Tag Archives: Dorothy Ghettuba

Ghettuba: tell African stories to the world

Netflix’s Dorothy Ghettuba told the MipAfrica conference this week about the need to take African stories around the world and to work with African creatives, and explained the streamer’s efforts to be inclusive.

Dorothy Ghettuba at MipAfrica

Ghettuba, director of African originals at Netflix, told the inaugural MipAfrica event in Cape Town, South Africa, that storytellers are important because they are the custodians of our history, present and the future. “We are responsible for preserving our culture, for showcasing our culture in whatever form you tell your story,” she said.

“If you look at Hollywood, it’s local American stories; in Bollywood, those are local Indian stories; and in Nollywood — I admire Nigerians saying, ‘This is the party, you are welcome to join’ — they are telling authentic Nigerian stories,” Ghettuba told delegates.

“We have found that the shows that do the best are the ones that are locally specific. There is an unwavering dedication to telling local stories and it is our responsibility to tell our stories to the world. Let us continue being brave, courageous and tell our stories to the rest of the world.”

She added that for an organisation like Netflix, being inclusive was key and a sound business decision because good stories come from around the world.

The streamer has embarked on a mission to get more African content on to its platform, including signing deals with Nigeria’s EbonyLife Media and John Boyega’s UpperRoom Productions.

African content on Netflix so far incudes spy thriller Queen Sono, teen drama Blood & Water, gangster drama King of Boys: The Return of the King, sci-fi animated series Team 4 and historic drama Amina.

On getting along with African creatives, Ghettuba suggested MipAfrica delegates try three things: “You need to honour them and respect them for their craft, you need to pay them well and pay them on time, and make sure our creatives are happy. They are doing what it is they need to do to tell the best stories.”

She added that she makes sure the team at Netflix have what they need to be able to help creatives do their best work.

MipAfrica is a market for film, television and digital content distribution and coproduction in Africa. The event joins event organiser RX’s portfolio of TV industry gatherings MipTV and Mipcom in France, plus MipCancun in Mexico and MipChina.

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Akin Omotoso’s Brave Ones set for Netflix

The Brave Ones, a South African fantasy film created by Nigerian film director Akin Omotoso, will debut on global streamer Netflix on September 16.

The film follows the story of a goddess who is reborn and has to learn how to harness her superpowers to avenge her sister’s death and protect her family from destruction. The cast includes Sthandile Nkosi, Nomalanga Nkosi, Bonko Khoza, Zamani Mbatha and Keke Mphuthi.

“The show is entertaining, enchanting, packed with lots of drama and a labour of love with swinging tears and I can’t wait for you to see it,” said Omotoso.

“In 2019, a few months after I joined Netflix, I met Akin Omotoso and he had a great story to tell,” said Dorothy Ghettuba, director of original series for Africa at Netflix.

“This became the first show I signed. It has been three years in the making and I cannot wait for you all to watch it! My biggest lesson has been that some things just take time.”

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Netflix, Realness Institute set up writers lab

Global streaming service Netflix has partnered with African filmmaking organisation Realness Institute on an episodic content development lab for writers of series.

Dorothy Ghettuba

Submissions will be taken between November 30 and January 31, 2021 and are open to writers in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria who have film and TV experience, fiction or factual, in any language.

Six writers will be selected from the submissions to work on projects that will be developed and commissioned by Netflix while they will be paid a stipend of US$2,000 per month to develop their concepts in series format from June to September 2021. For updates, click here.

Dorothy Ghettuba, head of African original programming at Netflix, said: “We strongly believe that Africa has a wealth of untold stories. As we grow our slate of originals in Africa, partnerships with organisations like Realness will help us achieve our goal of investing in writers who will bring diverse genres of authentic, local stories that will ensure our audience members see their lives reflected on screen.”

Mehret Mandefro, director of development and partnerships at Realness Institute, added: “This programme is a response to the dramatically changing broadcasting ecosystem which has a very important role to play in building a thriving media ecosystem in local markets and providing episodic creators with distribution opportunities.”

Elias Ribeiro, co-founder and creative director at Realness Institute, said: “We had fun shaping the programme with the Netflix team. We all share a love for storytelling and Netflix’s writer-centric approach is very much in line with our ethos.”

Realness was founded in 2015 to support the development of African content. It has delivered a yearly Screenwriters’ Residency and in 2020 hosted the first Creative Producer Indaba, a year-long trainee programme for development execs, in association with EAVE, International Film Festival Rotterdam’s IFFR Pro and the Sundance Institute.

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Netflix renews Queen Sono for S2

Pearl Thusi in Queen Sono

Global streaming service Netflix has announced the renewal of its first African original series, Queen Sono, for another season.

The first run of the six-part series follows Queen Sono, played by Pearl Thusi, who becomes an unconventional spy after the death of her mother and is devoted to protecting the people of Africa. Haunted by her past, she finds herself torn between her career and search for justice.

S2 will see Queen search for the truth as her newfound need for revenge takes her on a mission across Africa while dealing with her family’s past and her complicated love life.

The show, made by South Africa-based studio Diprente, is expected to go into production later this year. The cast also includes Vuyo Dabula, Sechaba Morojele, Chi Mhende, Loyiso Madinga, Rob Van Vuuren, Kate Liquorish, Khathu Ramabulana and Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa.

Director Kagiso Lediga said: “I am so excited by the appetite for African stories and that Netflix is continuing to partner with us to bring to life the next chapter of Queen’s story and showcase it to the world.”

Dorothy Ghettuba, head of African original series at Netflix, added: “The first season of Queen Sono marked the beginning of our journey to introduce the world to exciting stories that are made in Africa. It was an unprecedented representation of a strong female black lead in African television.

“In the first season of Queen Sono, we saw grit and glamour, strength and vulnerability, as well as the past and the present, converge into a powerful narrative that explored the complexities and nuances of the African experience.”

Executive producer Tamsin Andersson said: “We are thrilled to continue our production of Queen Sono S2 with Netflix. The hard work from S1 paid off and we’re excited that the brand is investing further in the growth of our local production team.’’

While Queen Sono is Netflix’s first script-to-screen original production on the continent, the streaming platform is gearing up to debut another African original globally, Blood & Water, a young-adult drama series set in Cape Town.

Although scheduled for release soon, no firm date has yet been announced.

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