Tag Archives: Femi Odugbemi

Soyinka autobiography adapted as film

Nigerian playwright, novelist and poet Wole Soyinka’s autobiography, The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka, is being adapted for the big screen.

Wole Soyinka

First published in 1972, the book explores Soyinka’s experiences in prison during the Nigerian Civil War, after his vocal opposition to the military government’s actions resulted in a 22-month imprisonment. Delving into his harrowing experiences behind bars, it explores themes of survival, perseverance and resilience.

The film adaptation is being produced by Femi Odugbemi and directed by Awam Amkpa. The cast is led by British-Nigerian actor Wale Ojo – best known for movies The Hard Case (1995) and Phone Swap (2012) – playing the role of Soyinka.

Rounding out the cast are Chidi Mokeme, Sam Dede, Norbert Young, Francis Onwochei, Edmond Enabe, Segilola Ogidan, Simileoluwa Hassan and Christiana Oshunniyi.

Ojo said: “Ladies and gentlemen I present to you The Man Died. It was an absolute honour to portray one of the greatest figures in literature that Nigeria has ever produced, as well as a man who has made a huge impact upon the politics and people of his generation.”

The film is being produced by Odugbemi’s Lagos-based production company Zuri24 Media. It will premiere in cinemas this July to coincide with Soyinka’s 90th birthday.

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MultiChoice Talent Factory opens webinars

MultiChoice Talent Factory, in partnership with the Dolby Institute, has launched an online learning channel for content creators in the movie industry.

Femi Odugbemi

From now until June 4, recorded webinar series covering a range of topics will be made available on the MTF Portal every Thursday from 13.00 to 14.00 CAT.

The webinars will help creatives advance in the art of storytelling, whether they’re making a film, mixing the sound for a sporting event, or designing the next-generation music experiences.

Femi Odugbemi, MTF academy director, said: “West Africa is the leading video entertainment provider on the continent and MultiChoice recognises the importance of understanding sound to tell authentic African stories.

“This partnership with Dolby will benefit storytellers across the continent and support the growth of the home-grown entertainment industry.”

Participants can access the portal by clicking here.

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Nigerian TV celebs receive Rock of Fame

A trio of Nigerian TV stars and executives have been honoured with the Rock of Fame Award by the Nigerian Film Society (NFS) as part of the Zuma Film Festival (ZUFF) in Abuja.


Popular TV comedian Chief Chika Okpala, aka Zebrudaya; film director Femi Odugbemi; and Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, director-general of the Nigerian Television Authority, have been honoured with the award. The gongs were handed out on Friday at the closing ceremony and award night of the ninth edition of ZUFF.

Chidia Maduekwe, chairman of the ZUFF organising committee, said: “This is our modest attempt at appreciating the enormous contributions of these practitioners in the Nigerian film industry and their achievements.

“They are today recognised as the first recipients of the Nigerian Film Society Rock of Fame Award, the highest professional recognition within the Nigeria film industry based solely on merit. The labour of love and commitment to Nigeria’s development of our industry geniuses shall continually be recognised and rewarded.”

The aim of the NFC through ZUFF 2018 is to raise awareness of the need to preserve Nigeria’s memory for future generations of Nigerians.

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Call to keep content production in Nigeria

Nigeria’s creative industry is being held back thanks to the amount of local content being shot abroad, the country’s producers have claimed.

Lolu Akinwunmi

Femi Odugbemi, former president of the Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria, has claimed that Nigeria has the technical expertise to produce commercials but fears that local content is being ignored by creative agencies.

“The problem of shooting TV commercials abroad is killing Nigeria’s economy because our creative agencies and their clients, mostly multinationals, go abroad for production when it can be offered locally and pay foreign vendors in foreign currencies,” he said.

“The practice became popular when companies operating in Nigeria started going abroad to bring in marketing directors. Of course, such directors will influence the company to go to their own country for commercial production, leading to huge capital flight.

“My question is this: why do we think it makes sense to build the economy of another country through their creative industry and leave our own? Again, how many of these brands being overseen by foreign marketing directors have become global brands?”

The Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had warned that in order to promote Nigeria’s creative industry, the production of local content such as movies and music videos in foreign countries could be banned, but his warning was not heeded.

Production work that could be handled in Nigeria is still being done in countries like South Africa and the UK.

Odugbemi said that if some aspects of the Nigerian industry could go global, then locally produced content would be accepted worldwide.

Taye Ige

“It is absurd when we use foreign music that has no local relevance in a TV commercial meant for Nigeria,” he added. “If you find yourself in a foreign land, you should be able to understand the culture of the people the moment you watch their ads – but unfortunately that cannot be said of Nigeria as our banks, telcos and other multinationals still go abroad and import content.”

The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) had initially placed a check on this by drafting a reform to promote local content by charging extra for commercials produced outside the country.

They believed that commercials were being shot abroad because of inadequate technology and manpower at home.

Lolu Akinwunmi, a former chairman of APCON, said: “It is difficult to stop them under the law of free enterprise. They have a right, but for the country to avoid going into free fall, we can do what the local industry did in Brazil: if you wish to use material produced abroad, you pay an extra cost. China did it too. This way, the federal government will stop them. ”

Taye Ige, CEO of media business HS Group, said a lot of money is being spent shooting commercials abroad.

“Perhaps we are not proud of what we have but I’m confident that there is equipment and adequate technology support locally to produce commercials meant for our market. By going abroad, we are losing a lot in the area of logistics and other production requirements. Since Nigerians pay for the consumption of these products, they must be allowed and encouraged to participate in their production,” Ige said.

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MultiChoice partners Joburg Film Festival

MultiChoice Group has partnered with the third edition of the annual Joburg Film Festival, which is set to take place from November 19 to 24.

Joe Heshu

Aimed at showcasing the finest films from Africa and the world, the six-day film programme will have a line-up of local and international films that will be judged on elements such as storyline, direction, creativity, cinematography, relevance, execution and technical application.

The judges will be industry-leading experts such as renowned storyteller and South African novelist Zakes Mda, award-winning actress CCH Pounder and Femi Odugbemi, West Africa MultiChoice Talent Factory’s academy director.

Joburg Film Festival executive director Tim Mangwedi said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better partner than the MultiChoice Group, an organisation that is passionate about African storytelling, as we believe our stories are our gold.

“We see the film festival as a critical catalyst for social cohesion, showcasing a special collection of films that celebrate Africa’s beauty, people and creativity and reflecting the continent’s bold spirit and talent. We are confident that, in collaboration with the MultiChoice Group, we can build a world-class annual film festival that becomes entrenched on the international film circuit and positions Johannesburg as a prime destination for local and international filmmakers.”

Joe Heshu, MultiChoice’s executive group corporate affairs, said: “As Africa’s leading storyteller, our partnership with the Joburg Film Festival makes perfect sense. Our collaborative effort to bring African stories to the world and to provide a platform for local talent to shine will be an extremely positive boost for the film industry on the continent.”

The festival will allow industry professionals from the continent and elsewhere to participate in a series of masterclasses and panel discussions covering aspects of the filmmaking craft. It will also foster strong links between people and the growing film, TV and new digital media industries on the continent.

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MTF Academy seeks film, TV creatives

Pan-African networking platform MultiChoice Talent Factory is on the look-out for 60 aspiring film and TV creatives from 13 African countries to join the MTF Academy 2019.

The countries involved include Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Angola and Mozambique.

Aimed at igniting Africa’s creative industry through TV and filmmaking, this is another opportunity for young filmmakers to hone the skills they have in television and film production under the mentorship of industry experts like Berry Lwando, Njoki Muhoho and Femi Odugbemi, respectively.

Set to join in October, the selected students will be part of the fully funded programme at three academy hubs in southern Africa (Lusaka, Zambia), East Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) and West Africa (Lagos, Nigeria).

They will have hands-on training in the film industry, storytelling, cinematography, production, audio and directing. They will also be able to work on live sets during local TV productions and create original content that will be aired on various local M-Net channels across MultiChoice’s platforms DStv, GOtv and Showmax.

To apply, visit www.multichoicetalentfactory.com before June 14.

In an effort to invest in Africa’s creative industry, MultiChoice Talent Factory recently introduced the MTF Masterclass series as well as the MTF Portal, which brings together talent and opportunities on one platform.

A statement on the company’s website reads thus: “At MultiChoice Africa, the African entertainment industry is at the core of who we are and what we do. This social investment programme shows our commitment – alongside long-term partnerships with government, stakeholders and creative organisations – to develop Africa’s creative industries into vibrant, economic centres. This is how MultiChoice uses the power of entertainment to enrich lives.”

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MultiChoice reveals Talent Factory shortlist

Broadcaster MultiChoice has released the names of 20 shortlisted applicants who have been selected to join the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF).

Femi Odugbemi

Narrowing it down from about 3,000 applicants from Ghana and Nigeria, the MTF judges made their selections based on the candidates’ industry qualifications and their passion for telling the African narrative.

Femi Odugbemi, film director and producer and MTF regional director, said: “From the thousands of applications received, it’s evident there’s a strong desire to learn from and work with other African creatives.

“Not only will the MultiChoice Talent Factory be a springboard to a career in the entertainment industry, it will also create a closely knit community of African professionals with a willingness to narrate Africa’s stories to the world,” he added.

The shortlisted students include Nigerian candidates Idongesit Amba, Allen Onyige, Gilbert Bassey, Precious Iroagalachi, Nanret Paul Kumbet, Akpera Mnena, Umm’salma Saliu, Ugwu Uchenna Eileen, Sonia Nwosu, Moses Akerele, Metong Minwon, Bolaji Adelakun, Joseph Adeniyi, Kemi Tamara Adeyemi, Tochukwu Nwaiwu and Blessing Bulus.

John Ugbe

The Ghanaian candidates are Edmund Kobby Asamoah, Henry Konadu Denkyira, Irene Dumevi Yaamoakoa and Patience Esiawonam Adisenu.

MultiChoice will sponsor the students’ tuition, accommodation and stipend for the duration of their training in the academy. The MTF academy will begin on October 1.

John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice, said: “As a company that is deeply rooted in Nigeria, we understand that many young, aspiring filmmakers have the capacity to learn and strengthen their skillset to give back to their communities but may not be financially equipped to do so.

“The MultiChoice Talent Factory focuses on making sure that those gems are nurtured and their talents developed to contribute meaningfully to Africa’s creative industry.”

From next month, MTF students will begin to acquire new skillsets required to work in the television and film industry. At the end of the 12-month programme, they will be expected to produce content for TV and film that will air on M-Net channels as part of MultiChoice pay TV platforms DSTV and GOtv.

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MultiChoice opens talent academy

MultiChoice, owner of pan-African pay TV platforms DSTV and GOtv, has launched a new initiative to boost the African creative industries.

John Ugbe

MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) is intended to improve the African film and television industry and comprises three parts: an academy, masterclasses and a portal.

It began with the launch of a regional academy, which offers a 12-month educational curriculum, in Lagos. Others are located in Kenya and Zambia.

Sixty applicants from 13 countries will be admitted to the MTF Academy, which will begin classes on October 1. Applications are currently open and will close on the June 5.

John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “The film and television industries have not developed at the same pace as other industries on the continent, and not for a lack of talent, passion or imagination. We are abundantly blessed in these areas. However, the space given for this expression has at best been limited and, at worst, been relegated to the fringes of the mainstream economy, leaving in its wake, unfulfilled dreams, unexplored talent and unwritten stories.”

Femi Odugbemi, the director of the MTF Academy, West Africa, said: “We must consciously build capacity so that our next-generation filmmakers and producers can also create wealth and create employment by being entrepreneurs.”

MTF Academy students are expected to produce content for TV and film which will air on DSTV and GOtv.

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Experts debate future of Pay TV

Pay TV company MultiChoice has held the fifth edition of its annual Digital Dialogue Conference in Dubai.

John Ugbe

The four-day conference saw media professionals and stakeholders discuss the future of Africa’s pay TV industry.

The speakers included David Abraham, former CEO of Channel 4 in the UK; marketing innovation expert and futurist Paul Papadimitriou; Yolisa Phahle, CEO of MNet; Nollywood filmmaker Femi Odugbemi; and John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice Nigeria.

Discussing the amplification of African stories with digital technology, Yolisa Phahle said that creative innovation in local content is what keeps viewers interested.

“You speak to any of the people involved in the early days of MultiChoice, one of the things they remind me of is the absolute necessity to not just understand what the future holds but to shape the future, to be a disruptor and, if necessary, even to cannibalise yourself. ‘Why launch GOtv when you already have DStv?’ for example. But MultiChoice Africa was launched by people who were creating a media company not for the present, but one for the future,” she said.

According to her, creating local content in languages audiences understands is what makes content king. Emphasising the necessity for local content, she said that MultiChoice ensures it keeps all of Africa informed by producing 16 local content channels across the continent which showcase local storytellers.

“Today, in the midst of the digital revolution, collectively we have the opportunity to not only tell stories that educate and inform African audiences, but the digital age means we are in a position to take African stories to the world and create a global market for what we do.

David Abraham

“By using the internet and leveraging technology, we have the ability to reach audiences at a global level and the success of companies like Iroko TV, artists like Davido, actresses like Lupita N’yongo and the movie Black Panther are confirmation that the world is ready to consume African stories, celebrate African culture and embrace African languages,” she said.

Agreeing with Phahle, Peter Papadimitriou highlighted reasons why pay TV companies should put consumers’ interest above all else. “The current challenge for pay TV companies is to shift the focus from content delivery systems to understanding its consumers through primary data. For instance, when they watch, how long and how much,” he said.

“The new consumer is nomadic, they can be everywhere and anywhere – tribal, gathering around similarities. Singular, entrepreneurial and being who they want to be.”

Abraham discussed the plight of both pay and free TV. The pay model is about a battle between free TV and service providers’ creating pay walls and maintaining exclusivity over key content in order to promote monthly subscriptions and minimise loss of customers, he claimed. But now, broadband, as an additional service, and mobile phone technology is threatening this.

The advent of telecoms service providers raised the question of whether consumers will be able to shuttle between so many providers to find the best content.

“The African continent, with its younger populations and progressive use of mobile, can both build on and leapfrog Western markets in terms of future models of content creation and distribution,” he said.

The Digital Dialogue Conference is an annual event organised by MultiChoice Africa. Since its inception in 2012, it has become a thought leadership platform that fosters a better understanding of the future direction of Africa’s pay TV industry.

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Countdown to MTF Academy begins

The first MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Academy, which was unveiled in May, is set to begin in Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia.

Femi Odugbemi

It will be kickstarted by a symbolic walk to freedom by the African film and television industry on October 1 – the day Nigeria gained independence. The walk symbolises freedom from challenges that have hindered the progress of the industry.

Each academy will host 20 skilled individuals who have a one-year funded opportunity to learn skills in storytelling, film editing, cinematography and audio production. Filmmaker Femi Odugbemi, who heads the MTF Academy in Lagos, will pass on his knowledge in film and TV production to the students.

“We must consciously build capacity so that our next-generation filmmakers and producers can also create wealth and create employment by being entrepreneurs,” he said.

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MultiChoice academy gets 3,000 applicants

MultiChoice Africa has received more than 3,000 applications from across the continent for its Talent Factory training academy.

Femi Odugbemi

Candidate interviews and screenings are now underway as judges select 60 people to join the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF).

Successful candidates will be given the opportunity to hone their skills in television and film production as they undergo training at the MTF academy in Lagos. Classes will begin on October 1.

Highlighting the importance of the academy, filmmaker and MTF West Africa director Femi Odugbemi said: “The next generation must understand that, as filmmakers, they are the historians of the modern age.”

Femi, who is also among the judges, added :“We have got to have great filmmakers who are willing to take on big themes and unearth untold stories, and all of that requires us to be deliberate about how we mentor the next generation. We have to be very deliberate that the next generation will not tell stories uneducated.”


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