All posts by John Winfield

Blood Psalms launches on Showmax

Blood Psalms’ first two episodes launched at the same time

Hotly anticipated African epic fantasy series Blood Psalms has launched on African VoD service Showmax.

With its first two episodes landing simultaneously, the series is set in ancient Africa, 11,000 years ago. It follows Princess Zazi (played by Bokang Phelane) as she battles a world-ending prophecy to navigate her people through ancient curses, long-standing tribal vendettas and the wrath of the gods.

The 10×60’ show “went straight to number one on Showmax and is getting rave reviews and wonderful feedback on Twitter too,” a representative from the streamer told Content Nigeria.

Created by Layla Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka and produced by Yellowbone Entertainment, the show also stars Bongile Mantsai, Hamilton Dlamini, Hlubi Mboya, Mothusi Magano, S’dumo Mtshali, Siv Ngesi, Thishiwe Ziqubu and Warren Masemola.

“I was always extremely curious about our continent. The question mark around the history of Africa and where we come from has been a great platform for us to be able to build this world,” said Qubeka.

According to Swart, the show’s first season looks at various tribes: the Akachi, the Uchawi, the Ku’ua, the Chini and the Great Nziwemabwe as they migrate south from Kemet, which is now Egypt, and form their cultures.

“It’s a pioneering show that attempts to redefine our very perception of our identity as Africans. What we’re trying to do is to reclaim the continent’s history from an African perspective. The goal, for us, is to ensure that the golden thread of Africa’s stunning history really shines,” Swart added.

Qubeka said: “It’s a sweeping epic adventure that doesn’t hold back. It is definitely a large canvas, one that I personally have not seen from this continent. This thing is big. I’m very excited to see how audiences engage with this world.

“There are a lot of things that people are going to look at and be like, ‘What are you talking about? Did they have guns in that time? Do they have electricity?’ There are all sorts of things we challenge in terms of conventions of what people understand of our glorious past.”

New episodes of Blood Psalms will debut on MultiChoice-owned streamer Showmax every Wednesday until the end of November.

Shot in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and North West provinces, Blood Psalms is a Showmax Original in partnership with France’s Canal+, South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry & Competition, the Eastern Cape Economic Development Corporation, the National Film & Video Foundation and the MultiChoice Innovation Fund.

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Game On set for S2 on Ndani TV

Game On is directed by Adeola Osunkojo

Web-based Nigerian channel Ndani TV is set to debut the second season of drama series Game On.

Game On is backed by Nigerian bank GTCO, owner of Ndani TV, and will premiere on YouTube on 14 October.

The show follows the turbulent love life of a woman who realises her live-in boyfriend of three years is not motivated to propose anytime soon.

The series is directed by Adeola Osunkojo, written by Jaiye Gesinde, Fola Remy and Fatimah Gimsay, and stars Omowunmi Dada, Taye Arimoro, Stephanie Zibili, Obehi Aburime and Gbubemi Ejeye.

“In every game, someone loses and someone wins. Who’s your money on?” said the TV channel on Instagram, promoting the new season to its followers.

Ndani TV has 493,000 subscribers on Youtube and its videos have been viewed more than 119 million times.

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MultiChoice preps African historical drama

Nomzamo Mbatha in Shaka Ilembe

Pay TV group MultiChoice is in production on an epic period drama series in partnership with South Africa’s Bomb Productions.

Set to be released next year, Shaka Ilembe is being filmed in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal and is set in the 1700s. It tells the story of the making of the eponymous African king, from his early childhood through to adulthood.

The series is executive produced by Nomzamo Mbatha, who also plays the role of Queen Nandi, starring alongside Lemogang Tsipa, Ntando Zondi, Thembinkosi Mthembu and Wiseman Mncube.

“I am honoured to bring the giant that is Queen Nandi to life,” said Mbatha. “History will remember those who informed its people of where we come from, to better understand who we are. I am fortunate to be part of a project that is much bigger than ourselves and to tell this story in our own language. Impi iyeza!”

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment and connected video at MultiChoice, added: “Being able to bring this important story to the screen with such stellar talent speaks to the heart of MultiChoice’s ongoing commitment and investment in our local entertainment industry. We are committed to telling great African stories, and this is a proudly African series told through the lens of Africans for the very first time.

“We want people to learn about our history and culture, but we also want to keep viewers glued in anticipation. This drama seeks to uncover nuggets of history but creates narrative in the gaps by putting known characters alongside fictional characters in order to keep the story moving.”

Angus Gibson, creative director at Bomb Productions, said: “It is a cast with deep talent. It is magical witnessing these performers bring life to characters we only know from the history books. When the cast arrive on set, fully dressed in wardrobe and hair from the period, I am blown away.”

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DW Akademie seeks African filmmakers

DW Akademie, a German organisation for international media development, is on the look-out for filmmakers in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda to take part in its film development scheme.

Natascha Schwanke

The Film Development Fund, supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation & Development, is a one-year fellowship programme for filmmakers who have made at least one film and have a concept or script for a feature-length documentary, fiction or hybrid feature-length film. These films will be developed and be prepared for production.

Five candidates from each country will be offered a one-year fellowship to work on developing their films, as well as receiving €10,000 (US$9,767). They will be paired with an experienced mentor and have access to training, workshops and networking opportunities.

According to the Bonn-based organisation, the first five grantees from Ethiopia have already successfully completed their one-year fellowships, while the programmes for the first five filmmakers from Tanzania and Uganda are underway.

Natascha Schwanke, DW Akademie director of media development, said: “The continued success of African films in international festivals, in theatres and even on Netflix has shown that filmmaking in Africa is on the rise. The goal of the Film Development Fund is to further support filmmakers – both established and aspiring – who are working to bring African stories to this wider audience.”

Esther Dorn-Fellermann, DW Akademie’s project manager, added: “The positive and constructive engagement between the filmmakers, mentors and experts made the inaugural programmes in all three countries a success. Opening the call for applications for all three countries at once shows DW Akademie’s continued commitment to African filmmaking.”

The DW Akademie Film Development Fund supports filmmakers in developing their film projects, promotes authentic local stories and shares them with international audiences, thereby leading to the sector’s further growth and development, the company said.

The deadline for applications is 26 October. Interested filmmakers from Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda should click here to apply.

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Joburg Festival unveils youth programme

The Joburg Film Festival (JFF) has set up a two-day outreach scheme tagged the Youth & Audience Development Programme, which will begin next month.

A new visual identity and key team members have also been revealed ahead of the fifth iteration of the festival, which will take place from January 31 to February 5.

The team members include award-winning film producer Bongi Selane, who will return as  festival director, plus festival curator from Keith Shiri and programmer Jack Chiang.

The Youth & Audience Development programme will assist young people in disadvantaged and underdeveloped communities who are interested in the film industry through a series of skill-development and empowerment workshops and masterclasses.

The workshops will take place across the five regions of the province of Gauteng: Sedibeng (October 8-9), West Rand (October 22-23), Ekurhuleni (November 5-6), Tshwane (November 26-27) and in Johannesburg (January tbc).

Topics that will be discussed include directing, performance, story & conceptualisation, production, editing and animation. There will also be training, mentoring and internship opportunities centred on film and content production creativity and the business of monetising ideas and content.

Young filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 35 who wish to participate can take part in a short film competition themed ‘What Inspires You About Your Township?’ Three winners will be selected from across the five regions and will receive a range of prizes, while one selected filmmaker will receive a scholarship to study a film-related course and other valuable prizes. Click here to register.

The JFF is presented by MultiChoice. According to its organisers, the event is strategically positioned to become Africa’s premier film festival through the curation and showcasing of African and international films while providing young people and filmmakers with various opportunities for development, training, skills transfer and networking.

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Kwara gov’t planning production studio

An artist’s impression of Sugar Factory Film Studios

The government of Kwara State in Western Nigeria is planning to build a production studio to position the state as a new powerhouse in the audiovisual sector in West Africa.

Plans for Sugar Factory Film Studios were revealed this week by the Kwara State government, lead by executive governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

“The Sugar Factory Film Studios will provide an avenue for aspiring filmmakers and creatives to have access to world-class sound stages for TV/film production at sustainable rates, attracting big production companies to come and shoot in Kwara,” said the Kwara State government.

The plan is to stimulate the local economy by creating employment opportunities for young people across the state. A visual arts centre that will house post-production facilities is also under construction.

The Kwara State government also released artists’ impressions of what the studio would look like, with what appear to be five sound stages, edit suites and production offices in a landscaped setting.

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African toon Iwájú set for Disney+

Iwájú comes from Ziki Nelson

Iwájú, an animated sci-fi series series produced by African entertainment company Kugali Media and Walt Disney Animation Studios, is set to debut on global streamer Disney+ next year.

The series is Disney’s first collaboration with an external animation studio in the company’s 100-year history.

Iwájú – meaning ‘future’ in Yoruba – is set in a futuristic Lagos and explores class, innocence, inequality and challenging the status quo. Details of the storyline are scant but it revolves around a rich heiress and a poor boy, Tola and Kole respectively. Tola also owns a giant robotic lizard as a pet.

The six-episode series is created and directed by Ziki Nelson, executive produced by Jennifer Lee and produced by Tolu Olowofoyeko, co-founder of Kugali Media.

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M-Net’s Steenkamp doc picked up by KI

Reeva Steenkamp was killed on February 14, 2013

Keshet International (KI) has acquired international distribution rights to a South African docuseries about the life and death of model Reeva Steenkamp, who was murdered by Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius.

The Israeli distributor will take My Name is Reeva: I Was Murdered by Oscar Pistorius (3×60’) to TV programme sales market Mipcom in Cannes next month as part of its factual slate.

MultiChoice-owned channel M-Net, which commissioned the three-part series, holds rights in sub-Saharan Africa and debuted the show to high ratings – 14% higher than the slot average – in August.

Produced by Johannesburg-based WB Productions in partnership with LA’s Cactus Tree Entertainment, SA’s Bloodrose Productions and Australia’s Global City Group, the series includes exclusive interviews with Reeva’s parents, Barry and June Steenkamp, as they endure a victim-offender dialogue with Pistorius as part of his request for early parole.

The series is set to be released to the international market next year to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Steenkamp’s death, on Valentine’s Day 2023.

It is directed by Warren Batchelor (204: Getting Away with Murder) and produced by David Taylor, with a script written by SAFTA winner Justin Strydom (Isidingo, High Rollers).

“We fully endorse Warren and his team to bring out the truth in this documentary and show the world who Reeva really was,” said Barry and June Steenkamp in a joint statement.

Keren Shahar, Keshet International’s chief operating officer and president of distribution, added: “Reeva’s murder at the hands of Oscar Pistorius was so shocking it made news headlines around the world, resonating especially with women everywhere. We are grateful to be adding this hotly anticipated true crime docuseries to our catalogue.”

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Accelerate TV readies YouTube series

Clinically Speaking

African digital lifestyle and entertainment platform Accelerate TV is set to debut a web series titled Clinically Speaking this month.

The medical dramedy follows a smart, young and beautiful doctor whose struggles are synonymous with those of every Nigerian doctor. It follows her as she wades through the waters of her one-year compulsory internship at a government hospital.

Produced by Temilola Balogun and Esse Akwawa and executive produced by Collette Otusheso, the show’s cast includes Eso Dike, Gbemi Akinlade, Eniola Adeoluwa, Shalewa Ashafa and Paul Utomi.

Akwawa said: “We have been cooking up this new series for some time now, and it’s finally here! Well, in few days! Produced by yours truly, this series features some of your favourite stars and we are sure that you are going to be glued to your screen longer than usual, because this series is more than amazing.”

Clinically Speaking will debut on Accelerate TV’s YouTube channel on September 22. The show will sit alongside other Accelerate series such as The Big Tech Show, Just Friends, The Whole Truth and Visa on Arrival.

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MultiChoice, BBC adapt Meyer novel

UK pubcaster the BBC and South African pay TV group MultiChoice have teamed up for a five-part crime thriller based on Deon Meyer’s 2004 bestselling novel Devil’s Peak.

Produced by BBC Studios-owned Lookout Point and UK-based Expanded Media Productions, the show is written and created for television by Matthew Orton (Operation Finale, Moon Knight) and production has begun in Cape Town, where the show is set.

The 5×50’ series, also titled Devil’s Peak, will be delivered in 2023, with MultiChoice premiering it on M-Net in South Africa and distributing in sub-Saharan Africa, while BBC Studios will distribute in the rest of the world. South African production services are being provided by Film Afrika.

Devil’s Peak is described as a “multi-layered crime thriller.” The novel is the first in Meyer’s series of books focusing on detective Benny Griessel.

In the adaptation, Griessel is played by Hilton Pelser (Moffie, Glasshouse, Kissing Booth), while Sisanda Henna (Trackers, Rogue) plays a grieving father seeking justice after the murder of his son.

Rounding off the cast are Shamilla Miller (Blood & Water, Troy: Fall of a City) and Masasa Mbangeni (The Republic, Scandal). Jozua Malherbe (Griekwastad, Justice Served) is directing.

Associate producer Amy Jephta (Skemerdans, Barakat) is writing alongside Orton, who is exec producing with Laura Lankester from Lookout Point and Francis Hopkinson from Expanded Media. Yolisa Phahle, Allan Sperling and Jan du Plessis exec produce for M-Net, while Johann Knobel (Bad Sisters, The Shadow Line) is the producer.

Meyer said: “Benny Griessel started his fictitious life as a humble one-off cameo character, and never in my wildest dreams did I think he would one day be part of an international TV series.”

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment and connected video at MultiChoice Group, added: “Not only is this an authentically South African story starring a South African cast, it is also filmed in our own backyard, benefiting several industries and economies beyond the television industry.”

MultiChoice previously adapted Meyer’s 2011 novel Trackers into a well-received drama series produced by Scene 24, Three River Studios, Helle Media and Scribe Studios. The show marked the first coproduction between M-Net, HBO’s sister network Cinemax and German public broadcaster ZDF.

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Showmax appoints Filani as GM

African streaming service Showmax has named Opeoluwa Filani as the new general manager for its Nigeria operations.

Opeoluwa Filani

Filani has over 16 years of senior management experience. In his new role, he will provide strategic direction and implement plans aimed at growing Showmax’s business in Nigeria and achieving its profit objectives.

Prior to joining Showmax, Filani was the country sales director for Nigeria at JCDecaux, a multinational out-of-home advertising company, where he led the sales and marketing department.

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of connected video at MultiChoice, said: “We’ve witnessed 68% growth in our paying subscriber base over the past year, and it’s become even more important to have a dedicated team at the helm of affairs of Showmax in one of our most important markets.

“Opeoluwa brings almost two decades of relevant experience and a refreshing perspective to business development. His appointment couldn’t be more timely as this is a defining period for our business in Nigeria. I am confident that with his experience and vision, Opeoluwa will drive Showmax Nigeria to even greater heights.”

Filani added: “These are exciting times for the SVoD industry in Africa and Showmax is right at the centre of this emerging sector. I believe Showmax’s commitment to developing a local Nigerian strategy is right for this fast-changing environment and I am happy to be a part of it.”

Filani holds an executive MBA from the Warwick Business School in the UK and an MSc in international marketing management from Robert Gordon University in Scotland, with certifications in sales and distribution from Harvard Business School in the US.

Showmax has continued to expand its presence and investment in Nigeria, having released more than 40 original African series and movies in the last year.

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NBC halts broadcaster shutdowns

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) of Nigeria has suspended the shutdown of certain broadcasters that have had their licences revoked over outstanding debts.

This temporary suspension comes months after some broadcast stations were given two weeks to renew their licences and pay off their debts or face being sanctioned.

Broadcasters affected by the move include Silverbird TV, Kwara State Broadcasting Corporation, Kogi State Broadcasting Corporation, Niger State Broadcasting Corporation, Wave FM, Beat FM, MITV, AIT, Zuma FM and Splash FM.

According to the NBC, positive responses were received from some of the debtor licensees, including some of the big players in the broadcast industry.

The NBC stated: “[After] a follow-up meeting held with executives of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria and other critical stakeholders in the industry, the commission has decided to temporarily suspend the shutdown of the indebted broadcast stations all over the country.

“We express our profound appreciation to the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, the affected licensees and the broadcast stakeholders for their responses and interventions. We specifically thank DAAR Communications and Silverbird TV/Rhythm FM for their responses.

“The commission is not unaware of the difficulties this shutdown must have caused the operators and other stakeholders, but must state that the commission will always operate within the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Cap. N11, Laws of the Federation, 2004.”

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Channels TV exec expects bright future

Ladi Akeredolu-Ale at the Nigerian International Film & TV Summit

Ladi Akeredolu-Ale, controller of current affairs at Channels TV, remains optimistic about the Nigerian broadcaster’s future in the age of digital transition, attendees at the Nigerian International Film & TV Summit (NIFS) heard this week.

Akeredolu-Ale spoke about the Nigerian TV industry’s outlook during a session hosted by Ijeoma Onah, founder of NIFS and CEO of Super TV.

Asked how prepared Channels TV is for the digital migration, Akeredolu-Ale said: “The business will be affected but we hope it won’t affect it negatively. We see lots of opportunities here. For example, if you are talking about the TV business, you are talking about income. There are multiple income streams in this convergence, like what we have started doing in the business of podcasting.

“Lots of people want to see things, while others want to hear them. With all the convergence that has occurred in our environment, radio is still the most popular medium of communication across the country.

“The challenge here is how do you attract that kind of audience to this platform? It is still a work in progress and we are looking at it more consciously because it involves significant investment.”

Akeredolu-Ale added that Channels TV wants to create podcasts in indigenious languages that will be beneficial to people. The exec said he sees this as an opportunity because if people can easily get health-related information in a language or format that is easy to access, they will subscribe. “And each time that person comes back on the basis of satisfaction with the previous experience, it’s good for your bottom line and makes you more relevant to their day-to-day life,” he said.

Onah also asked Akeredolu-Ale about the future of monetisation in traditional TV and whether will Channels TV be able to sustain itself amid digital disruption. Akeredolu-Ale responded by saying legacy players are also able to target specific audiences they might not have been able to in the past.

“Channels TV used to think of itself as an ABC station but the vast population is in the DE segment. It has been a challenge to get them to engage and let them know the relevance of engaging. But with this disruption, you have an opportunity to target them specifically. The information is still the same but the mode of communication is different,” he said.

The issue of traditional media ensuring truthful information in the digital age was also raised. “Take a deep breath, look at the information over and over again, identify loopholes, cross check information and finally run checks on what you have gathered,” Akeredolu-Ale advised.

They key topic at this year’s NIFS was the so-called streaming wars, and the implications for the future of content monetisation for film and TV content. The event was held from August 29 to September 1 in Lagos.

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Luther Appa making latest film in Lagos

Meeting Funmi’s Parents is being produced by Belmont Pictures

Nigerian-American independent filmmaker Kevin Luther Appa has started production on his latest movie in Lagos.

Meeting Funmi’s Parents is a multicultural love story starring Nigerian actor Omowunmi Dada and California-based David Thomson.

It follows a newly engaged Nigerian girl who returns home with her American fiancé. The film’s producers describe it as relatable, engaging and family-oriented.

The movie is being produced by Belmont Pictures and also stars Broda Shaggi, Tina Mba, Sophie Alakija and Akin Lewis, among others.

“Every actor on this project really loved the script and I can’t wait for everyone to see the movie on the big screen,” said Luther Appa.

Luther Appa recently launched his first big romantic comedy, Dinner at My Place, which won this year’s Valentine Big Screen Market, earning gross revenue of N54.8m.

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African toons, movies screened at NIFS

Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya’s Kiliwe: The Time Bender

The three-day Nigerian International Film & TV Summit (NIFS) concluded with screenings of an array of local movies and content in different styles and genres at the Genesis Deluxe Cinema in Maryland, Lagos.

The film screenings included Body & Soul, which consists of six short films: Finding Jomijo, Soul Beats, Flight Plans, Imoles, Against the Wind and The Journey to Paradise.

Also on the list were Nigerian animated film Halima’s Vote, Spoof Animations’ 2D animated series Hero Corps, Biodun Stephen’s movie Sista, and the African remake of the classic Cinderella story, Tarella.

Others included Sham by Christian Ochiagha, Clarence Peters’ Inside Life, Ovie vs Wale by Lagos-based animation house Orange VFX Studios, Kiliwe: The Time Bender by Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya, Strike Guard by Spoof Animation, Skelebe by Quadron Studios, Voyager, Ami, The Exchange by Omoyefe Majoroh, and Spoof Animation’s Ajaka Lost in Rome.

The NIFS organisers said: “It’s so amazing and encouraging to see all that is happening with respect to our African content.”

The screenings were organised and sponsored by the French Embassy in Nigeria and Animation Nigeria.

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Blood Psalms set for September release

Blood Psalms is a coproduction with France’s Canal+

African VoD service Showmax will debut epic African fantasy series Blood Psalms on September 28.

Blood Psalms is a Showmax Original in partnership with France’s Canal+, South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry & Competition, the Eastern Cape Economic Development Corporation and the MultiChoice Innovation Fund.

Shot in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and North West provinces, Blood Psalms “draws from elements of a multitude of African mythologies” and looks at various tribes. It follows the story of a young princess who must navigate primordial curses, ancestral vendettas and her role as the harbinger of a damning prophecy.

Blood Psalms was created by Layla Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka from Yellowbone Entertainment. The cast is led by Bokang Phelane (Keeping Score, Isidingo), Mothusi Magano and Zolisa Xaluva.

Nomsa Philiso, executive head of programming at Showmax parent MultiChoice, said: “Blood Psalms is the biggest and most ambitious series we’ve ever made, completely unlike any other African series you’ve ever seen. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Phelane added: “This show was specifically created as a reimagining of ourselves as Africans, as an answer to ‘Who are we?’ It’s done in a very entertaining way, with a lot of drama and action. I got to witness the greats at work. The cast is filled with actors who have inspired me from quite early in my life to pursue acting.”

Blood Psalms will also have its world premiere in Cape Town on August 24 as the opening-night screening at MipAfrica, part of FAME Week Africa.

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Real Housewives head to Nairobi, Pretoria

The Real Housewives of Cape Town

NBCUniversal-owned reality format The Real Housewives is set to expand into two more African cities, Nairobi in Keyna and Pretoria in South Africa.

In Pretoria, the 14-part series is being produced and filmed by independent production company Provoco, while filming will commence on the Nairobi version in September under Kenyan production house Young Rich Television.

The latest editions of the franchise come via a partnership between South Africa-based pay TV company MultiChoice and US studio NBCUniversal, part of cable giant Comcast Communications.

Local versions of the format, which centres on a group of powerful and affluent women in a certain location, have successfully debuted in fellow African cities Johannesburg, Durban, Lagos and, most recently, Cape Town.

Ana Langenberg, senior VP of format sales and productions at NBCUniversal Formats, said: “We are so proud to build on the continued success of The Real Housewives franchises across Africa.

“The way each version faithfully embodies the spirit of the city, people and rich cultures it showcases connects with audiences across the region and the diaspora. It was such a magical moment to bring our production partners together with MultiChoice for our summit in Cape Town to connect, collaborate and map out more versions we can add to the family.”

Nomsa Philiso, executive head of content at MultiChoice’s content arm, MNet Channels, added: “The Real Housewives franchise is proving to be very popular with our diverse audiences. This has allowed us to continuously expand and increase to different territories as we operate across Africa. This may be a global franchise, but our spin is authentically African. Leeping up with our viewers’ tastes and preferences is important, and The Real Housewives franchise meets our audience’s needs.”

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NIFS 2022 to focus on Streaming Wars

This year’s Nigerian International Film & TV Summit (NIFS), which is taking place in Lagos from August 29 to September 1, will have a particular focus on the so-called Streaming Wars.

Ijeoma Onah

The event aims to enlighten people about the industry and create opportunities for people to network and connect to grow the sector. The theme for 2022’s edition is ‘Streaming Wars: The implications on future of content monetisation for film and TV content,’ referring to the huge increase of direct-to-consumer services over the past couple of years.

Discussions will address the challenges, solutions and opportunities that currently exist in film and TV.

NIFS has also partnered with Animation Nigeria and the French Embassy to present the Animation Focus Session. This will address issues surrounding investment in Nigerian animation and spotlight the achievements of the Nigerian animation industry for financiers and investors.

Keynote speakers include John Momoh, chairman of Channels Media Group; Ayanna Lonian, director of content acquisition and head of WW major studio licensing strategy at Amazon Prime Video; Bola Atta, executive producer at Lagos-based online network RedTV; and Ope Ajayi, chairman of the Cinemas Exhibitor Association of Nigeria.

Also speaking at NIFS are are Joy Odiete, president/CEO at Blue Pictures Distribution; Femi Odugbemi, founder/executive at Zuri 24 Media; Obi Emelonye, filmmaker at The Nollywood Factory; Adedayo Thomas, CEO of the National Film & Video Censors Board; Moses Babatope, MD of FilmOne Entertainment; Obi Asika, CEO of Cabal entertainment; Biodun Stephen, filmmaker at Shutterspeed Projects; and Jade Osiberu, founder of GREOH Studios.

There will also be a scriptwriting session called UK-Nigeria Scriptwriting Workshop, in partnership with the British Film Institute, aimed at giving writers the opportunity to hone their craft and make connections with other writers.

NIFS founder and SuperTV CEO Ijeoma Onah said: “The three-day NIFS event will provide the perfect platform to tackle critical industry issues, make connections and chart a defined course for the film and TV business as the streaming wars unfold across the Nigerian film and media landscape.”

For more info and to register, click here.

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kykNET enters Deep Waters with Penguin

South African network kykNET, which broadcasts in the Afrikaans language, will debut a new telenovela called Diepe Waters (aka Deep Waters) in October.

Waldimar Pelser

Produced by Penguin Films, the prodco behind kykNET soaps Arendsvlei and Afgrond, Diepe Waters revolves around a competitive swimming club. The business brings together several families “who will do everything in their power to keep their heads above water while they hope that their secrets will sink into deep waters,” according to the producers.

Waldimar Pelser, director of the kykNET channels, said: “Diepe Waters was created by a world-class team that knows and tries to better understand kykNET’s viewers and the South Africa of today. Every weekday evening between Monday and Thursday at 18.00, these characters will live in the homes of our viewers, with whom we hope they will fall in love.”

Roberta Durrant, creative producer of Diepe Waters and co-owner of Penguin Films, added: “This show is unusual and something different, yet a telenovela about love, secrets, intrigue and plans for revenge. We have an incredible cast and interesting setting, and we hope viewers will resonate with that.”

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Nollywood movie duo get release dates

Two new Nollywood movies, Obara’M and Passport, are set to debut in cinemas in the coming weeks.


Obara’M (My Blood) will premiere on August 26. The musical movie tells the story of an emerging musician who is forced to confront her true self and her past mistakes.

Produced by Kayode Kasum and directed by Dare Olaitan, its cast includes Nancy Isime, Onyeka Onwenu, Ikponmwosa Gold and Deyemi Okanlawon.

Passport, meanwhile, is a ghetto comedy that will be released on September 2. It follows two main characters as they find themselves intertwined while trying to navigate a new life together.

Passport is distributed by Film One Entertainment, directed by Dimeji Ajibola and produced by Vincent Okonkwo. It stars Mercy Johnson-Okojie, Jim Iyke, Zubby Micheal, Adedeji Lateef and Emem Ufot.

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