Nigerian feature film Eyimofe, which was recently selected for this year’s MOOOV Film Festival in Belgium, has won the University of Antwerp Award at the ongoing event.
GDN Studios, the Nigerian production company behind the film, announced the win on Instagram.
In a statement accompanying the award for the film, directed by brothers Arie and Chuko Esiri, the organisers of the festival wrote: “In Eyimofe we are convincingl,y taken to the outskirts of Lagos in Nigeria. The filmmakers tell two stories, that of Mofe and Rosa, two individuals who want to emigrate and are looking for a better life.
“The theme of the story has a universal meaning and is easily recognisable for everyone, but the Esiri brothers have managed to portray that story in their own way within the context of their home country.”
The MOOOV Film Festival is taking place digitally and will conclude on May 3.
A South African thriller movie I Am All Girls is set to premiere on global streaming platform Netflix.
The film, about a sex-trafficking syndicate operating in South Africa, will arrive on Netflix on May 14.
Directed by Donovan Marsh, I Am All Girls is based on real events that unfolded in South Africa in the 1980s in the final days of the apartheid era.
The film is produced by South African production house Nthibah Pictures with producers Simon Swart, Wayne Fitzjohn, Jozua Malherbe and Lucia Mayer-Marais.
It stars Erica Wessels as a special crimes investigator who teams up with a police officer, played by Hlubi Mboya. Together, the two work to take down a human-trafficking ring that enjoys the support of some powerful people.
Marsh said: “I Am All Girls demonstrates Netflix’s commitment to telling meaningful African stories and reaching audiences across the globe on important issues, while supporting groundbreaking local entertainment.”
Swart added: “This distribution partnership with Netflix is kismet, as they share our goal of bringing unique, diverse South African voices to global audiences. Donovan and the creative team crafted something deeply moving and atmospheric, with a strong social message that will gain greater awareness and social impact through Netflix.”
As well as Wessels and Mboya, the cast includes Deon Lotz, Brandon Daniels, Mothusi Magano, Masasa Mbangeni and Nomvelo Makhanya.
South African/British animated children’s film The Snail & The Whale has won the Annie Award for Best Special Production.
The Annie Awards recognise excellence in animation and are organised by ASIFA-Hollywood, the LA branch of the International Animated Film Association. This year’s ceremony was held online on April 16.
The Snail & the Whale is based on the 2003 picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the duo behind global hit The Gruffalo. It tells the story of a tiny snail who longs to see the world and hitches a ride on the tail of a huge humpback whale.
Described as a joyous and empowering story about the natural wonders of the world and discovering that everyone can make a difference, no matter how small they are, the 27-minute film was directed by film producer Max Lang and South Africa’s Daniel Snaddon. It was produced by UK-based Magic Light Pictures in association with Triggerfish Animation of Cape Town.
It was voiced by a British cast including Sally Hawkins (Paddington, The Shape of Water), Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey, The Trip), Cariad Lloyd (Peep Show) and the late Dame Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones, Victoria).
Snaddon said: “For The Snail & The Whale to be recognised by the International Animated Film Association is a huge thrill for all of us.
“On behalf of the Triggerfish team, a huge thanks to Magic Light Pictures for entrusting us with this very special project, and to Max Lang for his wonderful vision and partnership in making this film. I’d also personally like to thank the partners at Triggerfish and our world-class team of animation artists. They are an exceptional group and it’s such a privilege to make films with them.”
Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest added: “Animation is a booming industry worldwide, so we hope this award inspires the next generation of animators in South Africa to follow their dreams into the industry, knowing it’s possible for a child raised in the Lowveld, like Dan, to go on to win one of the world’s top animation prizes.”
The Snail & The Whale currently streams on MultiChoice SVoD platform Showmax across most of Africa. As well as being shortlisted for an Oscar, it has won eight other international awards at the likes of the British Animation Awards, Cartoons on the Bay, the New York International Children’s Film Festival, The Venice TV Awards and the BANFF Rockie Awards.
Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment and connected video, said: “We’re delighted to see increased international recognition of what we’ve known for a while: that the South African filmmakers on Showmax can compete with the best in the world.”
Pay TV operator MultiChoice has unveiled plans for more pop-up TV channels this year, which will be available to more subscribers to pay platform DStv on lower-tier packages.
This initiative was revealed at a virtual MultiChoice media showcase, during which the company also discussed its upcoming content slate, sports coverage, technological advances and upcoming changes to its business.
The new pop-up channels are Fast & the Furious and AfroCinema. The latter will air on channel 198 from May 21 to 30 as a festival of African film to celebrate Africa Day (May 25).
Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice’s head of content and third-party channels, said: “The past year came with many challenges and, in a time of physical distance where the world felt a little bit smaller for everyone, it was a privilege to make things a little brighter by bringing the world’s best content home.
“In some ways, it has reignited our passion not only as a broadcaster that connects people and stories, but as a curator of an unsurpassed viewing experience. No matter where you are or what you’re into, as Africa’s most-loved storyteller, we’re lighting up the screens with serious star power and entertainment that shines above the rest.
“This year we’re doing pop-up channels like never before, with more of them but also more accessibility to DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact and even DStv Family subscribers.”
M-Net’s South African wedding reality show Our Perfect Wedding will return for a new season this July.
The series follows one engaged couple each week and captures their journey to the altar, with the couple ticking off items on their wish list to get the perfect wedding.
Airing on M-Net’s Mzansi Magic, the show is produced by Connect TV and hosted by Khanyisa Titus.
Nomsa Philiso, director of local entertainment channels at M-Net, said: ‘The channel is excited that the show, Our Perfect Wedding, has constantly been topping the trends list and is returning in July.
“Our viewers can expect to be treated to new, fresh and exciting content when couples open their homes to the viewers and into their wedding plans in order to share their love stories.”
Our Perfect Wedding started back in 2011 on DStv’s Mzansi Magic. The format was adapted for Nigeria in March 2019.
Hollywood studio Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has partnered with mobile operator MTN Nigeria to launch the Sony One app for MTN users.
Using the app, MTN users can stream or rent a selection of SPT content and Hollywood blockbusters via MTN mobile data packages.
Movies available for rent include Spider-Man: Far from Home, The Equalizer 2, Bad Boys for Life, Bloodshot, Angry Birds 2 and Black & Blue, while films available for streaming include the classic Ghostbusters and Terminator franchises, Hancock, Jerry Maguire, Chappie and White House Down.
SPT series are also in the mix, including Community, The Shield and The Boondocks, while new film and TV titles will be added to the platform regularly.
John Rossiter, who oversaw the development of the app as executive VP at SPT Networks and Distribution, CEEMA, said: “Sony One is tailor-made to the increasingly flexible way we see media being consumed in Nigeria and across Africa today.
“Today’s launch marks the first step in an inspiring journey for SPT: we have spent a couple of years reviewing and evaluating effective ways to serve our excellent SPT content to, and engage with, this hugely important continent. It is fantastic to launch this platform and there is no better partner to launch with than MTN in Nigeria.”
Srinivas Rao, chief digital officer at MTN Nigeria, added: “We are proud of our association with Sony Pictures Television. This partnership aligns with our GoodTogether philosophy; with it, our customers, who are at the heart of everything we do, will be assured of quality international content, including movies, music and favourite shows all in one app.”
SPT has also partnered with Hakeem Condotti’s BLK HUT in Nigeria as the licensee of the service. BLK HUT is a company that specialises in monetising content for creators and aggregators. The Sony One app can be downloaded on Google Play store and Apple store, while MTN users can subscribe to the dedicated Sony One plans via the short code 5445.
The BBC World Service has partnered with GhanaWeb’s parent company AfricaWeb to offer audiences in Ghana and Cameroon digital content ranging from BBC News text, podcasts, audio and video in English, Pidgin, Hausa and French.
The agreement will make The Comb, a weekly news and current affairs podcast targeting younger audiences around the continent, available for the first time via news portals Ghanaweb.com and Camerounweb.com.
Oluwatoyosi , BBC World Service head of West Africa languages, said: “This partnership offers a chance to broaden our digital reach in Ghana and Cameroon simultaneously to a combined audience of six million online visitors to both sites. We’re thrilled to be working with AfricaWeb, and we’re looking forward to bringing our service to a wider online audience.”
AfricaWeb editor-in-chief Ismail Akwei added: “GhanaWeb and CamerounWeb have been providing Ghanaians and Cameroonians with quality news and independent journalism that has kept readers updated while safeguarding their right to freedom of expression. Our partnership with the BBC is part of AfricaWeb’s vision of forging pan-African collaborative partnerships that will have a greater positive effect on the continent.”
Global streaming platform Netflix and South African Tourism have partnered to explore opportunities to showcase South African stories to the world and attract tourists to the country.
The companies plan to collaborate on projects through locally produced series that will be made available on Netflix.
The streamer entered SA in 2016 and has since invested in both original and licensed productions made locally.
South African content already released by Netflix includes Queen Sono, Blood & Water, How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding, Kings of Joburg, Seriously Single, Catching Feelings, Santana and Baby Mamas.
Sisa Ntshona, CEO of South African Tourism, said: “As we continue to lure the world to our beautiful country in these trying times, we have to look at non-traditional tourism partnerships as a source of driving arrivals.
“Netflix reaches millions of eyeballs globally, and by working closely with Netflix, we are able to latch onto a massive opportunity to influence the audience to think more closely about South Africa and thus convincing them to visit our country.
“We have 11 global country offices and there will always be opportunities for our international offices in key source markets to latch onto opportunities to showcase South Africa through the title Netflix launch.”
Ben Amadasun, Netflix director of content in Africa, added: “This past year, when entertainment mattered more than ever, our 204 million members around the world connected with new worlds, and most importantly with each other, through stories from South Africa and across the globe.
“Storytelling is a powerful tool that can foster connection and understanding while creating greater affinity towards a culture or place. That’s a big responsibility and, at Netflix, we don’t take that lightly. It’s why we value this important collaboration with SA Tourism as it will help us create more opportunities to support local creatives as they showcase the beauty of South Africa through their stories delivered to millions of entertainment fans around the world on Netflix.”
Global streaming platform Netflix, video-sharing social networking service TikTok and South Africa’s National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) have teamed up to launch a project aimed at helping content creators and filmmakers.
Rising Voices is open to all black South African creators on TikTok, offering training and grants and providing the community with opportunities to make a career out of content creation.
Around 100 creatives will be trained to use the platform to create high-quality content. They will also undergo digital skills training in an intensive boot camp and learn personal branding, how to monetise their account and the importance of catering to a diverse audience.
TikTok content operations manager Boniswa Sidwaba told South Africa’s Independent Online: “South Africa is a market brimming with creative talent from black creators and we are committed to providing the best local support to help amplify the voices of this community. Through this initiative, we will empower these creators to thrive on TikTok and beyond, as we aim to provide them with career-building resources and programmes.”
NFVF CEO Makhosazana Khanyile said: “We are excited to witness the launch of TikTok’s Rising Voices initiative in South Africa. Projects like this one provide black content creators with vast opportunities to further develop their digital skills while learning from some of the industry’s leading content experts.
“We look forward to seeing the incredible content and content creators that will emerge from this programme, and we are confident it will add tremendous value to the film and video industry in South Africa.”
UK-based distributor Fugitive has struck a deal with South African entertainment company MultiChoice, under which the former will become the exclusive distributor for the latter’s original scripted series.
MultiChoice operates linear channel M-Net and SVoD platform Showmax, both of which have a slate of originals in development and production. Fugitive is launching three series at this year’s MipTV, with a further nine to be delivered in the 2021-22 financial year.
The first of the initial three series is Lioness, a 10×60’ crime drama produced by M-Net about a woman who is framed and sent to prison for a fraud committed by her husband, who has recently been found dead. Eight years later, she’s released and, while fighting to reunite with her children and prove her innocence, sees her husband on TV, alive.
Dam, meanwhile, is an 8×60’ psychological thriller about a woman who returns from Chile to the Eastern Cape to bury her father, only to be tormented by spirits in the farmhouse she has inherited. But with her mother institutionalised and her own meds running out, she starts to wonder if the spirits are real or just in her head. Dam is produced by Picture Tree.
The third series is Legacy (208×30’), a telenovela produced by Tshedza Pictures for M-Net. The show follows an investment billionaire who is approaching retirement, clearing the way for a family member to take the reins to the empire. The ensuing power struggle turns nasty, with a mix of betrayal, secrets, lies and revenge playing out on screen.
In addition to representing completed drama programming, Fugitive will also help MultiChoice secure future coproductions and pre-sales from the international market for titles on its originals slate.
Pay TV operator MultiChoice is set to add three channels based in the north of Nigeria, Liberty, Tozali and Rahama, to its platform.
The move comes as part of an agreement between MultiChoice Nigeria with representatives from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG).
This agreement was struck after the CNG submitted a petition calling for a boycott of MultiChoice services in the northern region.
According to media publication Broadcast Media Africa, the petition accused MultiChoice, the owner and operator of pay TV platform DStv, of not featuring northern-based TV channels on its platform and also not embracing content diversity geared towards national growth and development to benefit to the region.
CNG spokesman Abdul-Azeez Suleiman said: “MultiChoice is committed to considering additional eligible and interested northern-based television channels on its DStv platform. The current situation with MultiChoice is due to a lack of credible communication in the languages understood by natives.” Suleiman also urged MultiChoice to assist in bridging this perceived communication gap.
Nigerian feature film Eyimofe has been selected for this year’s MOOOV Film Festival in Belgium.
Directed by twin brothers Arie and Chuko Esiri, Eyimofe tells the stories of two strangers living in Africa’s largest city, Lagos, who share the dream of building a new life in the West.
GDN Studios, the production company behind the film, announced the news on Instagram, wrtiting: “While plans have reached an advanced stage for its Nigerian cinematic release next month, the award-winning Nigerian feature film Eyimofe (This is My Desire), has continued its international festival run with a selection for this year’s MOOOV Film Festival in Belgium.
“Eyimofe’s selection for this year’s MOOOV is coming barely a week after the film was selected for the Borderlines Film Festival in the United Kingdom.”
The film’s cast includes Jude Akuwudike, Temi Ami-Williams, Cynthia Ebijie, Tomiwa Edun, Jacob Alexander and Chioma ‘Chigul’ Omeruah. It was fully financed within Nigeria.
Pay TV company MultiChoice Kenya has collaborated with Azuri Technologies, a UK-based provider of affordable pay-as-you-go solar home systems, to provide DStv content to off-grid households in Kenya.
With the DStv HD decoder and Azuri’s TV400 system, which has an 80W solar panel and a 160Wh LFP battery, customers will have access to DStv entertainment, local and international news, documentaries, sports and educational content.
Azuri CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth said: “We are delighted to partner with MultiChoice to bring the world-leading DStv content to our customers. By expanding the choice of content available to even off-grid customers, we are taking another step in shrinking the gap between households with and without the grid.”
MultiChoice Kenya MD Nancy Matimu added: “MultiChoice is always seeking new partnerships to find ways to offer great and affordable video entertainment to families across the country. We want to deliver our local content, telenovelas, world-class sport and blockbusters straight into the hands and homes of our customers. This partnership with Azuri is one way that we are able to ensure our content is available to the widest possible audience throughout the country.”
The Azuri TV400 system can be purchased for a down payment of KES8,999 (US$82), plus a daily usage fee of KES115 over 30 months. The DStv HD decoder offers a wide range of viewing packages.
Azuri operates in five key African territories: Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda. Its East Africa headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya, and its West Africa headquarters are in Lagos, Nigeria.
UK commercial broadcaster Channel 4 has commissioned its first reality series to feature an all-black cast, comprising Nigerian British participants.
Coproduced by Cr8tive Row and Optomen, Highlife follows the lives and loves of a group of ambitious, glamorous young Nigerian Brits all chasing their own idea of success.
Commissioned by Vivienne Molokwu for Channel 4, Highlife will be overseen by Cr8tive Row’s CEO Daps (aka Oladapo Fagbenle), Luti Fagbenle and Optomen’s co-CEOs Tina Flintoff and Nick Hornby.
The four-part series will debut later this year in a 22.00 slot as part of Channel 4 Represents: Black to Front, formerly announced as Black Takeover last year, which is part of C4’s commitment to improve black representation on and off screen.
Highlife will air as part of Black to Front alongside a one-off special of The Big Breakfast fronted by comedian Mo Gilligan, and followed by some of C4’s biggest flagship shows reimagined with black talent, including Celebrity Gogglebox, Countdown and Channel 4 News. Soap Hollyoaks will be an hour-long special entirely written, directed and performed by its black talent.
Daps said: “There remains a lack of representation on British television. There are systemic issues that have disabled, or not enabled, certain groups to get key opportunities within the industry. This reality docuseries combats both these issues, celebrating a group of young, successful black Brits, and highlights issues this demographic face in an accessible way.”
The third season of singing competition show The Voice Nigeria, based on the Dutch format distributed by ITV Studios, is set to premiere on March 27.
Broadcasters to air the show include Africa Magic, AIT, Views TV and Wazobia TV.
The Voice Nigeria will be hosted by award-winning presenter Nancy Isime alongside popular on-air personality and entrepreneur Toke Makinwa. They will be joined by coaches Darey Art Alade, Yemi Alade, Waje and Falz.
The winner of the show will be awarded an international recording contract, a cash prize and a new car.
Akin Salami, MD of UN1TY Limited and exec producer of the show, said: “Since we kicked off registration for The Voice S3 in 2020, we have been amazed by the reception we have received.
“The array of Nigerian talent we have seen has been nothing short of exceptional and we are excited to show the world the quality of talent and entertainment in Nigeria.”
The show will air on African Magic Showcase (DSTV 151), Urban (DSTV 153) and Family (DSTV 154, GOTV 2) on Saturdays at 20.00 and on Sundays on AIT, Views TV, Wazobia TV and Wazobia TV Max at 18.00.
The Eko Star Film & Television Awards will take place in Lagos on March 24 in honour of International Women’s Month.
The event is presented by the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, in partnership with EbonyLife Place and the Nigerian International Film Summit (NIFS). It will take place at EbonyLife Place in Victoria Island, Lagos, from 14.00 to 18.00.
The awards celebrate the creative female pioneers in Nigeria’s burgeoning film industry and will feature notable and upcoming directors, producers, writers and actors.
Nollywood stars set to receive the special recognition award include Omotola Jalade, Omoni Oboli, Shaffy Bello, Omowunmi Dada, Kate Henshaw, Osas Ighodaro, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Emem Isong and Kemi Adetiba.
Chichi Nworah, CEO of Giant Creative Media, Nneka Isaac Moses (executive producer of TV show Goge Africa), Agatha Amata (CEO of Rave TV) and Sa’a Ibrahim (CEO of Kano State TV and chair of BON) will also be recognised.
Ijeoma Onah, founder of the NIFS, said: “Women in the Nigerian film and TV industry have remained key drivers of the creative economy, and recognising their accomplishments in the industry is worth celebrating. We remain committed to showcasing and promoting the achievements of Nigerian women in film and television globally, across the NIFS’s huge database of global film and TV executives, influencers and decision makers.”
Nigerian child comedian Emanuella Samuel was named Favourite African Social Media Star at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards earlier this week.
The awards recognise the biggest and most entertaining stars across the world of film, television, music, sports, video games and social media.
Samuel, who was first nominated for a Kids Choice Award in 2018, won the award by getting the most votes.
The popular 10-year-old comedian from YouTube channel MarkAngelComedy has featured in several comedy skits and has won many awards.
She also appeared on CNN in November 2016 and in 2015, she won the G-Influence Niger Delta Special Talent Award.
Other nominees in Samuel’s category included Nigerian comedy group Ikorodu Bois, South African magician Wian Van Den Berg, Ugandan dance troupe Ghetto Kids, Kenyan social media star Elsa Majimbo and South African TV personality Bonang Matheba.
Netflix has ordered a sequel to French comedy film On the Other Side of the Tracks, with Senegalese-French actor Omar Sy reprising the role he played in the 2012 movie.
The as-yet-untitled sequel has already begun shooting in Paris, according to Variety. Best known for starring in Netflix series Lupin and hit movie The Intouchables, Sy will return alongside French actor Laurent Lafitte.
The film follows two cops with very different styles, backgrounds and careers. The unlikely pair are reunited once again for a new investigation that takes them all the way to the French Alps.
The film is scheduled to debut on Netflix in 2022. It will be directed by Louis Leterrier from a screenplay by Stéphane Kazandjian and Eric Altmayer Nicolas Altmayer.
Sy won the César Award for Best Actor in the 2011 comedy-drama The Intouchables; he also starred in Lupin, Chocolat and Jurassic World.
Nollywood TV series Sub Sahara and comedy-drama film Breaded Life are set to be released in cinemas in the coming weeks.
Sub Sahara focuses on how African leaders and people are often distracted by peripheral issues and ignore what’s really important, according to Premium Times Nigeria.
Its cast includes Sophie Alakija, Steve Chuks, Tobi Bakre, Darasimi Ogbetah, Vasco Egbaiyelo, Eva Ibiam, Mijah Confidence, Adebiyi Adetola and Ebenezer Akachukwu.
Sub Sahara director Buhari Yesufu said of the show: “It highlights the confusion and lack of urgency of pressing issues in Africa. The lead character is a representation of things that are missing and have been taken from the African culture and society.”
The show will be screened in Nigerian cinemas later this month, having already been screened in Lagos, and will also air on selected terrestrial stations that have yet to be announced.
Movie Breaded Life, meanwhile, is directed by Biodun Stephen and will debut in cinemas on April 16. A Shutterspeed production in collaboration with David Wade, it stars Timini Egbuson, Bisola Aiyeola, Bimbo Ademoye and Bolanle Ninalowo.
Announcing the news on Instagram, Stephen wrote: “I present to you Breaded Life the movieee. Drama, comedy, a lirru bit of romance and definitely it’s ganna get you emossshhh.”
Netflix and Nigerian movie producer and director Kunle Afolayan are working on three original titles that will be exclusive to the global streamer.
The content includes a period drama adapted from Nigerian-American writer Sefi Atta’s 2010 novel Swallow. It focuses on a naive secretary who, after a series of career woes, considers her roommate’s offer to work as a drug mule in mid-1980s Lagos.
The other titles being developed under the Netflix-Afolayan alliance are a folklore fantasy and a character-based drama that deals with dementia while mixing in some African spirituality.
Sharing the news on Instagram, Afolayan said: “The subject matter of the movie Swallow affects everyone globally and, if we take it from Nigeria’s point of view, it’s a peculiar story which is authentic to Africa. We are already in post-production and have filmed 95% of it.”
The cast for Swallow includes Eniola Akinbo (aka Niyola), Deyemi Okanlawon, Ijeoma Grace Agu, Chioma Chukwuka Akpotha, Kunle Idowu (aka Frank Donga), Omotunde Adebowale (aka Lolo), Offiong Anthony (aka Thin Tall Tony), Oreofe Lawal, Eniola Badmus and Mercy Aigbe.
Netflix’s director of content in Africa, Ben Amadasun, added: “We want to keep entertaining the world with great stories and we believe great stories can come from anywhere – Nigeria being one of those markets where we have a very prolific film industry, thus making it the focus market.
“It’s been five years since Netflix launched in Nigeria. Since then, we’ve been able to add a wide variety of Nollywood films and series, and build strong relationships with local creators like Kunle Afolayan.
“It’s been incredibly rewarding to bring his classics like The CEO, October 1, The Figurine and, most recently, Citation to our members around the world and shine a light on Nigerian culture, history, fashion, music, food and languages through his films. It’s been an honour to have some of Kunle’s works on the platform for our members to enjoy.”