but it is strange to so many people.”

She added that people often do not appreciate what it involves and so there was a need to educate them. Her challenge was that stop-motion animation was not a common style, so people felt they did not need it.

Solesi attributed her success to a combination of many things including people at her university, a good network beyond the animation industry and mentors from Nigerian non-profit organisation WinBiz. “We are still in the early stage of building the business so it’s been tough, but having that support system has been of great help,” she added.

Yugbovwre said she learnt a lot from YouTube and other tutorial websites. She encouraged people to make use of the internet to gain knowledge.

Ogundipe said: “I had challenge with animation because I had no drawing skill, but I realised I had to go beyond what I was doing. I challenged myself to take it further, think big and look for ways to execute.”

The three speakers agreed that, despite the challenges, building a career in animation is worthwhile. Yugbovwre said: “I have thought of quitting many times but it’s been worth it and I have enjoyed the journey so far.”

Ogundipe added: “It’s been very interesting and I have always fought for something different and new. Nigeria is filled with problems that we can solve. Women in animation are few but there are lots of opportunities to take advantage of as women.”

Solesi said: “It’s a challenging profession. It is also capital-intensive and although we are on the right path, we haven’t gotten there yet. The animation industry is changing and a lot of things are happening.”

As to what drives women in animation, the panel noted that determination to show women can make a difference, passion and a can-do spirit were some of the factors responsible.

They called on women to push ahead, ignore discouragement, focus on what they can offer, join support groups and understand that animation is a broad discipline.

“This is the best time. Engage in internships, grow your skills, develop yourselves and make use of opportunities,” Solesi concluded.

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Abudu opens EbonyLife Creative Academy

governor of Lagos state Jide Sanwo-Olu and Mo Abudu at the official opening

EbonyLife Media CEO Mo Abudu has launched The EbonyLife Creative Academy in partnership with the Lagos State Government and Lagos State Creative Industries Initiative (LACI) through Nigeria’s Ministry of Tourism, Art & Culture.

The academy has been established to equip aspiring industry professionals with the practical and technical skills necessary to build a successful career in both the Nigerian and international entertainment markets.

The EbonyLife Creative Academy offers free hands-on practical training on courses including screenwriting, production, directing, audiovisual, acting, cinematography, lighting, art direction and visual post-production. Students will be able to gain insights and knowledge from industry professionals and create their original work at the end of the course.

Abudu, who announced the move on Instagram, said: “Truly this is a proud moment for everyone involved in creating the academy. As an HR practitioner, I have been and will always be a firm believer in training and development.

“So wanting to create a creative academy has been a wish and a personal desire for as long as I have been in this industry. To be counted amongst the best content producers in the world, training and development is key. To truly make Lagos a destination for media and entertainment, a trained workforce in our industry is critical.”

The governor of Lagos state, Jide Sanwo-Olu, has offered support to the initiative, allowing the academy to offer free courses to budding filmmakers living in Lagos state.

“I need to emphasise the word ‘free,’” Abudu continued. “If we were to charge for these courses in this most conducive environment that we have created, with our experienced international faculty, the curriculum designed, the equipment available to our students, it would run into millions of Naira per student.

“Now we have an opportunity to make a real impact within the film and TV space that will improve production quality across the industry, provide jobs and business opportunities, and help to grow the creative economy in Lagos. Our utmost thanks to the Lagos State Government, Lagos State Creative Industries Initiative and the Lagos Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture.”

The classes will take place at a new campus in Victoria Island in Lagos. To apply, click here.

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PremiumFree TV reaches South Africa

Free-to-air satellite television service PremiumFree TV from international channels operator AfricaXP will launch in South Africa on May 1.

Craig Kelly

The new service will feature a bouquet of 18 TV channels, including BongoTV (focusing on Swahili movies), True African Channel (African blockbusters), Fresh (reality shows), Limelight (family and action movies), Romanza+ Africa (telenovelas) and LOL Africa (comedy).

Also in the bouquet are Sports Connect, Kiddiwinks, Pulse, Riverwood (Kenyan movies), RPM (motor sports channel), LifeTV (crime and investigation), DIVA (entertainment), Gospellife, Fight Night (martial arts and boxing) and Synapse (e-gaming).

Viewers can access the channels through Openview decoders, MultiChoice’s DStv decoders and universal free-to-air set-top decoders using a satellite dish.

In late 2018, AfricaXP launched PremiumFree TV in Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa with 13 TV channels as a freely available satellite TV offering. The company is bringing its multichannel bouquet to sub-Saharan Africa two-and-a-half years later after acquiring space on Intelsat’s IS20 satellite.

AfricaXP CEO Craig Kelly told SA blog TV With Thinus: “Broadcasting unencrypted not only means that the service can be offered free of charge, it also means that the channels can be instantly received on dishes and decoders already owned, installed and connected. It’s all about instant reach for us and with no extra equipment or cost for the viewer.

“After years of stagnation in the African TV market, characterised by the regular failure of new pay TV initiatives, Intelsat’s decision to seek out AfricaXP as a partner and allocate one of the few available transponders on IS20 to PremiumFree TV is a clear vote of confidence in the PremiumFree TV project. Intelsat has a clear conviction that multichannel free-to-air TV delivered over satellite has a big role to play in the future of the African TV market.”

Intelsat senior account director Christelle Meyer added: “Many countries dealing with economic disparity or smaller populations struggle with making fibre and mobile broadband work as a universal media distribution technology. Satellite will play a vital role in delivering rich media content to all corners of the continent well into the future.”

Meyer said that since January 7 PremiumFree TV has been transmitting a pilot channel on the IS20 transponder with at least 18 TV channels in a bouquet that will be tested from April and PremiumFree TV will officially launch on May 1.

“It’s exciting to be able to offer a compelling multichannel bouquet to such a large and underserved market. Free-to-air TV is critical in stimulating the market by offering value to a segment that can’t afford to pay regularly for premium content, if at all,” Meyer added.

“A strong media industry is symbiotic for the whole ecosystem. Strong free-to-air drives penetration of TV sets, stimulate content development and grows viewing habits which in turn attracts advertisers. We hope to make our contribution to stimulating activity to the benefit for all players.”

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