Disbook #11

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The Africa Channel broadcasts in North America and the Caribbean and showcases contemporary Africa through outstanding television series, specials, documentaries, feature ďŹ lms, music and lifestyle programs.

TAC Studios, a division of The Africa Channel, Inc., develops, produces and distributes original and acquired premium multicultural lifestyle content globally.

Demand Africa, a division of The Africa Channel, Inc., streams TV series, movies and entertainment designed for our users online, in-home or on-the-go.


THREE COMPANIES ONE MISSION Celebrating Africa’s Influence on the World Visit us at: MIPCOM 2017 (Cannes): Booth # R7.M2 DISCOP 2017 (Johannesburg): Booth # www.theafricachannel.com



Each spring, for a few weeks from early October to early November, the purple blossoms of thousands of jacaranda trees can be seen adorning many streets of Johannesburg.

When the jacarandas ethereal blue flowers thrive it’s also the very time when DISCOP Johannesburg takes place. DISBOOK #11’s cover pays tribute to these magnificent trees, one of Johannesburg’s landmarks (plus, legend says that if a jacaranda blossom falls on your head, it's considered good luck.) IN THIS ISSUE

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Jacarandas have more in common than you’d think with the sales, acquisitions and productions of film, television, digital content, adaptation rights and packaged TV channels in Sub-Saharan Africa. In this issue for instance, a lot of it is about booming, blossoming, maturing, flourishing - and all referring to Africa. Discussing the continent’s production of content, its animation industry, its creativity, its diversity, its potential, you name it. “African content is the king,” is how Patrick Zuchowicki, DISCOP markets founder concluded last year’s DISCOP edition. So it’s no wonder that the 2017 edition shows an ever growing appetite for African made content. I wish you a fruitful DISCOP Johannesburg 2017 Françoise Lazard, Editor in chief. The most spectacular jacaranda blossom locations in Joburg’s neighborhoods ROSEBANK: along Tyrwhitt Avenue and on either side of Oxford Road (about 10 min drive from the Sandton Convention Centre). PARKWOOD: along Bath Avenue and on Bristol, Wantage, Griswold or Rutland Roads, (about 15 min drive from the Sandton Convention Centre). MELVILLE: the hotspots are on 4th Avenue (about 30 min drive from the Sandton Convention Centre). GREENSIDE: on Clovelly Street, parallel to Barry Herzog Avenue (about 30 min drive from the Sandton Convention Centre). WESTCLIFF: at the top of The Westcliff Stairs, and from the terrace at the Four Season Hotel The Westcliff (about 30 min drive from the Sandton Convention Centre). OBSERVATORY: the view from the house museum of L. Ron Hubbard (about 35min drive form the Sandton Centre). LINKSFIELD: on Linksfield Drive up Linksfield ridge (about 35 min drive from the Sandton Centre). KENSINGTON: along Highland Road and Juno Street (about 35 min drive from the Sandton Centre).





116 UNDER THE RADAR The rise of the Ethiopian film and TV industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 The importance of music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118


A growing appetite for Nigerian Music . . . . . 120


Zanzibar: the ultimate destination for the entertainment content production industry . . 122

German TV series and the international marketplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 The strong and lasting relationship between Germany and South Africa . . . . . . . . 74 The importance of Africa for Deutsche Welle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 “Sew the Winter to my Skin”, a new South African-German venture . . . . . . . . . . . 80 85 TRENDS & BUSINESS Happy Birthday TV5 Monde Afrique! . . . . . . . 85 Hyper local is the true local (according to Showmax) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90


Joseph Hundah of Econet Media, talks about his excitement about content consumption and collaboration with local producers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Mahala TV, the new platform on the block . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 In a changing environment, being adaptable is key: Q&A with Sandra Coulibaly, the new sales and marketing manager at Côte Ouest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Côte Ouest is not afraid of digital, on the contrary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 FranceTV Distribution on the potential of the African marketplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

ART DIRECTION: Sharon Halevi - sharonhalevi@basiclead.com ADVERTISING: Patrick Zuchowicki - patrickzuchowicki@basiclead.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Urzsula Gleisner - urszula.gleisner@gmail.com Andy Kozlov - andykozlov@basiclead.com Joseph Perrette - intern@basiclead.com Russell Southwood - editorial@balancingact-africa.com Yirgashewa Teshome - yirgity@yahoo.com

The growing influence of African stories (and of The Africa Channel) on the world . . . . 101

Garland Waide Bradford - garlandwaide@gmail.com

A stroll to Turner land . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

TRANSLATIONS: Séverine Seales - hello@scnlanguagesolutions.com

Trace is digging into the distribution and production of content . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110


EDITOR IN CHIEF: Françoise Lazard - francoiselazard@basiclead.com

Nick Wilson - nick@thecar2n.tv

PROOFREADING & COPY EDITING: Emily Mibach - emilymibach@gmail.com

Chinese content that speaks to African viewers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111

Printed in Johannesburg by Ultra Litho Printers (Pty) Ltd. wanda@ultralithoprinters.co.za

Local content is the local King!: The case study of The Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

Published by BASIC LEAD 5967 West Third Street | Suite 350 | Los Angeles, CA. 90036 | USA TEL + 1 323 782 13 00

New boutique prodco Ideas For Films unveils two shining and explosive TV miniseries . . . . . 98




Film and TV pros recall their first feelings in front of the small screen

I was born in Pretoria and grew up in a township called Mamelodi. We were not among the first families to have televisions when it was introduced in South Africa. Instead my first memory of television was going to a neighbour’s house to watch from there. We were initially let in for free but with time we were charged 50 cents - meant to buy polish for the floors. South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was the only broadcaster at the time, with only two channels, one in English and the other in Afrikaans. We had to watch programmes and news in these languages. The programmes would only come on at about 17:00 in the afternoon until 22:00 at night. My first recollection of a favourite programme was Pinochio which was in Afrikaans. Our first television was a black and white TV bought in 1982. I remember how excited I was when I came back from school one afternoon to find that we had our television set and I did not have to go to the neighbours anymore. I am not certain about my first sport experience on television but it could have been golf or a cricket match between Transvaal and Northern Transvaal. However, I will not forget my first live soccer experience on television. This was a final between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. The experience was spoiled though, by SABC who only showed about 10 minutes every half hour - but lucky as replay was shown in full and broadcast in IsiZulu and Setswana. Needless to say that my team Kaizer Chiefs walloped Orlando Pirates 3-1. It was also in 1982 that vernacular was introduced by the SABC. However the coverage was limited. We now had three channels, SABC1, 2 and 3, with three being for black languages. It was not long when SABC started commissioning vernacular content for us to watch. My favourite series was dubbed from English into Afrikaans. It starred Roger Moore. If not mistaken the English title might have been “The Saint” and the Afrikaans title was “Steve Austin - Dime man Staal”. We only watched television in the afternoon and had to make way for adults to watch news and their programmes after 19:00. I only watched my favourite programmes though and preferred to play soccer outside. I guess because of the age and freedom playing outside brought. Terrence KHUMALO, Film Certification Manager NFVF (National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa)



I was born and bred in Nyahururu, a small town in Kenya. We didn’t have electricity up until I was 10 in 1997 :) My parents had an old black and white TV they’d bought in the 80’s before I was born, they lived in a different town at the time. This tv remained shelved (after I was born) since their new house didn’t have electricity. They later sold that tv to a friend. In 1997 they installed electricity, bought a small colored Sony TV. It must have been about 15 inches. Some of our neighbors had televisions before we got one, black and white, with a screen with multiple colors, to give an illusion of color! Back then there was only one channel, KBC, which wasn’t 24 hours a day. Broadcast started from 1:00 pm and ended at midnight. People used to eagerly wait for the channel to pick at 1:00 pm from the loud noise of the scrambled image. Every home with a TV had an aerial above the roof. So you could tell who did or didn’t have one. It was somewhat prestigious to own one. We had rich neighbors who had bigger televisions and satellite dishes (DTH). It must have cost them an arm and a leg to have those back then. My siblings would go there watch subtitled Indian shows (I can only recall “Ramayan”.) Sometimes the parents wouldn’t allow all the kids into their house, so some kids watched from outside through the window. I liked watching the local dramas “Vioja Mahakamani”, “Tausi”, “Vitimbi”, “Vituko”. I also recall an old dubbed Mexican telenovela called “Escrava Isaura” (I could even sing along to the soundtrack. Still can), and “Hardcastle and McCormick”, “Walker Texas Ranger”, “Derrick”, “Sesame Street”, “The Bold and the Beautiful”, “Generations”, “Blinky Bill” ...

I wasn’t much of a television person though, preferred being out playing. But I didn’t miss out on my favorite shows. Lucy MUTHUI, Senior consultant Icon Holdings (Kenya)



My first memories of television are from about the age of 5, lying on the floor of our lounge in Harare, Zimbabwe, (then called Salisbury, Rhodesia) every day at about 4:45 PM watching the test pattern on our little black and white TV in heightened anticipation of the “Tom and Jerry” cartoons that would start the evening broadcast at 5PM. Back then the TV also had to warm up first, and it would hum and sputter first as the valves and widgets warmed up inside, bringing much joy when the picture finally appeared. Rhodesia was also the 2nd country in Africa after Nigeria - and one of the first in the world - to get television - in 1960. Of course, it was an all-white TV world back then (despite the black and white broadcasts!) and the newscasters for the Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation were all white with names like Geoffrey Atkins, Martin Locke and Donna Wurzel most of whom moved to South Africa to work for the SABC after the war. We watched everything back in the day, and everything then meant American shows. As a kid my favourite shows were the “Jetsons”, “The Flinstones”, “Supercar”, “Lost in Space” and then as I got a little older I was allowed to watch “Get Smart”, “I Dream of Jeannie”, “Bonanaza”, “The High Chaparral”, “The Wild Wild West”, “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”, “Bewitched”, “I Love Lucy”, “The Beverly Hillbillies” etc Then in my teens and the 70’s it was “Kojak”, “The Osmonds”, “Columbo”, “Hawaii Five-O”. I loved “Mannix” – best hard-boiled detective ever. My father and I used to play a game called something like “guess the ending”, particularly with the procedural detective shows in which we would let each other know about halfway through exactly how it was going to end – and we were almost always 100% right! There was one local show called “Cooking with Wooty” I remember and this was long before special food channels or slow-motion shots of onions being chopped or dishes being prepared by hair-gelled chefs to slow jazz music, no scouring of exotic markets for rare ingredients cooked to traditional recipes. We had Wooty, and he had some bowls, some wooden spoons and a whisk. And Wooty liked to drink red wine from his wine glass as he cooked. Now I don’t mean a sip now and then or just to taste and so on. No, this man had a drinking problem. Except it wasn’t called a drinking problem back then; it was just called being Rhodesian. Also Wooty cooked recipes with ingredients you could find at the local supermarkets(OK Bazaars and Spar), which would have been on the very safe side of exotic – flour, eggs, some meat, a chicken, sunflower oil, margarine, rice. No galangal or shrimp paste drizzled with almond oil, let me assure you. Wooty also had hair that touched his collar which in those days was about as radical as one could ever get especially on TV .. It was great show and I still have – and use - his one recipe book also called Cooking With Wooty! Dan Jawitz, Producer FIREWORX MEDIA (South Africa)



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My first memory of television is the old wooden cabinet with a built in black and white tube and speaker my parents had. It took for ever to warm up and the channel never stayed for long. I really liked the cabinet as a prop and managed to have it migrate from the living room to my room when we moved from the very South-West of Germany to the very North-West when I was about to start school. We started bothering to switch-on in time and built elaborate antennas once my brother and I discovered “The Professionals”. I think they were on at 9:00PM. It was our secret entertainment for past bed-time. It was exciting! I loved the theme track, Bodie and Doyle’s style and dry humor.

Michael Henrichs, Managing Director and Producer, Die Gesellschaft DGS (Germany)

We used to live with my family at Surulere, Lagos. In the 90’s my first memories of television was from NTA 10, it was the largest network then. I remember clearly a content block every Saturday called “Cadbury Breakfast Telly” with the most amazing cartoons, starting from 10am to about 1pm. They showed the best from Freakazoid, Animaniacs, Pinkie & The Brain. Another nostalgic moment was on NTA 5 a programme called “Tales by Moonlight. I would struggle for the TV remote with my sister because she would prefer watching music videos - but I was resilient and got her to start watching cartoons as well. I grew up watching “Super Ted”, “Voltron”, “Biker Mice from Mars”, “Animaniacs”, “Loony Toons”, “Tales by Moonlight”, “Sledge Hammer,” Disney (of course) and many more. A seed was planted in my mind subconsciously. I was fascinated and excited and most of all inspired and drawn into story telling. It served as formative years which lead into my career - though the most powerful for me was gaming. TV went a long way in how I think, create and even my accent.








Somto Ajuluchukwu, Founder and CEO, Vortex Studios International (Nigeria) My earliest memory of film was when I was six years old in 1985, residing in Mdantsane Township, in the in the Southern Eastern region of Apartheid South Africa. One day my father brought home a VHS machine and two flicks. One was a spaghetti western called "The Unholy Four" by Enzo Barboni and the other was a kung fu picture called Little "Superman" by See-Yuen Ng. He arrived with them quite early in the day and just left the package without connecting anything. Having gone back to work he left me reeling with curiosity and anticipation for his return. All I had to work with was the two movies’ covers. I must have spent the better part of the day ogling the artwork. I was so enthralled by the premise and promise of the films’ cover art that I started imagining what would happen in each film. I played out both films in my head purely based on the artwork presented. By the time my father came home, he found me passed out on the floor by the TV with two VHS tapes clutched in my arms. Point of the story is that I fell in love with film iconography way before I had even watched a film. Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, Filmmaker (South Africa)




THE BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR! Ivorian actor Ahmed Souané with Pakistani actor Javed Sheikh, during the shooting of “In the Midst of a Dream”. The TV series is the first coproduction foray between an Indian major, ZEE Entertainment, and a French-speaking Africa public broadcaster, RTI (Côte d’Ivoire). Thanks to DISCOP Johannesburg networking opportunities, Ahmadou Bakayoko’s (RTI’s CEO) ambition to develop production of international premium content, met with ZEE’s plan to create fiction content outside of India. “In the Midst of a Dream” was shot in Dubaï and in Abidjan. The mix of cultures gives the series a truly international feel (distribution: RTI and Zee Entertainment).



PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE WITH JULIA ANASTASOPOULOS Julia Anastasopoulos is a South African actress, designer, illustrator and co-creator of a massively successful do-it-yourself YouTube series (with almost 22 million views), knoww as “SuzelleDIY”. Anastasopoulos answered our Proust Questionnaire, while filming in Capte Town the first of Showmax’s original series which will launch on the streaming service in December. What is your greatest fear? Falling from a great height

What do you most value in your friends? The safe space they give me to let go and be myself

What is your greatest extravagance? Skin products

Which talent would you most like to have? I would love to be able to sing and play the guitar If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? Definitely a bird Which living people do you most admire? The women in my life - my incredible mom and sisters.

What is your current state of mind? Calm with a flicker of chaos in the background What is your favorite occupation? Making things


What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Being highly critical of myself What is your greatest regret? I always regret not going for that swim

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Suzelle DIY! I’m also very proud of my first series, Tali’s Wedding Diary, coming to Showmax in December Which historical figure do you most identify with? Beatrix Potter

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Rudeness When and where were you happiest? Being holiday in Greece in 2015 with my husband Ari What is your most marked characteristic? My brown curly hair (which is now blonde!) Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I say “amazing” way too much.

On what occasion do you lie? When I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings

What is your motto? Keep going! (sung in Suzelle’s voice)


Leading international news channel in French-speaking Africa* and 29 million weekly viewers in Sub-Saharan Africa. * Sources: Gallup - Ipsos - Africascope 2016 - Kantar TNS

CONTACTS Jean-Marc Belchi

Apophia Komugisha

Sylvain BĂŠletre








NOLLYWOOD REVAMPED The remarkably vibrant and booming Nollywood industry generates about 2,000 movies a year, making it the second biggest producer globally after Bollywood and before Hollywood. The industry is becoming the largest employer in Nigeria (with more than 1 million people), with revenues topping $600 million annually in 2016. While the number of Nollywood aficionados continue to soar across and outside the continent, the quick/cheap filmmaking and straight to VHS and DVD Nollywood’s DNA is gradually morphing - better quality films, higher production values, focus on theatrical releases. As Balancing Act’s expert and journalist Russell Soutwood reports, a revamped Nollywood gradually appears - with Nigerian iROKO TV being not only a platform for Nollywood films but for moving quickly into content production and distribution, to the rise of distribution revenues with hit films in box office. To open this section, DISBOOK is honored to share with you two artworks by renowned Nigerianborn and New-York-based artist

Iké Udé, acknowledged as a master of portraits. From 2014 to 2016, Udé meticulously photographed more than 60 Nollywood talents and icons, from established actors to newbies (*). Udé’s artistic and beautiful series of tableaux is hommage to the most frequently viewed culture on the continent, and the talents behind.

(*) “Nollywood Portraits - A Radical Beauty,” by Iké Udé consists of three parts – an international touring exhibition, a coffee table book and a documentary. The documentary, “Nollywood in Focus”, profiles a cross section of Nollywood personalities including actors, directors, producers and special talents. It is currently in post-production. For more information, contact: Osahon Akpata, Project Manager - osahon. akpata@gmail.com. The coffee table book can be purchased online on Amazon. Udé’s work is in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Smithsonian Museum of Art, Sheldon Museum, RISD Museum, New Britain Museum of American Art, Minneapolis Institute of Arts and in many private collections. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions; reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Art in America, Flash Art, and Art News, among others.

Left: “Geneviève Nnaji” by Iké Udé, 2014-2016. Nnaji is arguably the reigning queen of Nollywood and is most beloved by ardent fans all over Nigeria, Africa and the diaspora. In 2011, she was honored as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian government for her contribution to the entertainment industry. She has starred in over 100 Nollywood movies.



32 “The School of Nollywood”, by Iké Udé, 2014-2016, inspired by Raphael’s “The School of Athens”, 1509





1. Genevieve Nnaji - Actress and producer. Over 100 movies.


2. Joke Silva - Actress and producer. 60 international and local movies



3. Olu Jacobs - Actor and producer. Over 200 international and Nigerian movies 4. Shawn “Faqua” Ibekwute - Actor. 25 movies


5. Linda Ihuoma Ejiofor – Actress. 10 movies 6. OC Ukeje - Actor, 30 movies 7. Beverly Naya - Actress. 15 movies





8. Ireti Doyle - Actress. 20 movies 9. Jim Iyke Esomugha - Actor producer and entrepreneur. 100 movies 10. Elochukwu Anigbogu a.k.a Elonel - Distributor and producer. 75 movies





11. Tope Tedela - Actor. 23 movies



12. Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen - Director and producer. Over 200 movies 13. Chinedu Ikedieze aka Aki - Actor and entrepreneur. Over 70 movies 14. Osas Ighodaro Ajibade - Actress. Over 20 movies 15. Lilian Esoro Franklin - Actress. 31 movies 16. Fidelis Duker - Filmmaker and producer. Over 100 movies 17. Udoka Oyeka - Actor, director, writer, and producer. 4 movies

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18. Kehinde Bankole - Actress. 10 movies 19. Daniel K. Daniel - Actor. 24 movies 20. Teco Benson - Director and producer. 60 movies 21. Tope Oshin - Director and producer. 13 movies and 4 TV series 22. Daniella Chioma Okeke - Founder of the Africa International Film Festival



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23. Monalisa Chinda - Actress, director, talk show host, and entrepreneur. Over 150 movies 24. Tamara Eteimo - Actress . 35 movies 25. Eku Edewor - Actress and TV personality. 3 movies and 2 TV series 26. Uti Nwachukwu - Actor, TV host, and model. 15 movies 27. Kemi Lala Akindoju - Actress and producer. 5 movies 28. Uru Eke - Actress and producer. 45 movies 29. Deyemi Okanlawon - Actor and creative entrepreneur. 12 movies 30. Alexx Ekubo - Actor. Over 50 movies & counting 31. Julius D’Genius Agwu - Actor, comedian, entertainer, and author. 15 movies and several TV series

41. Charles Novia - Filmmaker. 43 movies and 10 TV series

32. Ivie Okujaye - Actress, writer, and producer. Over 10 movies

42. Ebube Nwagbo - Actress and producer. Over 70 movies

33. Angel Ufuoma - Actress. 17 movies 34. Chelsea Eze - Actress. 30 movies 35. Reginald Chiedu Ofodile - Actor, writer, and lawyer. 14 movies 36. Taiwo Ajai-Lycett - Actress, producer, director. 10 movies and several TV series in the UK and Nigeria 37. Omoni Oboli - Actress, writer, producer, and director. 36 movies 38. Chinonso Young - Actress. 10 movies & counting


43. Chineze Anyaen - Director and producer. 1 movie 44. Chioma Ude - Founder of the Africa International Film Festival 45. Gbenro Ajibade - Actor, producer, host, and model. 15 movies and over 200 episodes in a TV series 46. Tunde Kelani - Filmmaker. 14 movies

39. Cossy Ojiakor - Actress and entrepreneur. Over 40 movies

47. Tina Amuziam - Actress and producer. Over 100 movies

40. Simi Opeoluwa - Director, producer, and special effects director. 39 movies

48. Tony Abulu - Director, writer, and producer. 5 movies


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49. Enyinna Nwigwe - Actor. 40 movies 50. Stephanie Okereke Linus - Actress, director, writer, and producer. Over 100 movies 51. Ozzy Agu - Actor and television personality. 7 movies 52. Richard Mofe Damijo - Actor. Over 70 movies 53. Desmond Elliott - Actor, director, and politician. Over 200 movies 54. Belinda Effah - Actress. 30 movies 55. Paul Obazele - Actor, director, and producer. Over 40 movies 56. Mary Lazarus - Actress. 40 movies


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60. Andy Abulu - Animation director and entrepreneur. 6 shorts, including 3 Cannes entries 61. Obi Emelonye - Director, screenwriter, and producer. 10 movies 62. Wole Alade - Musician and composer. 4 movies 63. Kiki Omeili - Actress. 2 movies 64. Sadiq Daba - Actor, producer, and director. Over 60 movies and TV productions 65. Gideon Okeke - Actor and producer. 7 movies

57. IkĂŠ UdĂŠ - Artist and photographer 58. Wale Ojo - Actor. 15 movies 59. Kunle Afolayan - Producer and director. 5 movies



IROKO TV BECOMES ONE OF THE CONTINENT’S BIG PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION PLAYERS with Jason Njoku QA & Founder and CEO of iROKO iROKOtv burst into the market as an online platform with a large diaspora audience. But it has grown to become one of continent’s sizeable production and distribution companies. Russell Southwood, CEO, Balancing Act talks to founder Jason Njoku about how it made the leap. Russel Southwood: So much has happened at iROKO in the last three years, perhaps you can start by describing what the company does? Production company? Distribution company? VoD platform? All of the above? Jason Njoku: Possibly all of the above – we started out as an aggregator and Nollywood platform. Over the last five years, we’ve diversified what we do – often due to market/customer demand. For example – we started producing our own content because we’d built an audience so thirsty for more and more Nollywood content, we couldn’t keep up with their demands as there wasn’t enough quality content out there to license for our platform – so we took matters into our own hands and started co-producing and producing original content. With that, we then moved into wider content distribution, as we were being approached by other platforms and distributors, around the world, for our content – so we built a business arm, iroko Global, around that. The SVoD part of our platform, iROKOtv, is what we are known for in the market, our flagship brand, if you will, but we actually work across a number of media spaces. R. S.: What level of productions are you doing annually? J. N.: We’re producing between 80-100 productions a year at the moment – this is entirely dependent on schedules and how quickly we can get a film or series into production. R. S.: Are all those productions of Nollywood films in Nigeria? J. N.: The vast majority are, yes – it’s what we know, it’s were our networks, teams, actors and production guys are. Rok Studios has shot a couple of films


in Ghana, too. We’d like to broaden our production shoots to other African countries, especially French Speaking Africa ones, in the future, as we’re building out an audience in these regions, thanks to our close partnership with Canal+. R. S.: In November 2016, Mary Njoku of your production arm Rok Studios announced that you were making a slate of films based on traditional African stories in vernacular Nigerian languages. How many of these have been released? J. N.: We’ve released three new Yoruba language films – “Okan Eniyan” (“The Heart of Man”), “Ona–Ipinun” (“Stand Alone”) and “Iyawo Adedigba” (“Adedigba’s Wife”) on iROKOtv and have had some great feedback on them. In terms of other indigenous language content, we’re still in early days discussions with those – when we do it, we want to do it right, which involves sourcing the right partners, in terms of both production and on-screen talent. R. S.: How big is your current catalogue (both licensed and own productions) and what sort of TV and film material does it contain? J. N.: We don’t release details of our catalogue size. However, we have really focused on investing in and filming original TV series – such as “Single Ladies, Cougars and Husbands of Lagos”. They’ve proved to be extremely popular across all of our platforms – online and on our across our TV channels, in Africa and in the UK. R. S.: How important is distribution and program sales to your overall business? J. N.: Critical – it makes up a significant part of iroko’s revenue stream and is an arm of the business that has seen particular growth over the last couple of years. In fact, a couple of years ago at DISCOP, my wife Mary sat on our stall, spoke to a lot of African and international distributors and sold practically all of what we had available for that season by the second day. It literally flew off the shelves, which I guess is validation for us moving into content production, as



NOLLYWOOD REVAMPED well as building out a separate arm of the business to facilitate distribution and program sales. R. S.: As you yourself have said, you’ve struggled to get VoD right in Nigeria. Give us a progress report on how well the Android app is working; how many people are actively using it and whether numbers are increasing? J. N.: Building the iROKOtv app from scratch and de-emphasizing the streaming platform in Africa was the biggest engineering project we’ve ever undertaken at iROKO, and involved our teams in Lagos, London and New York. Building a long-format content video app for Africa is in no way easy. The app is working pretty well – there are still one or two small wrinkles that we need to iron out, so to speak, but overall the app has been well received and, as of July 2017, Nigeria became our biggest market. It’s taken five years to reach this milestone, so the drastic adjustments to our product seem to sit well with our home market. R. S.: You’ve launched a VoD platform in francophone Africa with Canal +. How are things going there? J. N.: The platform is growing well – we’re extremely pleased with the fact that Francophone Africa has shown so much interest in our content and our platform. We’re under no illusion that VoD in French Speaking Africa is easy, or indeed any easier than, say Nigeria. It isn’t and it will still take a lot of time to really win the big audiences and ‘normalize’ VoD/SVoD as a typical means of consuming content – however we’re in a strong position to really take a hold of the market, thanks to the vast network Canal+ has in the region. Strategically, in terms of understanding the market, understanding what content resonates with audiences, and their ability to build customer bases in FSA, Canal+ are a real force on the continent, and our partnership with them has really been an eye-opener in terms of entering new markets. R. S.: How do you find working with Canal+ in Africa? J. N.: They have been in the African space far longer than us – so it’s great to have a partner on board who ‘gets’ Africa – consumer habits, an on-the-ground distribution network that’s been built steadily over so many years. We have a lot to bring, in terms of innovation and the ability to move quickly and nimbly, however we also learn a lot from them in terms of how to build a loyal audience in new markets. R. S.: Are you seeing a change in the attitude of mobile operators to VoD and streaming services? Are you getting more data bundle deals from them?


J. N.: In short, no – not yet. Data costs still remain high and the telcos are still not bundling SVoD packages competitively enough for our viewers to stream and watch hours of long-format content at a time – it would be too expensive for them. This is why we introduced the irokotv kiosks across Lagos from the end of last year – so our fans could buy subscriptions, learn how to download and use the app, but also actually download content directly onto their phones – data free downloads! We had to employ offline activations in order to facilitate online viewing – it seems a circuitous route to winning over customers, but a necessary one, and it actually gives us the opportunity to interact with our subscribers one-on-one, which is great. R. S.: Based on your experience with Nigeria and francophone Africa, what do you know about who’s using SVoD in Africa? J. N.: Our research suggests that SVoD users in Nigeria and Africa are predominantly relatively wealthy females aged between 18-34 whose personal interests include shopping, music & celebrity news/gossip. Only about 13% of Nigerians use their smartphone to access SVoD services online. They value content being new and of high quality –and are extremely vocal about what they want on social media channels, on our Live Chat and so forth. We’re constantly speaking to our customers and feeding back to the relevant teams, to make sure we keep building for our customer profile. R. S.: What’s holding back more Africans from using VoD and streaming services? J. N.: Data costs. That’s it –over 226 million Africans have the devices to watch VoD services on – smartphone penetration is set to grow massively, especially as more manufacturers are building sub $100 handsets. So Africans have the apparatus, they just don’t have meet the data costs [although I should caveat this with the fact that data costs vary across the continent – Nigeria is always my first point of reference and here, it is super-pricey]. R. S.: Do you still have a large diaspora audience for your VoD content? J. N.: Yes, we still have a considerable diaspora audience in the US, UK, Canada and across Europe. In fact, we launched a TV station on Sky in the UK last year – ROK on Sky. We knew that there was a Diaspora audience that would still prefer to watch Nollywood on a TV rather than on an Internet device, but looking at the viewing figures, I think we underestimated just quite how popular it would be – it has

NOLLYWOOD REVAMPED had a real impact in the market. So yes, VoD is one way we still engage with our audiences, but we also haven’t forgotten those who still prefer linear TV to get their Nollywood fix. R. S.: What have you got planned over the next 18 months? J. N.: We will continue to figure out ways to make irokotv as easy to access as possible – this means continuing to refine our product and make it as easy to download, pay for and watch content on as possible. VoD / subscription businesses in Africa are very very hard indeed. Hard to build, hard to scale, hard to monetize. Don’t forget, we are working in one of the most digitally hostile markets – yes, everyone has a

mobile phone and Africans are ‘leapfrogging’ technology with their mobile-first, a trope we all hear ad infinitum, but everything is x10 harder in Africa – everything from building the product with the best market fit, to taking payments. There are no easy routes to take, so irokotv will continue to take up much of our time and efforts as we continually refine and improve the product. With that, we also want to grow all areas of the business – ramp up production through Rok Studios, continue to build our offline audiences through our TV channels, both in and outside of the continent, and we’ll also build out our licensing arm of the company, to deliver even more content to our current, and hopefully new, global distribution partners.

Jason Njoku, Founder and CEO of iROKO. Having grown his business from his London bedroom, to a YouTube channel, to a stand-alone venture-capital backed dedicated movie platform, Njoku has built one of Africa’s largest Internet provider on the continent today, and has pioneered the African digital content market. Launched in 2010, iROKO has aggregated the world’s largest online Nollywood content catalogue. Njoku’s new venture is content production, distribution and sales.





Sola Sobowale (left) and Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome aka Ali Baba in “The Wedding Party” (2016) by Kemi Adetiba. The film has become the highest-grossing film in the history of the Nigerian box office

FROM COTTAGE INDUSTRY TO OIL BUSINESS A Nollywood transformation based upon theatrical release revenues builds content that will travel well

Nollywood used to be a cottage industry with pared down budgets, less than perfect quality and revenues driven by VCD and DVD sales. It was a race to collect revenues before the pirates started distribution. All that has now begun to change with a greater focus on theatrical distribution. Despite the recession, revenues have increased and greater professionalism may yet transform Nollywood. Russell Southwood, CEO, Balancing Act looks at how all this has come about. Two Nigerians are very important in this story of transformation: Kene Mkparu and Moses Babatope. They didn’t do it alone

but without them it’s hard to imagine things happening in quite the way they have. The man who executive produced “The Wedding Party”, Nollywood’s biggest ever grossing film, started life as a student working for the UK cinema chain, Odeon Cinemas. Moses Babatope worked his way up to become a Manager at the Odeon Greenwich. Here he started promoting Nollywood cinema events. He ran the first Nollywood film premiere (“The Successor”) in a mainstream UK cinema chain in 2006. I first met him in 2011 when he came to talk to me about these

events before he went back to Nigeria to work at Filmhouse. I met Kene Mkparu, founder of the Filmhouse cinema chain in 2014. During an early evening rainy season downpour with the generator going out several times, I interviewed him about how the chain got going: “We went to different mall developers and said we’re starting this new venture and we know how this thing works. This is our plan.” Unable initially to find private funding, it got money from two Government funds set up to help the country’s creative industries grow. It opened 4 new cinemas


NOLLYWOOD REVAMPED in 17 months. These are all in upscale communities but it wants to also be able to roll out community cinemas in low-income communities. A large proportion of its cinemas are digital and have highend sound, both things rarely seen outside of South Africa. Chinaza (Naz) Onuzo (the writer of “The Wedding Party”) had worked for ten years as an investment professional and wanted to go into films: “I’ve been an investment professional for 10 years but I’ve also got a degree in English and I wanted to exercise my creative muscle”. Whilst thinking of doing his first film, he was approached by the CEO, Kene Mkparu of Filmhouse for investment: “They had pitched us but we couldn’t do it.” But investment was approved when the company got more traction and it went from 3 cinemas to 10. Onuzo then partnered with Film One Distribution, the distribution arm of Filmhouse Cinemas (and others) on the production of “The Wedding Party”.

One of the striking changes in Nollywood is that budgets for films that are seen as having potentially good box office have gone up. Production budgets vary and there is a problem translating them into dollars because of multiple exchange rates but they are generally between US$200,000-1 million. The numbers have dropped a little since devaluation but are more or less the same. Onuzo says: “Some are able to deliver for under US $100,000. Some did US$20,000 and made US $150,000 (like “Wives on Strike”). Another example is “Alakada Reloaded” produced by You Tube star Toyin Abraham”. With increased budgets, arguably quality has increased. ”Filmhouse and Film One did not have a Hollywood studio approach to distribution but they bought a focus to Nollywood. They kept getting big Nollywood films and this in turn attracted more of those doing the big films to come to them. It’s why they are synonymous with the growth in cinema. Silverbird has also had some success with Nollywood”.

So what does the Top 10 grossing Nollywood films list tell us? Newer Nollywood films are benefitting from better distribution and revenues are going up: the number one film “The Wedding Party” grossed over twice the film in second place. There are now some very bankable Nollywood talents: comedian Ay with “A Trip to Jamaica” and “30 Days in Atlanta”; TV mogul Mo Abudu (“Fifty”) and actor and director Kunle Afolayan (“October 1” and “The CEO”). But it’s not all predictable, mature talent. Who could have predicted that Izu Ojukwu’s film “76” (about a failed military coup) would be such a success? Or that Omoni Oboli’s “Wives on Strike” (a film which uses comedy to look at the issue of child brides) would be up there in the Top 10? So why was “The Wedding Party” such a big hit? Babatope puts it down to timing: “Over the years we’ve been cultivating an audience and over the years the quality of film-making in Nigeria has been getting better. 2016 was the year where we got a bit more recognized critically by the world of film.”

TOP 10 HIGHEST GROSSING NOLLYWOOD FILMS EVER (MARCH 2017) The revenues shown include: theatrical screenings; special screenings; DVD sales and online streaming: 1. The Wedding Party (2016) . . . . . . . N450m

6. Wives on Strike (2016). . . . . . . . . . . . N71.3m

2. A Trip to Jamaica (2016). . . . . . . . . . N178m

7. Half a Yellow Sun (2013). . . . . . . . . . N60m

3. 30 Days in Atlanta (2014). . . . . . . . N137.2m

7. October 1 (2014) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N60m

4. Fifty (2015). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N94m

7. The CEO (2016). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N60m

5. Okafor’s Law (2016). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N90 m

10. Ije (2010). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N59.8m

6. 76 (2016). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N71.3m Source: .wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_Nigerian_films





NOLLYWOOD REVAMPED Film One had eight films in the 2016 Toronto Film Festival – one of which was “The Wedding Party” – and it also had “76” shown at the London Film Festival:”(“The Wedding Party”’s) a story that Nigerians would have loved to have seen themselves in.” There’s no longer a need to apologize for Nollywood’s production values. As Babatope told me at Nollywood Week in Paris: “We have an idea of the quality demands of our audience and what amounts of money we should be spending to give them the product they want.” The basis for this new Nollywood production success is very much embedded in the revival of theatrical releasing revenues. Currently as Onuzu sees it:” We’re beginning to see interest from South Africa and Francophone West Africa and we will see Nigerian films getting a vibrant theatrical life across the continent. There are 10-15 films a year that can travel well and

the big films will get even bigger. ics. Economics will increase quality and this Transactional VoD will also add will affect all tiers of the industry”. important additional incremental revenues”. Both Onuzo and Babatope make the same point. The gross for “The Wedding Party” so The latter is a point Babatope far has been N452 million, which is about also reinforces. Netflix bought US$1.4 million at the official rate from show“The Wedding Party” and although ing in 29 screens: “We’re still just scratching he’s not seen the formal use fig- the surface…That’s maybe 450,000 tickets ures yet, he can see it appearing and if you take out the repeat visits, that’s all over social media: “We’re very around 350,000 unique visits in a country happy with what we’ve been hear- with an addressable audience of 60 million”. ing so far”. He thinks that Netflix is a great platform because it bridg- “When you hit 1 million admissions on a film, es a gap in reaching the Nigerian that’s when you’ll begin to see that this is reand African diasporas. ally oil business. I think we’re getting there, as we get bolder and more bullish in openAccording to Onuzo: “Historically ing cinemas we’ll begin to see more record Nollywood distribution was driv- numbers”. And as Onuzo says: “So if you have en by the DVD/VCD market and it 150 cinemas in Nigeria, that’s when you’ll was hard to monetize due to pi- see the change”. racy. Now people are enjoying a second run on You Tube. This type The follow-up to “The Wedding Party”, of market will never go away and “Wedding Party – Part 2: Destination Dubai” it will remain informal. DVD con- will be released in December 2018 and will tent will depend on what happens be part of a slate of five films from Film One, in things like community cinemas including one from comedian Ay. (new low-end cinemas). Over time, quality will be driven by econom-

“When you hit 1 million admissions on a film, that’s when you’ll begin to see that this is really oil business” Moses Babatope photographed at Netflilx headquarters in Los Angeles. Moses sits on the Board of Directors of FilmHouse one of the leading film exhibition company in Nigeria. He believes that Netflix is a great platform because it bridges a gap in reaching the Nigerian and African diasporas.


New Documentaries from the Voice of America VOAafrica.com | VOAafrique.com

IN HYPER-COMPETITIVE SILICON VALLEY, African entrepreneurs pursue their passion of building the next big technology company. Beyond the Unicorn’s inspiring and sometimes humorous journey through the insular world of tech start ups tells the stories of courageous, young African entrepreneurs who dare to build them. (30 minute time slot)

Southern & East Africa Regional Marketing Office Joyce Ngoh, Director | Tel: +27-11-290-3264 | Cell: +27-79-111-1631 | jmngoh@bbg.gov

FROM DEEP WITHIN NIGERIA’S SAMBISA FOREST, Boko Haram: Journey from Evil documents the brutality of life for people living under Boko Haram–and the inspirational actions of three ordinary Nigerians who are determined to stand against them. (60 minute time slot)

Western & Central Africa Regional Marketing Office Kathryn Peterson, Director | Tel: +233-302-741-457 | kpeterson@bbg.gov

w w w. z u m a fi l m fe s t . g o v. n g

Film Festival 2017


at Jabi Lake Mall, Abuja. 1st - 5th December.

t is our pleasure to invite you to ZUMA FILM FESTIVAL,(ZUFF), 2017, organised by the Nigerian Film Corpora on (NFC), scheduled to take place in Abuja, Nigeria, from 1-5 December, 2017.

Zuma Film Fes val (ZUFF), is Nigeria's foremost film fes val designed for African film prac oners to network with their counterparts from other parts of the world; s mulate co-produc on opportuni es; recognize and reward cinema c excellence; promote audiovisual services, cultural products and the huge export poten als of Nigerian films, and herald Nigeria's tourism poten als as a film des na on hub. In other words, the film fes val is the greatest forum for filmmakers and other stakeholders in the crea ve industry. Par cipating in the film fes val will be film makers and delegates from the Nigeria, Africa and around the world. The theme for this year’s fes val “Feast on Films” is focus on the significant role of mo on picture in sustaining the narra ves of the ingenuity and bare knuckled feats of Nigerian filmmakers. Nigerian movies have become an important contributor to the Nigerian economy as well as regional, con nental and global markets of film business and entertainment. ZUMA film fes val is designed to among others, up these scales. FEATURES OF ZUMA 2017 include: џ Red Carpet Evening Event џ Moroccan Day џ Lagos State Day џ New Film Premiere џ Screenings (Compe ve & Non-Compe ve) џ Film and Video Market/Exhibi on (Film X) џ Emerging Talent Film Fes val џ Children Film Fes val џ Master Classes/Workshop/Symposium/Colloquium џ Film Loca on/Expo џ Annual Film Lecture џ NFC Annual Essay Compe on Awards Presenta on џ Special Tributes/Retrospec ve џ ZUMA Film Fes val Awards Night



We look forward to seeing you at ZUMA FILM FESTIVAL, 2017. Dr. Chidia Maduekwe Managing Director/Chief Execu ve Nigerian Film Corpora on

www.zumafilmfest.gov.ng E-mail: zumafilmfes val@gmail.com + 234 8033 146 842, +234 8063 390 420, +234 8035 046 119


IS VIRTUAL REALITY THE FUTURE OF AFRICA? I’m utterly convinced that virtual reality has a future in Africa. Mobile technology will be critical to adoption because of the accessibility it offers. Millions of people in Africa already have one half of a VR device in their hands, and that number will only keep rising. » says Jonathan Dotse, social entrepreneur, technology evangelist, science-fiction writer and creator of Pandora, a 360-degree film - the first ever African 360 experience. Dotse lives in Accra, Ghana. Is Virtual reality set to take Africa by storm? The development of immersive environments is still very new but African filmmakers are now saying that VR could give them an opportunity to get involved at an early phase, build real capacity across the continent, and both complement and push the traditional fold of African storytelling. The rising adoption of VR technology in filmmaking, African directors say, creates a level playing field, giving them an equal chance of success globally. During a rich program of keynotes, master classes and round table dedicated to VR set up for DISCOP Johannesburg participants, key VR actors and experts will lead the conversation about the challenges and opportunities brought by the new media. Would-be VR producers and creators will get a lot of information: what are the existing funding and coproduction opportunities, what content broadcasters are more likely to look for, what are the successful experiences in the sector and the latest trends? A VR screening zone will also be available for experiment in the INVR.SPACE’s booth. Prior to this DISCOP VR program, we talked with VR experts about the challenges of VR and its potential for Africa. As you will read, the topic generates abundant and diverse thinking, expanding our vision along the way - but itsn’t that what VR is supposed to do? 49




The Stereoscope creates the threedimensional vision


Inventors draw the third dimension percieved by human eyes


In the nineteenth century, inventors found ways to suggest the third dimension, by drawing on the fact that humans perceive depth by combining images received by their right and left eyes, which are several inches apart and therefore view a subject from slightly different angles.


Brithis inventor Charles Wheatstone creates the stereoscope. It uses two small drawings of the same scene mounted on the sides of a wooden frame that the viewer holds in front of his face. Mirrors on the center of the framework reflect the pictures into the viewer’s eyes. When the frame is adjusted to the right distance, the viewer’s brain combines the two images into a single one that looks three-dimensional.



“Pygmalion’s Spectacles” is the first short story describing a fictional model for virtual reality


Edwin Link invents on the ground flight trainers


The Sensorama is the 1st 3D video machine with sounds, winds, vibrations and smells

1936 Hugo Gernsback invents the“teleyeglasses”: a handy, pocket-size portable TV


Edwin Link invents a way for pilots to take some of their flight training on the ground. His “Link trainers” consist of a mock-up of the controls in a plane, mounted on a platform that changed its angle when the student pilot move the controls. Link’s trainers are interactive. The army and navy quickly adapt Link’s trainers to teach military pilots. By the early 1940s, the military services add projection of films taken in actual airplanes to make the imitation, or simulation, of flight more realistic.


American science fiction writer Stanley G. Weinbaum presents a comprehensive and specific fictional model for virtual reality in his short story “Pygmalion’s Spectacles”. In the story, the main character, Dan Burke, meets an elfin professor who invented a pair of goggles which enabled “a movie that gives one sight and sound, taste, smell, and touch. You are in the story, you speak to the shadows (characters) and they reply, and instead of being on a screen, the story is all about you, and you are in it.”



The “Sword of Damoclès,” is the 1st. true computer mediated virtual reality system.


Philco Corporation creates “The Headsight”, a head-mounted display with motion tracking.


The NASA’s Ames Research Center plays host to a VR research project and gives birth to the VIVED helmet.


Hugo Gernsback invents television eyeglasses or “teleyeglasses”: a handy, pocket-size portable TV. The idea first occurred to him in 1936 but the first prototype is only made in 1963. The teleyeglasses weigh about 140 grams and are built around small cathode-ray tubes that ran on low-voltage current from tiny batteries. Because there’s a separate screen for each eye, it can display stereoscopic images—much like today’s 3D virtual-reality glasses.




There’s an amazing variety of VR headsets either for consoles and PC or for mobiles.

VR pioneer Jaron Lanier founds VPL Research, one of the first companies to develop and sell VR products

Conceptualized in 1955 and prototyped in 1962, American cinematographer and inventor Morton Heilig, invents a multi-sensory theater, the Sensorama. It is an arcade-style theatre cabinet that stimulates all the senses, not just sight and sound. It featurs stereo speakers, a stereoscopic 3D display, fans, smell generators and a vibrating chair.


Palmer Luckey takes his Oculus Ritft to Kickstarter and raises $2.3M.


Virtual retinal display technology will project images directly onto the retina of the eyes.


Two engineers develop the first precursor to the Head Munted Display (HMD) as we know it today – The Headsight. It incorporates a video screen for each eye and a magnetic motion tracking system, which is linked to a closed circuit camera. The Headsight is developed to allow for immersive remote viewing of dangerous situations by the military.


The Sword of Damocles allowes the user to view 3D generated computer graphic, and to see those graphics as if they were in the same environment as the user himself. Closer to Virtual Reality than Augmented Reality, the Sword of Damocles system lies in its use of separate monitors, one for each eye, and the system of motion tracking. Because its heavy weight, the device is suspended from the ceiling by an adjustable pole.




NASA’s Ames Research Center plays host to a VR research project and within a year a working prototype of the Virtual Visual Environment Display (VIVED) helmet is shown at the Consumer Elecgronic Shwo (CES). Its usefulness is focused on future astronauts at NASA.


VR pioneer Jaron Lanier founds VPL Research in the corner of his cottage in Palo Alto, CA. This is one of the first companies to develop and sell virtual reality products. VPL stands for “Visual Programming Languages”, and Lanier says that the goal of the company is to create a visual programming language to bring programming to a mass audience. VPL implements the DataGlove – a device using a glove as a form of input. In 1990, VPL Research files for bankruptcy and in 1999 all of its patents are bought by Sun Microsystems.


Sci-fi geek teenager Palmer Luckey takes his Oculus Ritft, a virtual reality head-mounted display, to the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter and raises $2.3 million. 4 years later he sells his start-up Oculus VR that makes virtual-reality gear to Facebook for $2 billion.

THE BEST OF VR ACCORDING TO ULRICO GRECH-CUMBO CEO OF DEEP VR, A CINEMATIC VR CONTENT STUDIO IN JOHANNESBURG “In my opinion the Samsung Gear VR is the most popular in terms of units in people’s hands. It obviously can’t compete on a gaming front with the likes of Oculus, HTC and Sony. The new Galaxy S8 device has a 4K screen and a 30% higher resolution than HTC or Oculus - which has been a major problem plaguing VR headsets. For cinematic/live-action VR, I would now choose a Samsung S8 over an Oculus, even with unlimited budget. In the immediate future, the form factor will be far smaller - think sunglasses. In the long-term future, it will likely be contact lenses that play retina-quality VR straight into your eyeball! The content capture will be the most disruptive, with the emergence of a new form of VR called “volumetric”, which will allow people to physically move through a filmed environment when they watch it back, choosing where to go and from which angle to experience the capture.


For cameras, there is no one-size-fits-all solution unfortunately. There are expensive cameras that are not very good at all, and there are affordable ones, like the Insta360, which is very good for its price point. The highest resolution & frame rate cameras right now are still “Frankensteins” in that they are custom-made from high-end cinema cameras like RED or Arri.

The future:

The camera market is evolving incredibly quickly and there are even disruptive technologies on the horizon like the Lytro camera which does away with all conventional methods of capture.

There’s an amazing variety of VR headsets either for consoles and PC or for mobiles: HTC VIVE, Sony PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Samsun Gear, VR Google, Daydream View, Google Cardboard, Merge VR Google, Windows Mixed Reality-ready PCs, Fove O, Razer OSVR HD,...

Soon, the headsets will be freed from their wired shackles and no longer connected to a computing device. We’ll see the cordless VR headsets in the marketplace in 5 years (the non-entertainment industry will become the largest segment of the VR industry.) In a more distant future, virtual retinal display technology will project images directly onto the retina of the eyes.

For a producer who starts to film in 360/VR, I would suggest an Insta360 Pro camera (because it is monoscopic & stereoscopic capable) with a reasonably small form factor. For a microphone, every VR producer needs to learn to get into spatial audio and I’d recommend a Sennheiser Ambeo which have come down a lot in price since launching.”




QA &

with Steven Markowitz CEO and producer, Big World Cinema

Multi-award winning and pioneering South African producer (Big World Cinema) Steven Markowitz, who has over 20 years’ experience in feature films, documentaries, short films, distribution and festivals, recently established Electric South, a non-profit vehicle for virtual reality projects made in Africa. He is one of VR’s most enthusiastic evangelists in Africa. Disbook: How did you get into VR? Steven Markowitz: In 2015, I was curating a film program for a festival called “African Futures.” I started looking at virtual reality to see if I could incorporate that. I looked at the African content on VR and all that I could find was virtual reality on safaris and Ebola. I thought to myself: “There is a lot more going on in this continent,” and I felt a kind of responsibility to start building capacity around VR in Africa, so that artists and filmmakers can start producing their own work and being part of this broader conversation on immersive and interactive media. I asked the Goethe Institut to get involved and they were very keen, and then I approached Ingrid Kopp from the Tribeca Film Institute to work together on this. So we started training people in VR, commissioning VR content from our first workshop that took place in October 2015. I’m really glad we decided to do this. D: What was the African Futures festivals that took place in Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi? S.M.: African Futures, organized by the Goethe Institut, was a multidisciplinary festival that gathered people from art, music, literature, film and academia. The idea was to have a conversation about where we are going as a continent, from the artist’s point of view. If you think about it, often people talk about the past, about the present, but there is little space to postulate about the future of Africa. There were events in three cities: music concerts, art exhibitions, film program, VR exhibitions, talks, there was a book produced. Part of the program went to Berlin. It was a very positive and refreshing discussion. D: Do you think that VR is “the” new media?


S.M.: The thing is that with VR we are all learning and experimenting. No one has all the answers. We are discovering as we go along this road. If you look at the history of cinema, which is over 100 years old, cinema language has developed over time. There are conventions that people break, and these conventions evolve. It’s a long tradition. There’s also a long tradition of distribution, exhibition, cinematography and writing. There is a huge body of work. In VR, we are right at the beginning at building a film language, building distribution and exhibition, the devices to watch VR etc. It is early days… So nobody, anywhere in the world be it Silicon Valley or Ouagadougou could tell me where VR will be in 5 or 10 years’ time. But we all do know that the ideal of a more immersive, interactive form of communication is growing in the world and it will continue to grow. I think VR might turn into something else, or be merged with other media. But the reason why I think it has potential is that it is far more immersive than cinema or television. It can be much more interactive. I think that in today’s world, there is more interest in these elements. If you look also at the spread of VR: there is a gaming side, education and training, obviously pornography, art and documentary. These are the elements of the whole spectrum of virtual reality. But in terms of the different areas that people are working in, I think there is a lot of growth and potential, we don’t really know where it is going and that’s why it is so exciting. I feel like I am back in school, learning and taking chances. D: What is “New Dimensions – Virtual Reality Africa?” S.M.: During “African Futures,” we had an exhibition called “New Dimensions” where we showed VR content from around the world to the public. It was the first real exhibition of VR inside Africa showing artistic work. This opportunity was to look at work and talk about it. We setup and ran a workshop with artists from six African countries and brought out experts from

VIRTUAL REALITY 4 VR films made in Africa were co-produced by Cape Town-based Electric South and supported by the Goethe Institut in South Africa. The 4 pieces have been traveling to festivals such as Sydney, Tribeca, Sheffield, Berlinale and to many others around the world and to may African countries.

“The other Dakar” by Selly Raby Kane (Senegal) - A little girl receives a message and discovers the hidden face of Dakar. This 360° film transports viewers to a place where past and future meet and where artists are the beating heart of the city.

“Nairobi Berries” by Ng’endo Mukii (Kenya) - Two women and a man wrangle over fruits, each one emptying the other’s core, while a poetic voice speaks over layered images of the Kenyan city.

“Spirit Robot” by Jonathan Dotse (Ghana). An exploration of the Chale Wote Street Art Festival in Accra.

“Let it Be a Warning” by Jim Chuchu (Kenya). If black worlds exist(ed), would you be welcome in them?


VIRTUAL REALITY around the world like the Google VR filmmaker in residence, we brought out Oscar Raby, a very talented Unity based VR Chilean artist based in Australia. We took a very multidisciplinary approach: we had writers, photographers, fashion designers, conceptual artists. We had a mixed bunch of people. It’s very important while developing VR to have this kind of multidisciplinary approach. The thinking was to not only have filmmakers because they are not always the best people to produce VR. We were looking for people who could think out the box, out of the frame so to speak. The outcome was to start to exhibit and to produce VR work and encourage other people to do the same. The result of the workshop was the completion of four VR pieces that have been traveling to festivals such as Sydney, Tribeca, Sheffield and many other festivals around the world, and also to many African countries. D: Do you think VR is set to take-off in Africa? S.M.: I feel very positive about it. There is great potential for VR to take-off in Africa. As the technology gets cheaper, more accessible, it will travel further. In Africa, we need to find our own solutions on how to make VR, distribute VR, and bring audiences to VR. In Africa we have very strong mobile phone penetration, and the percentage of smartphones is rising all the time. I think it’s a great and accessible way to view VR. But there is a still a long way to go. Today it’s right at the beginning, in its’ infancy, but it’s definitely growing on the corporate side of things: tourism, property, mining, education etc., it hasn’t been yet become a mass market platform in any part of the world. We can walk into a store and buy a pair of headset but numbers are not huge at the moment. But definitely, in Africa, VR has a potential to grow far and wide. We just have to work at it and adapt as we go. D: Are African’s producers well positioned to work in VR? Why?


S.M.: Why not? Producers have to look for new avenues to communicate and to produce. If you look at the advertising world, a lot of ad agencies and brands are producing or commissioning VR content, and that’s growing steadily. Similarly we observe interest in education, as well as in training and tourism, properties, etc. Thus I think like producers anywhere of the world, we need to follow where the opportunity is. In Africa we have some advantages over others: we can produce things quite cheaply here, and we are also very good at innovating, finding low tech solutions on how to produce and implement a project. There is opportunity for producers, but as any new format, it’s a start-up phase, and it needs producers who are open to taking risks, who are looking more for a medium term gain, instead of short term one or instant gratification. You have to take a start-up approach, to have the opportunity to experiment, to try things out, and to bring expertise in this area. D: What would you advise to producers who want to film in virtual reality but they don’t know how to start? S.M.: VR is one of those things that when people think about producing in VR, it looks difficult. But once you have done it once or twice, you become an “expert.” So like anything in life, you just need to go out and make it. You can set up to produce VR for a thousand dollars; it’s not a lot of money to get started. Just buy a cheap VR camera, make sure you have a decent computer and you can start making VR tomorrow. People often debate: “oh, which camera should I get, what technology do I need,” but actually the technology changes so fast, there is no perfect time to buy equipment. So just get out and buy cheap equipment, start making things and develop a VR language around your shoot, how you produce. The other thing about VR which is really great is that it is a very open source: people all over the world are sharing information all the time, so it’s much more open and less competitive than TV or film where producers keeps thing close to their chest. This is an environment where one can pick up information very quickly, and it’s very cheap to get started, so I encourage producers to come and just start making things, collaborate and over time there will be a model on how to earn money from VR.


IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD, PASSION COMES FIRST with Antoine Cayrol QA & Partner and producer, Okio-Studio Interview by Urszula Gleisner

Antoine Cayrol, Pierre Zandrowicz and Lorenzo Benedetti are France’s virtual reality pioneers. Since Okio-Studio’s opening in Paris in 2014, they have produced documentaries, dramas, live action series and virtual experiences. They are now leaders in their field with several international awards to their name. Antoine Cayrol relates here how he fell in love with a project run by two female African directors and urges African producers to immediately try VR. Disbook: Why did you dive into virtual reality? Antoine Cayrol: Okio-Studio develops immersive contents. Our aim is to create programmes that place the viewer right in the centre of the story. If we are recognised today for our virtual reality work, it is in fact only the tip of the iceberg as we also produce augmented reality games and mixed reality plays. Therefore we don’t exclusively produce virtual reality but also immersive contents. Yet, the best way of creating an immersion effect is through virtual reality. What really encouraged us to take the leap was, first and foremost, a project that we tested in VR 4 years ago which stirred strong emotions in us. It was only a test, very vague at that, but it allowed us to see the technology’s potential. We also did some research to make sure that it was a viable venture and concluded that VR was bound to develop and that it would not go away. The other trigger was analysing what had happened from the Lascaux caves to the ipads. That is how we came to understand that the viewer is always looking for more immersion. Screens are getting closer to us: first with cinema, then TV, then computers, then ipads, then phones. Nowadays we’re only a few centimetres away from screens. This phenomenon is replicated in other fields with, for instance, photo then video, black and white then colour, stereography, mono sound then stereo, then 5.0, then Dolby Atmos... Everything is moving towards enhancing the

viewer’s immersion. Virtual reality is a logical step forward in this evolution. Finally, the main reason for our desire to produce virtual reality is passion. D: You were a jury member of Digital Lab Africa at DISCOP Johannesburg in 2016. What have you learnt from this experience and from this project? A. C.: I was very honoured to be asked to be on the jury. I accepted as I thought it would probably be very interesting to see projects from other cultures than mine. And it was! I had no idea what projects would be submitted. And finally, out of the 20 projects received, 3 were in my opinion rather average but the other 17 were excellent. Based on my own assessment, some were even significantly better than most of those I receive from French producers. The pre-selection phase was therefore very difficult. There was one project for which I really fought and which did make it into the final 5. I was then invited to DISCOP Johannesburg to attend pitch sessions. I had a favourite project on arrival and I was definitely impressed after hearing Shariffa Ali pitch “Round Round”. So all it took was a quick cigarette to deliberate and we were in agreement! It was not only a heartfelt artistic selection, but also a practical one. It is very rare for both aspects to be present. We were impressed by certain pitches - the quality was there but it was a question of whether the project had a chance of realisation in the future. The whole experience was very exciting. D: How have you been supporting the “Round Round” authors since then?


VIRTUAL REALITY A. C.: I am going to answer this in two parts. Because there is what I have committed to with DLA and what I have decided to do.

D: How do you rate African VR projects and do you believe that collaborations between France and Africa could emerge?

The commitment with DLA was to mentor the winning project. This means advising them and incubating the project in Paris for 2 weeks. In other words, to be a “tutor” as I usually am for other festivals.

A. C.: African VR projects have as much potential as any project from elsewhere. What appeals to me as a French producer is that African producers tackle subjects with which I am unfamiliar. For example, “Round Round” will address the issue of sex change, and talk about people who aren’t comfortable in their own body and feel they weren’t born with the right gender. This is an issue that has been addressed before and that any producer in the world could pitch to us.

However, as I liked the project a lot, I offered to produce it. My role therefore goes beyond my commitments with the DLA. We collaborate extensively with Shariffa Ali and Yetunda Dada. I pushed them to put together a funding application that we will now submit to the Centre National du Cinéma en France (CNC). And I think that the project will secure funding because it is really very good.

The “Round Round” producers approached this topic by using a wellknown African myth, which describes how one can change Yetunda Dada and Shaffira Ali during their 2-week incubation program in Paris gender by walking around a Mugumo During the two-week tree 7 times while asking to change sex. In Africa, priincubation period in Paris, Shariffa and Yetunda did or to colonisation, matters of sex change or homosexa lot of work and thinking, and I switched from tutor... uality were not frowned upon. It was Europeans who to producer. brought their own concepts and their Christian taboos with them to Africa. African myths then graduD: Explain your heartfelt interest for “Round Round”. ally disappeared. The “Round Round” project is about reviving this myth and turning it into a dance perA. C.: I have learnt one thing over the past few years formance. This is not a project I could have received - what is most important is the person, not the idea. from French producers. There is this quote by writer Milan Kundera which goes: “Few ideas for many people.” We all have the And even if we had received it by email, we receive same ideas. In the field of VR, it is common to hear so many that there would be no guarantee we would catchphrases like: “What about doing something hisread it in the same way. That is why meeting people toric about...”. Ok. But who is THE person who is going is important. I selected this project, I liked it, I asked to do it? my business partners for their approval, and everyone was keen to produce it because it was different What I really liked with “Round Round” was meetfrom what we usually see. ing two personalities. I wanted to meet Shariffa Ali, the project’s autor, before committing to produce it. I Another example: we receive projects about Syria like to meet people in person, to share a beer, to take or refugees in Paris every single week. These are time. I met Shariffa Ali and Yetunda Dada when I was good projects that match the daily experiences of in New York for the TRIBECA film festival. I worked Parisians and Europeans, but this topic has been out what I liked about them. I had a good feeling. overly discussed. Shariffa’s artistic vision filled me with confidence. That is what really triggered my decision. I said to French producers need to seek talents in Africa if myself: “That’s it, let’s do it!” The director and co-protheir aim is to mix cultures and bring in a perspecducer personally convinced me to work with them on tive that can only be found on that continent. their project.


VIRTUAL REALITY D: What advice can you give African producers who are not sure about virtual reality and 360° content? A. C.: I am going to be very frank in my response. Today, we all want to do cool, gratifying work. But it is very difficult to be an actor, a director, a screenwriter or a producer. The cinema business is very crowded and chances of success are slim. I tell producers that they shouldn’t force things: you either like VR or you don’t. But if they have a passion for VR and still hesitate, I tell them: “Just do it!”. Because, in truth, it is easier to succeed in VR than it is in other fields. VR is a springboard for making connections.

jors: we met 4 years ago, they were pleased to find French contacts and today they trust us. Big studios and major companies will be pleased to find African contacts. Oculus has a programme called “VR FOR GOOD”. They give out grants to project authors and put them in contact with NGOs to bring those projects to life. I am sure that they will have lots to accomplish in Africa. African VR producers will find contacting Oculus easier than it is for French producers because the French market is saturated.

“French producers need to seek talents in Africa if their aim is to mix cultures and bring in a perspective that can only be found on that continent.”

D: What will virtual reality look like in 5 years or 10 years?

Sometimes the investment needed for VR can be daunting but, in fact, it’s all much simpler. It is easier to succeed if a story is told well. There should be no fear. And this applies for the next 18 months. After that, it’s all over, there will be too many of us!

A. C.: 5 years is too short a time period. Headsets will be of better quality and simpler to use, they will probably be wireless, less bulky and cheaper. There will be many more equipped rooms and “LocationsBased Entertainment” (LBE). This will be critical because people want to test things out before they buy. So in the next 5 years, it is likely that everything that has been in development for 2 years will continue to be developed. But overall we will still be dealing with what we know today.

Africa is a rapidly-evolving market. Everyone has their eye on Africa. Once there are 10 VR producers in a country, it’s over because the big studios and the major players will put their trust in the first 10. That is why we have been successful with the US ma-

On the other hand, development in 20 years’ time will be much more interesting. We will probably have small glasses or contact lenses. And in 40 years’ time, image technology that is broadcast straight into the retina! Why not?...

Today I work with the biggest names in the global audiovisual industry whereas, 12 years ago, I already had a company but those people didn’t bother responding to me.

Insights into projects under development at Okio-Studio: How to relive or recount an experience with a Peruvian shamanic plant that induces trance for 24 hours? (“Cosmovision” or “Cosmic Journey” by Jan Kounen) 5 days before the end of the world, 8 people find themselves stuck in a hotel in Switzerland. How does one manage the final weeks of one’s life? (“Lights” by Julien Mokrani) Just imagine what goes on with paintings once museums shut their doors and models no longer have to pose. (“Mona”, produced with Michel Reilhac) A female astronaut who sets out to discover another planet will realise that her memories can take a life of their own there. She will find her late daughter and husband, and her past happiness and face a moral dilemma: would I rather live this lie or return to reality on earth? (“Miroir” by Pierre Zandrowicz)



VIRTUAL REALITY: THE WORLD FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE with Gilles Freissinier QA & Arte Development Director Interview by Urszula Gleisner In December 2015, in line with its innovation strategy, Arte invested in the immersive field of virtual reality with the launch of the “ARTE 360 VR” app. After 10 years of Arte’s banking on digital development, Development Director Gilles Freissinier explains the channel’s approach to the new technologies and its collaboration idea with African producers. DISBOOK: Arte launched the Arte 360 VR app a year and a half ago. Why did you decide to invest in 360 and virtual reality? Gilles Freissinier: Moving on to virtual reality was a logical next step for Arte. It is as much a strategy as it is keeping up with audiovisual script-writing. Immersion has been a background trend since cinema began as far as script-writing is concerned. First comes the picture, then the sound, then dolby, then 3D etc. Always with the idea of achieving more emotions, more realism, more interactions with the story. Virtual reality is simply a new stage in this development. The second reason for Arte’s involvement is that we have been producing digital audiovisual programmes for 10 years. Our digital strategy reflects our global media rationale: Arte is a Franco-German channel that has, thanks to digital, reached the status of global European medium for culture and innovation with a Europe-wide presence. Digital allows Arte to fulfil its European purpose. The third element is our mission to make culture accessible, to foster creativity, to innovate, to discover new French and European talents. This also involves digital creation. Arte pioneered interactive documentaries. We produced fictions and video games to show that the public can also be drawn in through story-telling and cultural material on a video game. Naturally this technology converges with virtual reality because audiovisual narration blends with the game’s active narration: the viewer is immersed into first person’s narration. We reflected on this process


and, about 4 years ago, were guided rather naturally to move interactive documentaries towards virtual reality technology. This is how we launched the Arte 360 VR app in December 2015. Bringing the Arte brand to life in the world of virtual reality and combining our various ongoing experiences into a single application was a logical step. The idea was indeed to combine our offers to raise our profile as producer and broadcaster of innovative material. D: What type of content is available on the Arte 360 app today? G. F.: Today it is mainly videos. Broadcasting interactive contents requires specific apps, like the interactive documentary “Notes on Blindness” or the VR video game “Sens VR”. We offer documentaries, fiction, cinema making-ofs, certain reported stories and some live music, particularly for testing binaural sound (editor’s note: 3D for the ears) and for immersion with the public. Overall the app offers more or less the same audiovisual genres as television and digital, with the exception perhaps of news broadcasts or magazines. D: What contents are you looking for? G. F.: We are always looking for contents that highlights an author’s perspective, whether the aim is to tell a fiction story or to make sense of the world around us through documentaries. Fiction or documentary, we’re interested in a different way of discovering the world through this particular perspective. D: Can you tell us something about the audience that uses this app? G. F.: It is a very international audience. The app recorded over 500,000 downloads and a sizeable proportion of people using it in English. We are therefore in a market that, albeit still small today, is however global and clearly transcends the Franco-German and European framework. The app extends to the United States and Asia.

VIRTUAL REALITY But it is tricky to define the demographic profile of those users. They are obviously very technophile individuals who have an interest in all new narration forms, but we don’t have a typical profile.

We took part in Digital Lab Africa last year where we were able to discover VR projects and interactive projects. We shadowed a production team reflecting on its project.

D: How do you collaborate with producers of 360 and VR content? Do you initiate co-productions?

We are obviously open to projects emanating from outside Europe and are excited to shape their work with French producers and thus to integrate them into the French way of producing.

G. F.: Arte is mostly a co-producer and very rarely engages in purchasing or pre-purchasing policies. This way of working allows us to get to know these new technologies as the producer does, rather than being restricted to purchasing ready-to-broadcast programmes. So we follow a classic process: the producer submits a project, we select it based on our editorial policy, the project’s appeal, its narrative perspective, the author, their creativity, and the project’s fit with VR in terms of both form and content. We have to make sure that VR is justified and appropriate, that it isn’t a gimmick, as this format is very “trendy” today. We have a large number of those proposals but not all are suited to virtual reality. Sometimes the “classic” digital format is more appropriate. D: How much do you contribute to the budget? G. F.: Often around 30 to 40% of the funding. The CNC (Centre National de la Cinématographie) helps a lot in France, and there are also various regional funds. Then the producer’s contribution is the final piece.

D: What do you think of Digital Lab Africa? G. F.: The projects submitted were very varied, which allowed us to discover other producers, other networks and projects coming from new perspectives. We had to adapt our framework of interpretation which was interesting, refreshing and challenging. We now have to reflect on how we can take forward the winning projects, as a project is always a gamble. For example the project “Reborn - The Tryptic”, from South Africans John DeVries and Greg Kriek, which won the Transmedia category for which I was a jury member and team mentor, does not fit in with Arte’s editorial policy but is of interest to other broadcasters. Our work as mentor was to clarify and refine the project, and then to help the production team shape it further. We try to bring the benefit of our experience to bear on interactive fiction, virtual reality and other formats.

D: Are you open to co-producing with African producers?

“Notes on Blindness” (2016), directed by Peter Middleton & James Spinney, is a documentary film and VR project that relates John Hull’s progressive blindness, an Australian writer and theologian who had documented on audio tapes the upheavals brought about by sight loss and the new, resulting perceptions. ARTE co-funded the feature documentary and the virtual reality application to accompany the film. The latter was developed by Agat Films and Toulouse-based start-up Audiogaming (winner of the Pass French tech). Audiogaming specialises in the development of real-time sound synthesis technologies and has worked on Quentin Tarantino’s movie “Django Unchained” and the video game “Assassin’s Creed”.


VIRTUAL REALITY D: What advice can you give African producers who wish to collaborate with ARTE on VR? G. F.: I think that the first thing is to look at all that we do. There are lots of things already - at least 30 projects available on the app. That way producers can get an overall idea of what we are seeking and showcasing. They also need to understand who are those French producers with whom we work on a regular basis (for instance those within the UNI-VR think tank who have a lot of productions). This will give them an idea of the kind of narration and the level of quality we are looking for. African producers should not forget that there is also Switzerland, Germany, England and the United States. D: What is VR’s future? G. F.: That is a very good question and we would all like to know!

There are several versions. The pessimistic version sees it as a bubble that is not going to last; the optimistic and visionary version claims that everyone will be wearing a headset in 5 years’ time and that this is the future; and the intermediary version says this is one of the means - among others - of telling stories. Regarding whether there will be equipment within the home or whether this will take place in physical locations, it is hard to say. That will depend on the ease with which headsets can be used as they are still fairly complex. It takes a bit of a geek to master them. Everything is likely to get simplified, but to what extent? VR’s future will depend mainly on the proposed experience and programmes which remain the deciding factors for wearing a headset. It is up to the producers and broadcasters to offer interesting contents for this type of technology, so that they are not mere gadgets, or offers that have an amazing effect the first time round but lack real depth. The programmes should offer experiences appropriate to the technology.

“S.E.N.S VR” (nominated at several festivals and winner of the “Best Emotional VR Game” at the Emotional Games Awards 2016 held in Laval, Canada), co-produced by Arte France and the Red Corner studios, is the transposition of a graphic novel by Marc-Antoine Mathieu. The aim: to find our way through a constantly-evolving maze in which the user loses use landmarks. The game is available for Samsung and Oculus Rift VR headsets.



THE TURN AROUND OF “ROUND ROUND” Following several months of on-distance mentorship with Paris-based Okio-Studio, Shariffa Ali and Yetunde Dada, the winners of the VR category of the first DIGITAL LAB AFRICA competition @ DISCOP Johannesburg 2017, spent two weeks in Paris in a residency program. They tell us all about it and how it impacted their project.

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED: We deepened our understanding of the concept of VR for social good. VR is such an inescapable medium, it can be used to generate empathy. This has helped us refine our ideas around using the project to inspire a sense of empathy in the viewer. We plan the project to bring about social change through discussion and awareness. We learned more about the various VR platform and manufacturers and the benefits and challenges of each of them. We learned about new developments in VR from filmmakers, choreographers, producers and directors across the globe. This allowed us to incorporate new ideas into our piece. We also were invited to two amazing events, the premiere of “Alteration” and we also attended the Paris Virtual Film Fest which hosted some of the world’s best filmmakers including Gabo Arora, made famous for his movie, “Clouds Over Sidra”.

HOW THE INCUBATION PROGRAM HAS IMPACTED “ROUND ROUND”? Our VR short was named “Round Round”, it is now named “The seventh Turn” to better suit the narrative form. We are really excited to embrace this new identity, which marks a leap in the development and depth of our project as it evolves. The “Seventh Turn”, is a dance piece that tells the story of a sacred tree from Kenya, that has the magical ability to allow those who walk around it 7 times to change their sex. We have now a producer, as VR studio director (and our Digital Lab Africa mentor) Antoine Cayrol from Okio-Studio decided to take a step further and produce our project. Our project is now set to be the first ever Virtual Reality coproduction between France and South Africa.

WHO WE MET WITH: . Antoine Cayrol and Pierre Zandrowicz (Okio-Studio) our DLA mentors: they have not only provided us with a lot of support but have also partnered up with us to produce this VR experience on a larger scale. Under the mentorship of Antoine and Pierre, we were allowed to envision the project in a way that we couldn’t have possibly imagined before. . Raphael Beaugrand: a journalist that uses 360° to tell stories. Rapahel encouraged us to think of any additional elements that we can incorporate into the project in order to strengthen the experience, by urging us to brainstorm around adding a 4th dimension to the experience like touch. Our piece can be even more powerful with the concept of room-scale VR. . Lucie Mariotto and Alexandre Legay from Fabrique de la Danse: they shared insight on how they’re able to use virtual reality to notate dance and provide choreographers and dancers alike with a tool for note taking and providing feedback. . Amandine Schieber: who shared her interest in sound and her background in music entertainment. We discussed various VR platforms and she wishes to remain in touch with us as we forge ahead. . Aude Merlet at La Nurserie Culture & Innovation: she was so friendly and accommodating while we were with her in the incubation space. . Balthazar Auxietre and Hayoun Kwon from Innerspace VR: they created an incredible interactive VR piece called “La Peri” which featured a moving dance piece. . Michel Reilhac: an incredibly well known VR producer. His most recent film “Viens!” is currently on film festival circuit.



WHAT WE WORKED ON: We built a new pitch deck, which we will use in an effort to raise development funds. We shot a mini-documentary about our experience in France. We developed a narrative to best explain the origins of our myth and we learned more about the historical origins about the myth itself. We have been able to incorporate some of the recent VR trends including room-scale VR into our final deck. We are also looking into pioneering innovative distribution strategies in South Africa and Kenya in order to have more people seeing our film.

WHAT OUR NEXT STEPS WILL BE: We will fund-raise for the development funding of our project and then we’ll move onto creating the production deck in Oct 2017 - Dec 2017. We will create the movie in 2018 with the intention to launch it into the film festival circuit, early 2019. Once our piece has been developed, it is very important that we make it accessible to those who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to such technology and we are developing a distribution strategy that will allow us to do so.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS TO AFRICAN PRODUCERS: The virtual reality scene is so new and there are a lot of opportunities to stand out if you try and make something. However, do not think of virtual reality as the ultimate end goal but rather as the tool to tell a story in a better way. There is a strong desire for great content and so emerging VR makers need not feel discouraged. DISCOP and DIGITAL LAB AFRICA offers an exciting platform for content makers of all persuasions. We have experienced the VR community to be very generous and open, so join the VR happenings in your community via social media to learn more about the opportunities.

Pictured: Shafira Alli and Yetunde Dada, during their residency program in Paris. They are the winners of the VR category of the competition DIGITAL LAB AFRICA @ DISCOP Johannesburg 2017.



360° CHANGES THE CONCEPT OF STORYTELLING Julia Leeb is a photojournalist, photographer and a VR filmmaker, with a focus on areas in political upheaval. She has done long-term projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Iran. Her pictures from war torn countries have been published worldwide.

Disbook: Do you remember your first experience with VR? Julia Leeb: How can I possibly forget? A friend of mine brought goggles and just some moments later I was flying over an Icelandic glacier. It took me just a few seconds to realize the potential of this medium for journalism. All people told me it’s too complicated , it’s too expensive and it’s too early to experiment with 360° cameras. I bought the equipment and it arrived the day I left for the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015. On the plane I learned how the cameras work. We went deep into the jungle into the “kingdom” of a warlord. There was no electricity so we had to remove the battery from our car and carried it with us. D: What is VR journalism? J. L.: Nonny de la Pena is a pioneer in VR journalism. I really adore her work. But I guess that we Europeans have a different understanding of journalism. As a journalist I don’t want to built an artificial environment or to reconstruct situations in order to create empathy. To me 360° video is a wonderful tool to document. It has the potential to verify complex situations. D: On the field, what are the main differences between photo reporting and VR filming? J. L.: 360° video means to accept handing over control. The film maker can no longer predetermine what the viewer sees like it is in all other formats. 360 radius gives the viewers the freedom to choose a perspective and they can change it whenever they want. D: You said at a Digital-Life-Design Conference last May in New York: “360° video can be a game changer because you are inside, you become a witness.” Do you believe that a better understanding of the world will make it a better place?


J. L. Why does mankind not learn from history? It seems that reading or watching movies about our history is not enough. Experiencing historical events first hand with this revolutionary technology has the potential to establish deep mutual understanding and respect. D: Do you think that prominent journalists or war correspondents such as J. London, E. Hemingway, R. Capa, would have chosen VR film to tell their stories? J. L.: It’s a fundamental philosophical question that I can’t possibly answer for them. I’d love to ask them, though ! 360° completely changes the concept of editing and story telling. D: What additional elements can VR bring to an audience that still photography or text can’t? J. L.: On the ground the situation is often chaotic and many actions around you take place at the same time. With a photo camera you can only capture a fraction of a second in one specific angle of let’s say 40° depending on your lens. Those who see this photo will never know what happened behind the photographer. With 360° you can simply turn around to find out. D: What are your ties with Africa? Is VR important for Africa? J. L.: Africa is underreported in Germany. I could never understand why we seem to view Africa as a country and not as the fascinating continent with 55 countries and all their different facets. VR and 360° has the potential to dispel prejudges with experiences. D : What are your next project? J. L.: Right now I am producing my 360 movie “Blended Isolations”







GERMANY IS IN LOVE WITH AFRICA... ... and the 2017 Johannesburg edition of DISCOP is in love with Germany. For years, the German entertainment industry placed more emphasis on film than television. And now, the global success of cold-war thriller “Deutschland 83” has inspired Amazon, Netflix, Sky and other platforms to commission Germanlanguage shows. Furthermore, and thanks to the support of the German Federal Foreign Office, for the first time this year, the world-famous Berlinale Film Festival provided a platform dubbed the “Berlinale Africa Hub” to showcase innovative projects and ideas coming out of Africa. In such a context, a National Pavilion is set-up on DISCOP Johannesburg’s market floor to host talents and entrepreneurs from Germany, and a special focus will be placed on coproduction opportunities between Germany and South Africa, as both countries are signatories of one of the industry’s longest running Film & TV coproduction treaty.

Opposite page: A scene from “Babylon Berlin” . This anticipated German series set in Berlin’s Roaring Twenties, is the symbol of the rise of Germany’s TV industry on the international marketplace (Copyright Frédéric Batier_X Filme)



Volker Bruch in Tom Tykwer’s “Babylon Berlin” a crime mystery set in 1920’s Berlin. In May, Netflix announced that it is picking up the series for the US. (Copyright X Filme Creative Pool)

GERMAN TV SERIES AND THE INTERNATIONAL MARKETPLACE By Michael Esser (*) Once, a long time ago, Germany was the epicenter of the global entertainment industry. In the 1910s to late 1920s German (silent) Cinema was cutting edge, directors like F.W. Murnau, G.W. Pabst, Ernst Lubitsch, were the avant-garde of the business that back then was much more an art form. In later years, just before the Nazis leveled this creative hotbed, the second generation, Robert Siodmak, Fritz Lang, Douglas Sirk and of course Billy Wilder, sought their way out and over the Atlantic - and contributed greatly to Hollywood becoming the entertainment metropolis of the world.


Today, Germany is Europe’s biggest media market in terms of annual production turnover ($110 B in 2016, statista.com). But Germany has a hard time to live up to the role of the big player in the international marketplace. Why? It is, in a way, still struggling with the aftermath of WWII. The founding fathers of the young German Federal Republic first and foremost wanted to make sure that extremism would never gain the upper hand again. One of the tools the Nazis used to seize and maintain power, was the media. So, the broadcasting industry

in Germany was created to be rigorously separated from state authority, independently financed by a due over which the federal government has not say and bound only by an Interstate Treaty on Broadcasting that outlines the duties of the public broadcaster to inform and to educate the people in an indiscriminate way. That made public broadcasters in Germany strong and well-financed entities and to this day they are the major players in the media industry.

WELCOME GERMAN TO GERMANY SECTION The rise of privately owned networks in 1984, with their strictly consumer driven approach to programming, has forced the public broadcasters, ARD and ZDF, to water down their claim to inform and educate and to add entertainment to their portfolio, so much so, that the once clear lines in the sand between their profiles today are rather blurred. The fierce competition for eyeballs between the public and privately owned networks in the past 30+ years has left little space to think outside the box. Add to that the growing average age of audiences for both, private and public networks (the average age of public networks’ viewership in Germany is far beyond 60), mainly an effect of the younger generations ongoing romance with the Internet, and you get an idea of why there are so relatively few internationally competitive TV series that one can say, Germany has almost missed out on Peak TV, the “Golden Age of Television”. Older audiences tend to want more of what they already know and like. And in Germany that is mainly crime drama. The reasons for that are both complex and easy to understand. Crime drama has a majority appeal and it is relatively easy to make; once you have understood the basic mechanics of crime drama, you can create it in multiple forms, just change some details and you have a new format. Secondly, crime drama is engaging without the risk of committing a blunder. You can capture audiences’ attention without raising tapping into controversial subject issues, which was convenient, because after all, the government of course managed to get a tight grip on public TV, undermining the intentions of the lawmakers of the Constitution and their desire to keep broadcasting independent, through various tools like pro-

portional representation of the political parties among top level employees and the parity composition of the so called Fernsehrat (“Counsel of Television”) which ultimately decides what a broadcaster is to produce and air and what not.

“Things that previously seemed impossible saw the light of day” So, this is how a consensus driven country like Germany created it consensus driven TV, in which many topics weren’t and aren’t capable of winning a majority: current political affairs, the Nazi past, social conflicts, to name just a few of them. That has thinned out the variety of genres in Germany so much so that today when it comes to TV series, it is almost monocultural farming. There are no German political dramas, let alone, sci-fi, fantasy or period drama series. And as for crime drama, the German flavor of it has never appealed to international audiences, with the exception perhaps of “Detective Derrick” (ZDF 1974-1998), a police officer who was so featureless that he was agreeable to audiences all over the planet. In the Eighties and Nineties, if one switched on a TV set in a hotel room in Jakarta, Buenos Aires or Bombay with a little “luck” saw Detective Derrick in-

vestigate, dubbed in the respective local language. Netflix and Amazon have disrupted the market for TV series almost from the get-go and this is also true for Germany. The TV consumption of the important audience target group ages 14-49 has dropped from 179 min a day to 171 min a day due to ever more younger people giving up altogether on mainstream TV and turning entirely to the Internet to satisfy their needs for entertainment. The networks felt the pressure and suddenly, things that previously seemed impossible saw the light of day: The beginning made the surprising success of the political historical family dramedy “Deutschland ‘83” (RTL, 2015) which first aired in the US, though for the happy few (about 100,000 viewers on average per episode) who find and watch the tiny cable TV network Sundance TV. But the Cold War period drama was critically very well acclaimed. The series, narratively certainly far from being a masterpiece, was so well received internationally, most probably because of the big surprise it was: by then nobody expected nothing anymore from Germany on the international marketplace. “Deutschland ‘83” opened a door thematically, featuring for the first time (at least from an international point of view) a uniquely German perspective on the Cold War and it put the internationally long forgotten German entertainment industry back into the focus. Before “Deutschland ‘83” if one enquired in the usually very well informed Hollywood community of entertainment professionals about German movies or TV series, the two titles that were mentioned were “Das Boot”, (1982), the famed



From left to right: Liv Lisa Fries in “Babylon Berlin” - Jonas Nay and Ludwig Tepte in “Deutschland 83” - Ludwig Tetpe in “Deutschalnd 83”, as the young character pulled from East Germany and assigned a new identity to spy on the West (copyrights: Frédéric Batier_X Filme ; RTL/Nik Konietzkny)

Wolfgang Petersen feature and subsequent TV mini series and “The Life of Others”, (2006), Henkel von Donnersmark’s Oscar winning East German spy melodrama. Still, with audiences in Germany not favoring “Deutschland ‘83”, the big broadcasters didn’t see in the international success a reason to add more daring formats to their daily crime drama bread and butter. The next interesting formats instead came from smaller broadcasters, especially TNT (an NBC Universal operation, airing under the umbrella of German Pay TV provider Sky). TNT had previously already dared greatly (compared to its size) with “Add A Friend”, (2012), a simple but effective show about a man in a hospital bed after an accident, reduced socially to Facebook contacts. In 2015, TNT produced “Weinberg”, a mystery about a man who wakes up in a vineyard, suffering from amnesia and who becomes involved in a small-town murder mystery.


The big four previously had put their bets on what in Germany is called “Event TV”, big budget mini series, usually 2x or 3x90 min., like “Generation War” (ZDF, 2013), or “The Sinking of the Laconia” (ARD, BBC, 2012), many of them produced by UFA FICTION helmer Nico Hofmann who specializes in this kind of soapy, fictionalized, historical account. Especially “Generation War” did surprisingly well on Netflix, unofficial voices deeming it one of the most clicked Netflix content among their German subscribers. Yet, traditionally, the big German TV networks were and are reluctant to take up stories that deal with our Nazi past, claiming that German audiences have seen enough of it and want to move on. “Deutschland ‘83” had shown though that the world obviously was curious about Germany’s own take on its past and soon “Deutschland ‘86” was in the works (now financed by Amazon in cooperation with RTL which gets a window to air the show on

free TV) and an emulator format “Under The Same Sky” (ZDF, 2017) which again didn’t do well with German audiences and was narratively even less interesting than “Deutschland ‘83”. Then, Netflix and Amazon put the voice out that they were looking for German content and produced (or are producing) “You Are Wanted” (Amazon, 2017) with German comedy movie star Matthias Schweighoefer, a conspiracy thriller about a man whose life is hacked by unknown, unfortunately also leaving much to be desired narratively, “Dark” (Netflix, 2017-8) helmed by director Bo Odar whose movie “Who Am I” did quite well in Toronto in 2014, and “Dogs of Berlin” (Netflix (2018), with director Christian Alvart, of which not much is known as of yet. TNT recently aired “4 Blocks”, the epic story about a Lebanese family and their struggles to integrate into German society. It didn’t score a significant rating but TNT recently announced a second sea-


son because the first one did well, at least on their VOD platform. The big fish in this new pond of internationally viable TV fare is certainly Tom Tykwer’s “Babylon Berlin” a crime mystery set in 1920’s Berlin, the budget is said to be €40M. It is produced by X-FILME (“Good Bye Lenin”, 2003) and financed by ARD and Sky, the cooperation of the pay TV and public TV broadcasters being a first in German TV business. In May, Netflix announced that it is picking up the series for the US. In order for this pond not to dry out quickly, all these upcoming series need to do well, be it with domestic audiences, be it internationally. The “bad weed” of German crime drama will certainly continue to grow tall domestically, and not mind the well deserved lack of any attention from abroad, mainly due to the fact that there is so much excellent competition in the field of crime drama out there to which the German production will not

be able to live up, be it the great output by British sources like BBC and Channel Four, be it the “Nordic Noir” which has become a global brand in the past fifteen years. A lesson that can be learned though from “Deutschland ‘83”’s success, but also from the continued interest in “Generation War” and the positive feedback which “4 Blocks” received, is that German audiences and the world are keen on knowing more about Germany, be it how we see our own past, be it on how we cope with the challenges of this relatively new and so far tempestuous new century. Nazi past, the Cold War era and the ongoing confrontation with the refugee crisis are only some of the many topics which offer a plethora of stories and opportunities to satisfy this global curiosity in us. Let’s just do it!

(*) Michael Esser is a screenwriter and a producer. He has won numerous US screenwriting competitions while developing and writing TV series and feature films with US and German companies. As head writer, he adapted the Colombian Telenovela hit “Betty La Fea” (“Ugly Betty” in the US) for German TV. In 2005, Esser won the German Television Award (“German Emmy”) as head writer of the daily drama series “Verliebt In Berlin”. He was crucial in setting up cooperation between UCLA and The German Film University in Berlin on a joint Masters program for TV screenwriting.



THE STRONG AND LASTING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICA & GERMANY Herbert Behrendt, Counsellor Cultural Affairs of the German Embassy in Pretoria, explains the cultural ties between Germany and South Africa, such as how Germany contributes to bring emerging African filmmakers to the spotlight, and why the opinion that German films lack of humor is a misconception. “Germany is a long-standing partner, friend and companion to South Africa. The oldest school founded by Germans is located in Hermannsburg, KwaZulu-Natal, and was founded in 1856. Today, estimates show that there are several hundred thousand people in South Africa who speak German. The German language is recognized in the South African constitution; and German movies, literature and theatre today all form part of South Africa’s rich cultural life. Cultural and educational affairs as well as sports play an important role in Germany’s foreign policy. The Cultural Section of the German Embassy in Pretoria is dedicated together with other German and German-South African cultural institutions to promote co-operation and understanding between the people of Germany and South Africa. Traces of German culture and of German-South African cooperation are visible all over the country. Our three German Schools in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town are fine examples. They are important institutions of learning, counting more than 2,600 students from different social and ethnic backgrounds. Students at these schools enjoy a modern multilingual education which will enable them to make significant contributions to all walks of life in South Africa. Many alumni have gone on to pursue their university studies in Germany and Europe.


Germany and South Africa have been linked by an agreement on joint productions in the film industry since 2005. Our participation in the Durban International Film Festival also is a very important contribution to the film industry of the African continent. Within that framework, the “Talents Durban” project is aimed at connecting emerging African filmmakers with international industry professionals, experts and mentors. It is a five day-long string of masterclasses, workshops and networking events. Talents Durban cooperates with Berlinale Talents - a project of the Berlin International

“Every movie is a gift to culture” Film Festival. It enjoys the support of the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, the Goethe-Institut, the German Embassy in South Africa, the National Film and Video Foundation and the Gauteng Film Commission. At the last Berlinale, the “Berlinale Africa Hub” platform for innovative projects was organized to bring the next generation of African filmmakers to Berlin and offer an international forum for current technology, ideas, and developments in the African film industry. The project enjoys the support of many partners, foremost the European Film Market (EFM) in cooperation with the World Cinema Fund and its special programme WCF Africa, which promotes films

from Sub-Saharan Africa. Also on board are Berlinale Talents with its sister project Talents Durban. We were very pleased that filmmakers and producers from South Africa took part as well! For example, Cape Town-based non-profit organization Electric South and the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg were showcasing their virtual reality (VR) initiative New Dimensions. They also hosted a panel about the opportunities VR has for the future of filmmaking. And South African producer Steven Markovitz spoke about the African Screen Network, which aims to create a sustainable business model for exhibiting African films across the continent. I hold the believe that German Film has developed a lot during the last decade or so. Many talented filmmakers have evoked recognition at home and abroad. They found ways to relay their respective messages with commons sense and humour. We see films depicting real life stories, thereby managing to touch people’s emotions. The audience can identify with the story. The Film “Goodbye Berlin”, which was very popular at the Durban International Film Festival this year, explains what I mean. It depicts two youngsters enjoying the perfect summer. Many young people can identify with the story line and the film has proved very popular with the younger generation. It is a wonderfully uplifting, amusing story, and maybe it breaks the expectation many people still have of German films – that they are too serious and lack humour. In my opinion, our German filmmakers have proved: Nothing could be further from the truth!”


The two main actors of “Goodbye Berlin” (2016) directed by acclaimed German director Fatih Akin. The film tells the story of two eighth grade boys who “borrow” someone’s beat-up, Soviet-era car for an impromptu road trip through East Germany. According to Herbert Behrendt, the film breaks up the misconceptions about German films being serious and with no humor. It was very popular at the 2017 Durban International Film Festival. Oppposite page: Herbert Behrendt, MPhil (Oxon) a former German Rhodes Scholar, after many Government Assignments in the worlds of Media, Politics and Culture since January 2017 Head of the Cultural Department of the German Embassy in Pretoria.



AFTER HALF A CENTURY, DEUTSCHE WELLE’S INVOLVEMENT IN AFRICA IS STILL EXPANDING with Ines Pohl QA & Editor-in-chief of Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster.

Ines Pohl, Editor-in-chief of Deutsche Welle (DW), is a strong advocate for the use of social media to enhance the connection between audiences and journalists in the digital age. She is also passionate about human rights and the role of democratic structures in developing countries.

Disbook: For how long DW has been broadcasting in Africa? Ines Pohl: DW has a long history in Africa, starting with radio programming and shortwave broadcasts that go back to the1960s. Now, we are available across the continent 24/7 and have secured major partners in English-speaking markets in countries like Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana where we have seen a lot of success. D: What are some of the highlights of your strategy across the continent over the years? I.P: Africa is one of the few places in the world where the full-range of DW’s distribution is im-


plemented according to target demographic groups. For example in Swahili and Hausaspeaking regions, radio is by far the medium of choice. But news and informational content on mobile devices is also rapidly growing in popularity around the continent and is becoming the most important medium - especially with English-speaking target audiences. We also use data crunching apps to get mobile content to people with less-developed network infrastructure and we even produce short news text messages for low-end mobile phones. Our diversity of content means we are able to get quality media to people all over Africa, no matter where they are or what device they use.

WELCOME GERMAN TO GERMANY SECTION Television in English is popular with well-educated audiences in urban areas. And podcasts ranging from environmental issues to educational soap operas are popular with younger listeners. DW is expanding mobile content along these lines. Also by focusing our television content on urban areas, defining our target audience and maintaining strong broadcasting partnerships, we have seen big returns on producing successful, regionally adapted programming. D: How important is Africa for DW? I.P: Very important! First of all, Africa has a very diverse media landscape that changes quickly and is always developing. DW can add value by helping support the development of new media trends and help provide a standard of journalism that regional outlets can follow. This dynamism combined with critically important social and political topics means that quality journalism has a real and positive effect on people across Africa. And by working on co-productions with local partners, DW can contribute to ensure that quality content get to people that can use it most. D: How many people do you reach in Africa? Besides Amharic, English, French, Hausa, Kiswahili, and Portuguese, do you plan to add more languages? I.P: In all of Africa, DW nets 52 million weekly users with content on television, radio, online and mobile combined. We will only be adding new languages if needed. D: How many partner stations do you have on the African continent? I.P: We have more than 450 partners across Africa. Our focus is currently on South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and all of the French-speaking countries. We are proud to be part of such a growing, dynamic region. Our goal is to ensure that content and lineups are developed together with our partners. That adds value to our program and makes it more attractive for African audiences. D: What is your strategy of coproductions and partnerships? I.P: DW is continually seeking partnerships all over Africa on many levels, from mobile start-ups and local radio and television stations, to joining hands with the largest broadcasters on the continent. One of our latest large-scale partnerships is with MultiChoice and it will deliver DW’s German channel,

DW (Deutsch), to 43 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.. D: The DW Akademie in Africa is, among other missions, to support and strengthen independent media in post-conflict countries and countries in transition. How strongly do you believe in the mission? Can you describe an achievement in this regard? I.P: We strongly believe in this mission, as free access to information, well-functioning media systems, open media laws, qualified education and economic sustainability are basic prerequisites for good governance, democratic structures and social participation. Only those who can freely inform themselves can also demand other rights, actively live their own lives and improve their concrete situation. The reports of citizen journalists for example can help the community‘s voices to be heard. Citizen reporting helps make leaders accountable to the communities. And it helps local radio stations to improve their news coverage, increase the number of news bulletins, audience and advertising revenue. Another achievement we are proud of is the recently created “Cross Border Network”: Nineteen radio stations from the border region of South Sudan and Uganda have linked up in this transnational radio network. Their goal: to share reliable information, to speak out against rumors and fake news, and to combat prejudices. The stations reach out to Ugandan listeners and people from South Sudan who have fled to Uganda but also to those still back home, living in midst of the conflict. D: Germany is the guest country at Discop Johannesburg 2017. Do you think this is a good initiative? I.P: It’s an honor for DW to take part in such an important event. We really want to thank the event organizers for that initiative. Discop Johannesburg 2017 is a great opportunity for DW to highlight the potential of German media on the global market. We are here to get in contact with great African partners and are looking for synergies and common interests and goals with African content producers and distributors. DW was part of the first DISCOP Africa in 2009 and since then we have met many very inspirational and powerful media representatives at DISCOP It is a very important exchange platform for DW. It gives us the opportunity to get in contact and to be seen by other African and international media societies and to stay in touch with them.




D: Tell us more about your new football show “Kick Off! Life”. I. P.: With Kick off! Life, we want to showcase the emotions that are connected to football. It’s a show that really explores our existence through the romantic lens of football. The show highlights the fans and the players and what connects them. Hosts interview German and international stars about their profession, their dreams and life in general. Each episode features segments about different facets of everything that makes football so encompassing – from fans around the world discussing their mutual obsession, club songs, interesting pitches and fan clubs. We believe the show will be successful with our African audience, because Africa and football go hand in hand. From the streets to the stadiums, it’s a sport that is loved, played and followed by millions of people in Africa. It’s a sport that connects people


from different walks of life and Kick off! Life shows exactly that. In addition, the Bundesliga is becoming more and more popular in Africa – especially in Sub Sahara Africa. DW is also creating a connection to the Bundesliga with African listeners by broadcasting matches each week on radio – in Hausa, Kiswahili, French and Portuguese. This is guaranteeing that the sport and the league will continue to gain importance in the future. Kick off! is our program that lets viewers follow Germany’s top flight – the Bundesliga. Hosts take fans through the week’s stories and results, showing how each team played and analyzing all the games, all the goals, every week. Kick off! Life has to do with emotions. It’s the reason we love the sport so much. On the pitch, every emotion is more intense: joy, pain, hope, fear, euphoria… the full spectrum. Instead of diving into results, it shows football as a lifestyle.”





South African filmmaker Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s anticipated new project, “Sew the Winter to My Skin”, an epic adventure set in the 1950’s pre-Apartheid South Africa, is a great illustration of how two different cultures can mingle harmoniously.

The story of “Sew the Winter to My Skin” follows the escapades, capture and trial of Runner, a Robin Hood-esque man of the mountain who managed to steal from farmers and elude capture for years and who believed himself to have a prophetic calling, sensing an impending doom to befall his people. The story is inspired by the South African legend of John Kepe. Nothing to do with Germany at first sight. “Sew the Winter” was one of the projects selected to the 2017 Cannes Cinefondation’s Atelier (L’Atelier supports emerging filmmakers, from near complete unknowns to high-profile names.) Then this July, the film was awarded the Berlinale World Cinema Fund Grant *. “Therefore we were required to find a German co-producer, explains South Africa-based producer Layla Swart (Yellowbone Entertainment **). We have been very fortunate to find Michael Henrichs. Michael is Managing Director and Producer at Die Gesellschaft DGS. His credits include Associate Producer on the box-office record setting GLM/ BBCW production “Earth”. He is not only an excellent producer in his own right, but also a fantastic addition to our team.” When asked why he came on board Henrichs explains enthusiastically : “Sew the Winter” is a decisive and ambitious next step after Jahmil’s “Of Good Report“, which showed his strong directorial hand, vision and precision. It is exciting to see him apply these


to the rich challenges he built into “Sew the Winter”. The narrative and visual concepts Jahmil is proposing for the film are inspiring and real fun to engage with - no holding back or looking for safety-nets here. “ This South African-Ger man venture generated a very creative bipartite dialog. To answer Heinrichs’s suggestion to cast a German actor in the lead antagonist role - not an obvious suggestion in the context of this 100% South African story - the director’s smart move was to envision a German past for the character, something totally plausible due to the many Germans who settled in South Africa in the early 1900’s. German award winning actor Peter Kurth (“Herbert”, “Goodbye Lenin”) has been cast for the character of the character of General Trosky, a wealthy man and a World War One veteran, who leads the militia to capture the main character. “Co-productions can often feel forced and affect the narrative or core of the film negatively, by inserting things that don’t necessarily belong in the world of the film, for the sake of satisfying two different cultures, audiences, governments! -, says Swart, but this process has been incredibly organic and we have managed to truly make this a German/ South African film experience and have enjoyed the collaboration thoroughly.” In addition, the team includes German sales agent Philipp Hoffman (Rushlake Media), “so

it is truly a great coming together of cultures and ideas” believes Swart, and Henrichs to conclude: “I think there is a lot that (South) African and German film-making and film-industries can give each other and hope we will contribute to a deeper culture of collaboration with “Sew the Winter”. The film is currently in pre-production and will shoot in November through to December in South Africa and is scheduled for completion for submission to Cannes 2018 (budget is ZAR 16,000,000 / EURO 1, 103, 000). Yellowbone Entertainment with Rushlake Media and DGS are determined to give this film the scope it deserves, and therefore are looking for broadcasting partners and potential distributors who are equally as invested in the expansion of a global cinema of the highest standard. (*) The World Cinema Fund is an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Berlin International Film Festival, in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office, with further support by the Goethe-Institut. WCF Africa, which grants funding for projects from Sub-Saharan Africa, was launched in 2016 thanks to additional funding from the German Federal Foreign Office. (**) Layla Swart has been a coordinator on large-scale international projects such as ABC’s of “Kings and Prophets” and Paolo Sorrentino’s HBO series “The Young Pope”. Currently she has four feature films in development including “Sew the Winter to my Skin”, the soccer film “Kings of Kwano”, and in collaboration with MNET - the coming of age “Valedictory” and the boxing tale “Knuckle City”.


The South African-German cast of “Sew the Winter to My Skin” with from top to bottom: Ezra Mabengeza, the lead actor; Peter Kurth, the German lead actor (“Good Bye, Lenin!”, 2003) ; Mandisa Nduna , a supportive actress. In the background, a South African landscape were the film will be shot.


bring your big idea to vibrant, colourful life.

About the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) The Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) is an agency of the Gauteng provincial government under the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation tasked with the development and promotion of the audiovisual industries in Gauteng, with more focus on the Film & TV industry. GFC’s core business is to deliver professional film commission services, as well as to support, facilitate and enhance the contribution of the film industry to the economic growth of the Gauteng province.

The GFC continues to give the much needed support to the local film & TV industry while at the same time promoting Gauteng with its world-class infrastructure, recognised expertise and wide range of locations, as a destination of choice for filming. The organisation also work with industry, government agencies & departments and other key stakeholders on the development and growth of sustainable audiovisual industry through various support initiatives that prioritise production and project support, distribution, market development & training.









The GFC’s overall objective is to support, develop and contribute to the growth of the Gauteng film industry through the following key focus areas:

Audience Development - develop audiences for the appreciation of local content through supporting film festivals; screenings in townships and supporting release of films supported through cinema circuit.

Content Development Support - significantly increase the number of participants involved in the development, production and distribution of independently made films in order to realise the sector’s full job preservation and creation potential.

Logistical Support - assist with locations enquiries and facilitate issuance of filming permits and ensuring that all filming activities happen smoothly without any hindrances.

Funding & Advisory Services - offer advisory services to the industry in the form of inputting on strategic direction the film must employ when completed.

Distribution and Marketing Support - provide support for alternative marketing and distribution network of local content and facilitate alternative exhibition channels and platforms.

Skills Development - address scarce skills in the sector; Advancement of personnel currently working within the industry to increase their capacity; Relevant training and development of emerging talent and contribution to the decreasing of the skills gap as identified in the research conducted by the GFC.

The GFC has a good working relationship with three major broadcasters i.e. SABC, e.tv, and M-Net through one of its channels, Mzansi Magic as well as independent distributors. This has enabled the GFC to increase its support for Gauteng made productions.

Docu-Series Durban Beach Rescue Shot on Durban Beachfront

Music Video Anatti ft Omarion Shot at Phezulu Safari Park

Television Series Ukhakhayi Shot at KwaNgcolosi




KEY MOMENTS AND FACTS OF TV5 MONDE AFRIQUE On October 26 th, 2017 at 18:30pm, TV5MONDE AFRIQUE will celebrate its 25th birthday, in the presence of DISCOP Johannesburg participants, with a delegation led by Yves Bigot, TV5 MONDE Managing Director and Denise Epoté, Director of TV5 MONDE AFRIQUE. “More than ever, as Yves Bigot points out, Africa is at the heart of TV5 MONDE’s strategic plan.” I n 1 9 8 7, A b d o u D i o u f, t h e n President of Senegal, was the first person to dream openly of an African arm for TV5 Monde. “The North speaks to the South. It would be good that the South also speaks to the North”. President Diouf’s idea and vision would gain momentum and TV5 Monde Afrique was launched in 1992. Due to a lack of resources, it is first broadcast on an old, dying Soviet satellite. From then on, the channel experiences sustained development over the years. “Everything happened gradually, recalls Patrick Imhaus, former TV5 CEO (1990-1998), through sheer intelligence and determination, until the channel became the little gem it is today.” A quarter of a century ago, the channel was the first of its kind in Africa. After 25 years, TV5Monde Afrique is not only a full-fledged Pan-African channel but it remains the most popular PanAfrican channel in French (subtitled in English) and proudly records over 29 million viewers in weekly cumulative audience rating. It is also the most watched and topic-driven of TV5 Monde’s 9 generalist channels.

“It is on the African continent that I feel this near emotional attachment of viewers to the channel,” says the great Manu Dibango. TV5 Monde Afrique does not just bring the world to Africa and Africans to each other: it also brings Africa, its artists, its creators, its creations, to the rest of the world, wherever it is broadcast (320 million homes in 200 countries). T V 5 M o n d e A f r i q u e b ro a d casts African series and movies, sports, namely the cycling tours of Burkina Faso, Cameroon,

Gabon, Rwanda and DRC, but also offers the best programming of its partner channels (France Télévisions, Arte France, RTBF, RTS, Radio-Canada, Télé-Québec, TV5 Québec-Canada). In 2016, TV5Monde Afrique was the official African broadcaster for the Rio Olympic Games. As provider for the International Organisation of La Francophonie (Kinshasa 2012, Dakar 2014, Antananarivo 2016), TV5 Monde Afrique broadcasts the summits of francophone Heads of State and the Francophone Games (like those held in Abidjan last July), as well as the continent’s biggest cultural events.

TV5 MONDE AFRIQUE TODAY Nearly 14 million African households receive the channel in 48 countries. Over 29 million viewers in weekly cumulative audience rating.

9 out of 10 people in French-speaking Africa are familiar with TV5 Monde.

TV5 Monde Afrique is Africa’s 1st international channel for the key segment aged 15 and over.

In 2016, TV5 Monde Afrique was watched by 53.4% of viewers aged 15+ each week and thus remains the No1 international channel in French-speaking Africa.

40 hours of English-subtitle programming each week (movies, dramas, magazines, documentaries).

TV5 Monde Afrique broadcasts the most important cultural events on the continent: FESPACO (Burkina Faso), SIAO (Burkina Faso), ÉCRANS NOIRS (Cameroon), FEMUA (Ivory Coast), DJEMBÉ D’OR (Guinea), FIMA (Niger), AFRIKABOK (Senegal) and many others... TV5 Monde is offered by African providers Canal+ Afrique
 and Multichoice, through direct satellite reception on SES5 and in numerous MMDS, cable, digital and terrestrial packages.



THE AFRICAN COLOURS OF TV5 MONDE AFRIQUE with Yves Bigot QA & TV5MONDE Managing Director Disbook: Psychologists often set the beginning of adulthood at age 25. Has TV5 Monde Afrique reached adulthood? What should we wish you? Yves Bigot: At 25, TV5 Monde Afrique has indeed reached adulthood. Under Denise Epoté’s direction, the channel is now revealing its true African colours and thoroughly engaging with African producers of feature films, television series, documentaries, animated movies, recordings of performances by African artists, broadcasts of international (Olympics) or African sports competitions. We have launched an African motoring magazine (Ça roule), with Ivorian Juliette Ba presenting, and we have just launched our new daily news broadcast, Journal Afrique, which now lasts 26 minutes. Wish us that our African viewers remain as loyal to us as they have been for 25 years... D: Which countries record the highest audience rating for TV5 Monde Afrique? How do you explain those results? Y. B.: First and foremost the Democratic Republic of Congo, which can be explained by two factors: one, it is the largest French-speaking country in the world and, two, we have the benefit of having two wireless transmitters there, in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Then come Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, two entirely French-speaking countries... D: With which segment(s) are you seeing the best results? What are your short-term objectives? How do you intend to achieve them? Y. B.: We are watched and liked by a very large audience, that’s the advantage of being a generalist channel. Our audience research shows that 55% of TV5 Monde viewers are males and that they are rather young, 70% are under 40. African series and dramas really appeal to the wider public. Documentaries and magazines are popular with the CSP+ (higher managerial and professional occupations), news broadcasts, and Journal Afrique in particular, have a strong rallying power and are watched by all our viewers.


In the short term, we are going to launch TV5 Monde Style HD, a new channel dedicated to the “Art de Vivre” (the art of living). This channel, which already broadcasts in Asia and the Middle East, focusses on French and francophone sophistication in all its forms: fashion, luxury, the hospitality industry, jewellery, gastronomy, the wine industry, design, garden design, architecture, cultural and historical heritage... In Africa, Style HD will join children’s channel TiVi5Monde launched a year ago and generalist channel TV5 Monde Afrique. We will position these 3 channels on the same satellite so as to encourage providers to take them on. Our aim is to create a TV5 Monde offer that could become part of the various TNT (Télévision Numérique Terrestre, France’s digital terrestrial television service) packages. D: Do you think that African productions (features, series, animated movies) have more potential on the global market today than they had 10 or 15 years ago? What part does or did TV5 Monde play in this development? Y. B.: Yes, of course. Indeed, the success of African films in festivals across the globe speaks for itself. Our first contribution is a financial one: we co-produce, pre-purchase or purchase a large number of films, TV series, documentaries, animated movies and concert recordings. We then work with authors, directors and producers throughout the creation and production process. Finally, not only do we arrange worldwide broadcasting and promotion through festivals but we have also contributed to the creation of the Trophées francophones du cinéma (Francophone Cinema Awards) that will take place in Yaoundé in December, after Dakar, Paris, Abidjan and Beirut. D: How has digital transformed TV5 Monde? Y. B.: By making TV5 Monde Afrique available on all digital media, websites, apps and social networks, the generalist channel not only offers its programmes on replay but also allows its followers to keep abreast of the news 24/7/365.


Yves Bigot, TV5MONDE Managing Director

Furthermore, thanks to TV5 Monde + Afrique, our 100% Africa online TV which is available free of charge across the world, internet users have on-demand access to all the African productions that we fund or purchase. This offer is very popular in the United States for instance.

Finally we advised the various Ministers and authorities responsible for digital transition of the opportunity to add TiVi5Monde to the MUX alongside TV5Monde Afrique. Today the Seychelles broadcast TiVi5Monde on the TNT and Burkina Faso has pledged to follow suit.

D: What is the initial evaluation of Tivi5Monde launched last year?

D: At the last Fespaco you stated that you were developing your film pre-purchase policy. Can you expand on this? What are your main selection criteria?

Y. B.: Tivi5Monde is showcased by two of the main payTV operators in Africa, namely Canal+ and Startimes. This channel was very well received by local operators who quickly included it in their basic packages.

Y. B: We prioritize quality, creativity, originality and diversity, whilst seeking to work with authors, directors and producers from all French-speaking African countries, be they from Central Africa, West Africa or the Indian Ocean.


HAPPY 25TH BIRTHDAY TV5 MONDE AFRIQUE! D: Will you also be producing or co-producing TV series? Are you looking to initiate projects? Y. B.: We have for years been co-producing and pre-purchasing a lot of TV series in Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, the two Congos, the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina, Mali, etc. We come in at different stages of production, including project initiation and script-writing. We also contribute to format adaptation, as with “Parents Mode d’Emploi” in Gabon. D: One of the main pieces of advice given to African artists and audiovisual producers is to submit projects with global potential. How does this actually fit with the need to preserve an African identity, which is one of your broadcasting requirements?

“We have high expectations when it comes to project quality and financing.”

Y. B.: Following the principle that what is local is often universal. Worldwide successes such as “Madmen”, “Sopranos”, “Empire” or “The L World” feature very unusual worlds that nevertheless gain universal appeal thanks to their compelling subject matter, script and acting. The greatest African successes around the world have been precisely those films that had a strong African identity. The work of Sembène Ousmane, Idrissa Ouedraogo and Souleymane Cissé, who are experts in this field, come to mind. D: In your opinion, which film or series is exemplary in this respect?

Y. B.: The most recent films include those of Moussa Touré (“La Pirogue” - The Canoe, “Bois d’ébène” Ebony wood), of Mahamat Saleh Haroun (“A screaming man”, “Gris-gris”, “A season in France”), Alain Gomis


whom we have been supporting since the release of his first feature and whose film “Félicité” is deeply rooted in the continent. “Wulu” from Malian director Daouda Coulibaly also enjoys global success and is a debut feature. Finally “Wallay”, by Berni Goldblat, is very successful in festivals and appeals to the wider public in cinemas. This film has managed to blend national with international and tackles the North-South cultural divide with great finesse and affection. With regard to series, we have already mentioned the Gabonese adaptation of “Parents Mode d’Emploi” but we may also quote “Sœurs Ennemies” (Enemy Sisters), an Ivorian drama series that was nominated at the last Fiction Festival in La Rochelle. D: You also take part in DISCOP Johannesburg and Abidjan to discover or purchase new contents among other things. Which ones are most likely to grab your attention? How should producers “approach” you?

Y. B.: We have high expectations when it comes to project quality and financing. In terms of editorial content, we favour productions with a deliberately strong African identity, productions that address local realities irrespective of programme genre or format. We also believe in having conversations with producers and all the partners with whom we work, whether public or private. A good business relationship requires all these conditions to be met, it’s a “win-win” deal. That is why the term partnership is best suited to our way of working.



Over the years as a political journalist (before being the head of the channel), I had the opportunity to build relationships with African executives who manage the distribution of TV5 Monde in their country. Knowing my peers is an important asset when I have to negotiate.

Where are you from? I am a Cameroonian. I studied in Cameroon and as well as in France and in Canada.

Best memory in your professional life? The first time I was able to travel to South Africa after the end of apartheid. It was in 1994, shortly after Nelson Mandela’s accession to power.

Where do you currently live? I have lived and worked in France since 1993. I live in Gennevilliers, a city located about 9 miles from Paris. TV5 Monde headquarters are in Paris, but Paris is too noisy for me. I like Gennevilliers, especially the eco-district where I live. It’s quiet. It’s good to have a peaceful haven after a day of work!

Worst memory in your professional life? It was Mobutu’s last press conference in 1997, a few months before his fall, in his hometown of Gwadolite. He would answer the questions of the journalists with tears in his eyes. It was a moving moment to see the Marshal in that condition.

How did you get into media? After law school, I studied journalism. I started working on radio and Cameroon television as an anchor and editor in chief. Then I joined TV5 Monde, first as program manager and then as Africa director. What does being a media executive entails? As director of TV5 Monde Afrique, I’m in charge of the distribution and marketing issues (I lead a team of five people: two in Paris, one in DRC, one in Senegal, one in Cameroon), and I am also in charge of the relationships with Francophone leaders and public broadcasters.I also host twice a week on T V5 Monde Afrique, a news magazine about Africa. I record the show on Fridays and Saturdays and dedicate the rest of the week to marketing and distribution.

TV5 Monde Africa 25th Anniversary’s resolution? Do even better for the next 25 years! What is your recommendation to the producers who wish to meet with you at DISCOP Johannesburg? Yves Bigot, our general manager, will lead our delegation. We are hosting a cocktail party on October 26th to celebrate the 25th anniversary of TV5 Monde Afrique. This is a good opportunity to meet. Producers should meet with Sandra Basset in charge of African series on our stand 100-114. But I tell them to make an appointment! Currently reading? I always read two books at the same time. Currently, it is ‘Le Dictionnaire Amoureux de l’Afrique’ by Hervé Bourges and ‘Afrotopia’ by Felwine Sarr. Your favorite current TV show? Without any doubt, my favorite show is the Ivorian series ‘Ma Famille’ directed by Akissi Delta. The pan-African success of the series gave birth to the making of ‘Ma Grande Famille’, with actors from various African countries. I also watch the French-ItalianSpanish series ‘The Young Pope’. Jude Law is outstanding! I don’t think the Vatican shares my opinion though... Speaking of TV fiction, it’s great to see the production sector in Africa booming. Before, Africa was told by others. I like this quote from the great Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe: “Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”



FOR SHOWMAX, HYPERLOCAL IS THE TRUE LOCAL with Chris Savides QA & Head of Showmax Africa Interview Andy Kozlov According to Chris Savides, head of Showmax Africa(*), the success of an Internet-based subscription video service in Africa, depends if you truly understand local needs and how important your involvement with the local industry is. In this exclusive interview with Disbook, Savides discusses his views on the future of content in Africa and his expectations from local producers. Disbook: As Showmax, how do you contribute to the development of content produced in Africa? Chris Savides: There’s a couple of elements to this. First, we provide a new platform for existing shows and films - we’ve got an extensive local content catalogue which is proving very popular. Second, we’re producing our own shows locally, with co-productions like “iNumber Number” and our first Showmax Original, “Tali’s Wedding Diary”. D: What are the ways in which you support independent content producers in Africa? C. S.: We acquire content directly from independent producers or via their distribution representatives. The major benefit of this is the fact that we’re showcasing content that doesn’t have a home on mainstream platforms, such as short films. During the past Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), we also participated in panel discussions where we exchanged views on the future of content in Africa. We also have an open door policy in the sense that we welcome pitches and don’t have any preconceived notions on what type of content we’ll consider. D: Is the future bright for the industry in Africa? C. S.: Absolutely! There’s no question that there’s a strong demand for local content, and that it can be a key service differentiator. With internet TV services taking off, content producers will have more options and more potential customers than today.

D: What is your strategy? What are your target regions, markets? C. S.: Showmax is currently available in more than 70 countries globally. The main markets we’re concentrating on at the moment are South Africa, Kenya and Poland. In each of these we’ve taken a hyperlocal approach - customising our apps, partnerships and content to make sure we’re properly addressing local needs. It’s the opposite of a one-size-fitsall approach. D: What message of encouragement would you like to give to independent producers in Africa? C. S.: When it comes to our viewing figures, it turns out that specialized local content is exactly what works. Don’t pitch us a version of an international show cut and paste into Africa. We’d rather give our customers the option of the best Hollywood shows out there and at the same time offer something nobody else has - truly local programming made just for them. D: What is your favorite African TV show among the most recent releases? C. S.: I’m going to cheat and pick two. ‘Music Is Our Weapon’ is a story from Kenya by Sarabi, whose music is about rising up from the shackles of poverty, corruption and divisive politics. It’s an uplifting message about the power of love in day-to-day living. We’re also delighted with the response to the TV series of ‘iNumber Number’, our first co-production with Mzansi Magic, which reunites the original stars of the multi-award-winning film, Sdumo Mtshali (Chili) and Presley Cheneyagae (Shoes). The cops’ brotherhood bond is threatened when Chili infiltrates an infamous crime family for very personal motives. Quizzical Pictures, who have won the South African Film and TV Award for Best TV drama ever year since 2011, outdid themselves on this one.

(*) Internet-based subscription video Showmax launched Internet TV services to 36 countries across sub-Saharan Africa in 2016. The catalog is a mix of international and local content, designed specifically for Africa. In addition to class-leading catalogue of Hollywood and British favourites, the service includes a Kiswahili language section and a Nollywood section, as well as an African Film section. ShowMax is a subsidiary of the continent’s most successful media and Internet business Naspers.



The first Showmax original series, “Tali’s Wedding Diary”, is a mockumentary featuring Julia Anastasopoulos. The eight-part series will premiere on Showmax in December. Building on the phenomenal Youtube success of ‘SuzelleDIY’ character, Anastasopoulos stars as Tali (pictured above), a self-obsessed Sandton princess who’s moved to Cape Town and has hired a documentary crew to film the build-up to her wedding to property-agent fiancé Darren. Ari Kruger, co-creator and director of “Tali’s Wedding Diary”, has worked extensively as a director for commercials, music videos and online content. His short films have gained significant attention online and played in film festivals around the world. Speaking about the decision to work with Showmax, Anastasopoulos said, “When Ari and I first approached Showmax we knew we had a great concept but weren’t sure if they’d bite - getting backing for a production in South Africa can be tough. To their credit, Showmax instantly bought into what we’re trying to do. This is exactly the kind of support the film industry in this country needs. We’ve got world-class acting and production talent so it’s a huge boost to see a local company fund local productions.”





THE NEW PLATFORM ON THE BLOCK, MAHALA TV, WANTS AFRICAN CONTENT CREATORS TO BE SELF-SUFFICIENT Mahala.tv wants to revolutionize the way that content producers in Africa can create, share, monetize and ultimately fund their productions; from films and TV shows, to short content and music videos. The platform will create a community for filmmakers across Africa to cooperatively and effectively create a viable industry. Mahala.tv CEO, Gerhard Mostert, who is also a South African producer and director, explains why he is confident that his new platform will revolutionize the industry and contribute to the development of content produced in Africa. “Mahala is a technology tool that will provide multiple resources for content producers looking to create revenue streams through their content on their existing web and social media platforms. Mahala will provide a free hosting platform that can integrate into existing websites and social media platforms, with built-in options for monetizing content via subscriptions, advertising, and in-content purchases. The various challenges around the exorbitant costs of hosting content, as well as the complications of billing for subscriptions and monetizing content when using existing video streaming platforms have made it extremely difficult for producers to monetize their own content within their existing websites or social media pages. For independent producers these tools will be a game changer. The platform is underpinned by a free cooperative banking and payment platform that will also enable content producers to access funds and resources. Through its various services that will be available to content pro

ducers across Africa, Mahala will enable producers to easily and simply monetize their own content without having third party mediation. Content producers can sell their own advertising and get real time payments via their existing websites and social media platforms. The entire advertising ecosystem that will be created across Africa will also see the creation of a content industry cooperative that will provide crowd funding and financial resources for participating producers.

create uniquely African content that speaks to the tens of millions of fellow Africans. The time is now for African content to go to the next level and for content producers to become self-sustaining without the need for grants and government support. Mahala will be driving this progress towards sustainability and we invite all content producers to join this journey.”

Mahala is launching to content providers as well as to potential advertisers and merchants in order to create a sustainable monetized eco-system that provides revenue to content producers, subsidizes the costs of data to users, and provides targeted narrowcasting advertising to brands and merchants. The technology is rolling out first to Eastern & Southern Africa and will be underpinned with a free global cooperative banking platform. According to me, the future of the African audiovisual sector is linked to the access and costs of data. The future is bright as long as more and more people are able to access data at affordable rates. One of Mahala’s key strategies will be to provide registered users with access to free (advertising subsidized) data, making it possible for more and more people to view content via their devices. The more people watch, the more demand, the better for the industry. Mahala is inspired by creativity and would like to inspire further creativity. Independent producers must stick with it and continue to

Mahala.tv CEO Gerhard Mostert, who is also a South Africa producer and director

“The time is now for African content to go to the next level” 93



QA &

with Joseph Hundah Econet Media, President and Group CEO Interview by Andy Kozlov

Kwesé (everywhere in Shona/Zimbabwe language) is the new player on the African pay TV field. Launched in April 2016 under the Econet Media brand – a subsidiary of Telco Econet Group, owned by Zimbabwean telecoms tycoon Strive Masiyiwa – Kwesé TV targets the young “mobile-first” African audience. The service provides affordable, premium content to audiences across the continent. With a mix of exclusive third-party channels, original programming and its premium owned channels, Kwesé TV is establishing itself as a destination for compelling African and international content. Here, Joseph Hundah, President and Group CEO of Econet Media, talks about the new paradigms of the game, his excitement about content consumption and collaboration with local producers. DISBOOK: What is your strategy for Kwesé TV? Joseph Hundah: Kwesé is premised on the concept of TV everywhere and anywhere, catering to the changing needs of today’s globally connected African viewer. We’re making the best content available to audiences across Africa, whether it’s on mobile, on the web or via traditional TV channels. Our multi-platform business model, as well as the diversity of the premium and exclusive content we have, set us apart in the industry. Our focus on making content accessible is core to our strategy. We acquire the best content whether third party or commissioned which we then deliver to viewers across our various platforms. Our ‘pay-as-you-watch’ service demonstrates that. We provide unparalleled access to premium programming at affordable prices by offering monthly, 7-day and 3-day Kwesé TV subscriptions. In addition to flexible packages, we are also home to Africa’s largest pan-African free-to-air channel, Kwesé Free Sports which is delivering select premium content to viewers for free. We intend to have a presence across sub-Saharan Africa. We are actively working with regulators and industry bodies across various countries to obtain


broadcast licenses for our direct-to-home (DTH) offering which we currently live in Ghana, Zambia, Rwanda and Lesotho with plans to launch additional countries in Q3 and Q4 of this year. Our FTA channel is currently available in 25 countries. D: Do you contribute to the development of content made in Africa? J. H.: Kwesé is committed to telling our continent’s stories in a way which is relevant, authentic and resonates with our audiences. Critical to the success of any local content offering, is to strike a balance between content which is pan-African in its appeal whilst ensuring that we are sourcing content from the various markets where we have a presence. We strongly believe in conducting thorough research to understand exactly what our viewers want and creating programming that will speak to this need. We also need to take our diverse audience base into consideration, while Africa is considered a young continent with around 70% of the population under the age of 35, we also have an older audience base which we need to consider. This diversity is where research becomes paramount. D: How do you work with independent content producers in Africa? J. H.: We license, co-produce, pre-license and commission content from independent producers. At a certain time in the year, we solicit ideas from producers who pitch their concepts to our Original Content team. Based on the quality of the concept, as well as it’s fit for our platform, we select the production company with whom we’ll work to develop and produce the show. We are constantly looking for out-of-the-box stories and concepts. It’s important for us to use our platforms to reflect Africa back to itself in new and different ways.

TRENDS & BUSINESS D: Is the future bright for the audiovisual sector in Africa?

D: What message of encouragement would you like to give to independent producers?

J. H.: The future is indeed very bright. The industry is being driven by innovation in terms of platforms. In particular, the increased consumption of content on mobile is changing the game and in many ways levelling the playing field.

J. H.: Let’s work together to showcase the best of Africa’s creative talent. Let’s think beyond our own borders and connect African consumers through universal stories that showcase a vibrant and courageous Africa to the world. This is the time for Africa’s innovators to showcase their talent on a continental and indeed global stage.

The value chain has changed and content creators can get their content to market in different ways. This is forcing the traditional players to up their game and opening the industry up to new players by lowering the traditional barriers to entry. This is great for Africa’s audiovisual sector as we are innovating and adapting to the changing needs of our viewers at a rate never seen before. It is precisely this context, which led to the birth of Kwesé. This is an exciting time for the industry; it’s fertile ground for all to co-exist, but for the best to survive. Quality is what will set content providers apart and only those who give consumers relevant quality content will rise to the top.

Local producers need to focus on original ideas and learn from what the best have to offer and make it their own. Finally, collaborate, collaborate, collaborate – identify others whose skills set and experience can take your project from concept to fruition. D: What is your current favourite African TV show? J. H.: “Wedding Party “(the Nigerian film) and on TV, we have some exciting connect lined up – watch this space, it’s coming to Kwesé very soon.

Joseph Hundah, President and group CEO at Econet Media, is a seasoned media and finance executive with over 20 years’ Pan-African and international experience, having worked on both the public and private sides of the media industry. Previous roles include CEO of Multichoice Nigeria; Operations Director for M-Net Sub-Saharan Africa, and CFO for M-Net and Super Sport International Holdings Limited and General Manager Finance at the South African Broadcasting Corporation.



FRANCETV DISTRIBUTION IS CONFIDENT IN THE POTENTIAL OF AFRICA By Mathurin Beauvert, international sales manager at FranceTV Distribution “Francetv Distribution has been positioned on the African market for the last 10 years. The last four years have seen an acceleration of our business on the continent. The market is still young  on the French speaking territories  but I believe it has a huge potential.  Furthermore, the increasing number of African channels brings more opportunities for our programs. We have a rich offering that includes more and more African programs such as “Taxi Zaef”, a series of candid camera sketches produced by On est Ensemble Productions. One of the series’ strong points is its talents. The actors are very popular in Africa. In order to meet with the expectations of the English-speaking African viewers we recently began dubbing all our programs. As a public service, Francetv Distribution benefits from a longstanding relationship with other public services. On top of that privileged relationship - and because we belong to the France Télévisions network that invests heavily in programs - we have a multi-genre catalogue with quality programs. The diversity of Francetv Distribution’s catalogues makes our offer very attractive and our partnerships with African producers have enables us to enrich our relationships with buyers. Documentaries and animated programs, much in demand in Africa, are heavily represented in our catalogue, with for instance the latest


season of “Somewhere on Earth” (Vu Sur Terre). The 8 season-documentary series takes viewers to magical locations to discover the people who live there. Our animated series include “Peanuts” and the “Peanuts’ Fun Adventures” (500x1’30 & 104x7’, produced by Peanuts Worldwide LLC and Normaal Animation) and the little bird “Dimitri” (2 seasons of 26x5’, produced by Vivement Lundi!) who sets off to discover the African savannah. Season 2 is scheduled for 2018. To answer the high demand for telenovelas and, more than anything else, fiction, we bought numerous European fiction programs, and we now invest in program format such as “The PIM” (Parenthood Instruction ManualParents Mode d’Emploi). Furthermore, there has been a strategic choice to strengthen the catalogue by purchasing African productions and for the past 2 years we have developed our African fiction offering with, among other shows, “Secret Intentions”. This 26x26’ series produced by Credo Media tells the story of two couples on the verge of breaking up. We are also proud to have a first Ivoirain animation series in our catalogue: “Kassa le Messager”. This 26x13’ series produced by Arobase Studio tells the story of a little boy who goes back to his grandparents’ village and discovers African culture. We also boast a dozen fictions including the Gabonese version of “The PIM” (Parenthood Instruction

Manual- Parents Mode d’Emploi) coproduced by On Est Ensemble Productions. Many other projects are underway. We aren’t considering partnerships with producers because that isn’t our job as distributor. However, we do accompany them when they are looking for investments when it’s in the case of pre-sales. I feel certain that African productions have a strong international potential in so much as the topics are increasingly easy to export and the global offering is more effective. Our goal is to become a leading player of the African audiovisual market by maintaining a quality offering that’s rich and diverse.”

Mathurin Beauvert, International Sales Manager at Francetv Distribution


LOCAL CONTENT IS THE LOCAL KING! Internationalisation used to be the key to a successful television format. But what does that mean for ready made content? After or simultaneously with the ‘Netflix’ trend of globalisation in the readymade content markets, there is an international movement where broadcasters, or more specific: their audiences, expect internationally produced content to be localized. Hosted by Khanyi Mbau (South African television host, actress,

singer and radio personality) The Scoop is a new celebrity format on SABC, covering the latest trends in local and international fashion, music, movies, and celebrities. The Scoop is a global format by the Dutch producer FCCE and its South African version is an interesting case study about the importance of localizing content. It all began with an encounter at DISCOP Johannesburg 2016. Pascal Schimtz, Head of Acquisitions of South Africa-based AAA Entertainment and executive producer of the show, recalls how

the partnership with Amsterdambased international tv production and distribution outfit FCCE happened. “We hadn’t planned to partner with FCCE. We met at DISCOP Johannesburg last year and David de Bie, FCCE’s international sales manager for Africa told me about the format called The Scoop. I immediately recognized the perfect fit with our Pan-African coproduction vision. FCCE has a global outlook and a very export-based prospective on multiple territories around the world which matches

our philosophy and business approach at AAA. The partnership was easy to accomplish, it was natural. Two weeks after we met at DISCOP, we were both pitching the show to SABC. We produced, edited and packaged a pilot in three days thanks to the very smart infrastructure that FCCE provides. Three months later SABC licensed the show and 6 months of the initial meeting, The Scoop was aired, prime time on Wednesday night.” David de Bie explains in detail: “The localisation of international factual entertainment magazines

could be done at different levels, starting with the replacement of the voice over, adding a local host to the program or even adding locally produced items about local celebrities. AAA proposed to localise the format much more than what anyone has done so far with this particular show format. In other countries the ratio international versus local content is 70% vs 30%. AAA turns is around: weekly local content is 60 and 70% and we add 30% international content. The mix, no matter what the exact percentage is, is what makes the show really work. The audience can enjoy the international updates, while at the same time diving into the world of their local stars. And that is also where the local social media platforms fit in perfectly. FCCE, in South Africa in partnership with AAA, successfully combined all these elements resulting in the popular cross-platform entertainment show The Scoop. Its ready now to roll out to the other African territories; we welcome partners like AAA and SABC!”

Pictured: Khanyi Mbau, South African television host, actress, singer and radio personality. She brings the hottest international & local celebrity juice in the local version of The Scoop.



NEW BOUTIQUE PRODCO IDEAS FOR FILMS UNVEILS 2 GLOBAL TV MINISERIES READY TO SHOOT IN S.A. “The Day of the Covenant” and “Diamond Squad”, 2 TV Miniseries co-developed with Dan Jawitz and Michael Esser respectively, are ready to be shot and will be pitched at DISCOP Johannesburg. Dan Jawitz believes “The Day of the Covenant” has many winning cards. Here’s why: “The Day of the Covenant is a suspenseful and intriguing South African story with compelling international appeal that takes place in Cape Town in 1982. It dramatises the true story of the little-known sabotage of Koeberg nuclear power station just outside Cape Town by a lone operative who with very little experience of espionage or explosives, under the nose of one of the most oppressive regimes known to mankind, decides to blow up the facility before it goes live, putting himself and his girlfriend at risk of death and imprisonment every moment along the way.

Ideas for Films is a new Los Angeles-based outfit servicing independent production companies increasingly under pressure to deliver original content with a universal appeal and attract international partners to fund it. Patrick Zuchowicki and Françoise Lazard, the duo behind the DISCOP Markets and DISBOOK Magazine, are broadening their business scope by launching this film and TV project development label. In partnership with top creative and production voices, IFF mines the world for unique stories and ideas that have grabbed the attention of their globe-trotting research team. The objective is to develop film and television projects with marks of interest from bankable talent and that can be shot in South Africa. On the occasion of DISCOP Johannesburg, IFF unveils “The Day of the Covenant” and “Diamond Squad”. The 2 projects are packaged to be quickly financed and swiftly put into production.


This contained 4-part TV mini-series is an epic conspiracy of inter-


national intrigue and espionage set during the heights of Apartheid in South Africa, leading to the explosion of the country’s first and only nuclear power plant only weeks before it was due to go live, with a very unlikely hero. The project has been developed in collaboration with Emmy-Award winning producer Dan Jawitz (“A Lions Trail”, 2005; “Devil’s Lair”, 2014), one the most prominent Johannesburg-based independent producers with dozens of feature films and TV series at his credits.

The action was arguably the most effective and spectacular military action in the entire struggle against Apartheid. Yet the details of the story have remained largely unknown - until now. The story is both quirky and highly entertaining. The protagonist is an apolitical anarchist who undermines himself by cynicism, impulsiveness, marijuana smoking and excessive drinking. Yet despite this, he manages to sabotage the highest value security target of all just when the South African war-


source of revenues for some African countries. The project has already been successfully pitched to major German producers. As a co-production between Germany and South Africa, the project would benefit from the well-structured and -resourced German TV and film funding system and the South African generous and constructive tax rebate for international co-productions that can be produced in the country. lords are busy breaking every sanction imposed on them by trading in arms and technology, not only with France - who built the plant – but also with America, Israel and Germany who supplied most of the nuclear technology. Remember this was the Cold War! “Day of The Covenant” offers potential copro partners a spectacular retro 80’s romp through a-far-flungcold-war in Africa, with excellent roles for French and German actors, high production values, cheap crews and the opportunity to shoot in the most spectacular city in the southern hemisphere.


The project dives deep into the secretive world of diamond trading in Africa. The story follows a fictional team of investigators, who combat the illegal trade and smuggling of diamond - an industry that is a vital

For this project, IFF has partnered with Michael Esser, a Los Angelesbased scriptwriter and producer who has won numerous US screenwriting competitions while developing and writing TV series and feature films with US and German companies. Essner adapted the Colombian Telenovela hit “Betty La Fea” (“Ugly Betty” in the US) for German TV, and in 2005, he won the German Television Award (“German Emmy”) as head writer of the daily drama series “Verliebt In Berlin”. Michael Essner tells us about the strong assets of “Diamond Squad”: “The thriller revolves around a world that hasn’t so far been covered by a TV series, illicit diamond trading, a multi billion dollar business that had and has ramifications in every aspect of organized crime. It is set in South Africa but its true puppet masters are in Europe and

the US. Our heroes infiltrate this world whose currency and credentials are carats - and soon discover that it extends far beyond their worst expectations. The protagonists of “Diamond Squad” are British, South Africans, Germans and Americans, which allows for a wide selection of talent. We are looking for writers and directors with experience in production of internationally appealing TV series in the genre of psychological thriller like “Deutschland 83”, “The last Panthers”, “The Bridge” or “”The Killing”. DISCOP Johannesburg will be an opportunity to raise awareness among German producers about the high standards of productions that have taken place in South Africa in the past decade, from “Homeland” to “Black Sails”, and I am sure that the extremely attractive tax rebates offered by the South African government will contribute greatly to the financial feasibility of the project.”

FOR MORE INFO THE DAY OF THE COVENANT Dan JAWITZ M: + 27 82 330 8736 (S.A) dan@fireworxmedia.co.za DIAMOND SQUAD Michael ESSER: M: +1 310 625-8698 (USA) +49 170 287 3883 (Germany) me@ideasforfilms.us



New Venue : Sunshine City, Ikebukuro, Tokyo

Walk-in registration will be available during Oct. 23-26 Details Available at : https://registration.jcs.tokyo/registration/audience/input Contact : inquiry@tiffcom.jp 100


FROM FOOD TO ADVENTURES, THE GROWING INFLUENCE OF AFRICAN STORIES ON THE WORLD Chef Lentswe Bhengu (pictured on opposite page) is one of the hosts of “Africa on a Plate”, a The Africa Channel Studios’ (TAC *) original series in which up and coming young chefs explore the continent through a culinary journey of food and culture. Early October, Viasat World acquired two seasons of the show. Kwesé TV also recently acquired complete seasons of five TAC Studios original series: “Africa Everywhere” – An illuminating series that highlights the rich influences of African and Caribbean immigrants in metropolitan cites across the globe ; “My Africa” – A series where noted local personalities and artists eagerly provide personal tours of what they love the most about the cities and communities they call home ; “Emerging” – This series goes inside the emerging economies in Africa, from rich agriculture and oil production to growing technology and media industries ; “Self Made” – A series that features entrepreneurs, artists, entertainers and philanthropists who have decided to march to their own drum beat and make a difference on their own terms. In parallel to the deals with Viasat and Kwesé TV, TAC made its first original series sale in the U.S., with the Urban Movie Channel (UMC) acquiring SVOD rights for the 13-episode “World Wide Nate: African Adventures” (the series is currently in production at locations across Africa.) Commenting on these deals, Brendan Gabriel, TAC Studios’ Vice President of Creative & Production, said: “TAC Studios and companies like Kwesé and Viasat share a vision for producing and programming high quality HD content with Pan-African appeal. Our collective passion is to bridge the gap between Africa and the world in format and content development.” (*)TAC Studios, a production arm of The Africa Channel cable network, was created to formalize and build on The Africa Channel’s existing production initiatives by developing, producing and distributing premium lifestyle content reflecting Africa’s influence on the world. It collaborates with producers from Africa and around the globe to bring contemporary stories, authentic voices and high quality productions to audiences worldwide. Chef Lentswe Bhengu, one of the hosts of “Africa on a Plate”, a The Africa Channel Studios’ original series.



IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT, BEING ADAPTABLE IS KEY with Sandra Coulibay QA & Sales and marketing Manager, Côte Ouest In Abidjan, there is a two-kilometer distance between the stations for Ivorian public Television (RTI) and Côte Ouest Audiovisuel. Sandra Coulibaly recently traveled that distance. She created and developed the distribution department of RTI for three years, and recently joined Côte Ouest to develop its commercial and marketing strategy. This short journey says much about the evolution of the audiovisual sector. Disbook: In the past we have known you in a large state enterprise and now we learn that you have joined Côte Ouest Coast, undoubtedly a great move. What are the reasons for this decision? Sandra Coulibaly: This move happens after more than 3 years in my previous position. With Bernard Azria, Côte Ouest CEO, we had on and off collaborations in the past but not enough time for me to fully understand his vision. During a more extensive meeting, I found out the organization and the ambitions of Côte Ouest. It is a very dynamic company, constantly innovating and reinventing itself. The team is young, qualified and eager for success. This model has been successful for the last 20 years in Côte d’Ivoire and the rest of Africa. That’s why I made my choice. My new position, as the commercial and marketing manager, has an international span, with many responsibilities and a high-level challenge, within a company structured to adapt to a constantly changing market. I am aware of the constant changes in our industry and the associated issues, so it was only natural for me to decide to join the group. Côte Ouest is showing anticipation, creativity, adaptation and aggressiveness, thanks to its leader and its teams. Moreover, it is a company with human dimensions whose values I fully share. D: What is your personal background and do you think it is difficult for a woman to succeed in this industry in Côte d’Ivoire and at Côte Ouest?


S.C.: I am a Franco-Ivorian, born in Côte d’Ivoire, but I spent my teenage years abroad, because of my father’s profession, my family traveled a lot: to Mexico, Hong Kong, Dubai, Thailand, USA ... I did my graduate studies in France. It has been four years since I left Paris to permanently settle in Abidjan. As for the position of women in this sector in Côte d’Ivoire, I do not believe it is difficult for them to succeed. Quite to the contrary! I have met many influential women in Côte d’Ivoire who are models for incomparable success; such as Ana Ballo or Akissi Delta. I also believe that the commitment, vision, patience and determination required for women to succeed are very much adapted to the difficulties encountered by market players. Let me add that women are more successful than men because of their qualities of listening and analysis! I have just started my work at Côte Ouest but I feel that Bernard Azria has confidence in women. He trusts them with important responsibilities. The mission he has awarded me with shows an open mind. After twenty years in business, he is well positioned to know that a woman can succeed in this sector. D: You said that Côte Ouest approach is part of the new dynamics of the market; can you share your views in this regard? S.C.: The audiovisual market is changing rapidly and consumer habits are constantly evolving. Content creators, producers and broadcasters must adapt to meet these challenges. The digital revolution opens up unlimited opportunities for our sector. The increasing use of mobile devices (tablets, smartphones) and the multi-screen content environment have revolutionized television. For example, there is a clear trend in short format. With Studio CO2, a young talents incubator, Côte Ouest brings a coherent response to this trend. The same individual can consume totally different contents depending on the time of the day and the context. The advent of VOD / SVOD is a response to

TRENDS & BUSINESS this change, and on our side, we must become a linear or nonlinear content aggregator - which we are also working on. We operate in a changing environment. The capacity for adaptability and innovation is key in order to meet new demands. Côte Ouest, for instance, is not only a content distributor and now produces four to five series each year. D: What do you think will shape the future of the audiovisual sector in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa? S.C.: The promotion of African content has always been one of my top priorities and Côte Ouest is also lobbying for a better place for Africa on the international market, with quality and multi local content that can travel – and there is indeed a growing appetite for African content around the world. The Francophone Africa is somewhat lagging behind in terms of production. But the good news is that some important players want to give it a place on the international level.

In my opinion, the content by Africans for Africans and the rest of the world, should and will characterize the future of the audiovisual sector in Francophone Africa – and probably will very soon. D: How do you see the future of your business in the years to come? S.C: I am convinced of the forthcoming advent of an African power in the media with an export of our content across borders. It will happen because Africa attracts a lot of investment and is becoming the favorite playground of many countries production companies. The African viewer is increasingly demanding – they have been fed with the greatest international shows – but are also attracted by content made locally. As the viewer is now active, their behavior rules and influences the audiovisual landscape. Content providers must adapt to this new and very demanding environment. OTT will dominate because everything will be going through the Internet, and because this is the only way to offer a wide choice of content. Within these dynamics, quality will prevail. Côte Ouest, as a major player in the sector, will initiate this new process and will be in the best position to accomplish this revolution.

Sandra Coulibaly, sales and marketing manager at Côte Ouest, pcitured in September in Cocody, Abidjan.



CÔTE OUEST IS NOT AFRAID OF DIGITAL, JUST THE CONTRARY with Olivia Dadié Kipré QA & Director of Communications and Digital, Côte Ouest Disbook: Olivia, you are the director of communications and digital at Côte Ouest. Are you a digital native? Olivia Dadié Kipré: One evening my mother entered our living room with a bizarre box. When connected to the computer in the house, the box allowed access to the Internet, with a strange “tit tit tiiiii” sound. That was 1994. I was immediately fascinated by the opportunity offered by “the WEB.” In 2001, when I was in college, Internet 2.0 and social media were emerging. I used to spend my days on the discussion forums, MySpace, Hi5, and the virtual world “Second Life.” Later, with Facebook, I wondered how a brand could use these “worlds” to get closer to consumers. I eventually made it the subject of my Master Thesis and my profession. On the audiovisual side, the arrival of DTT on the African continent and the special relationship that Africans have with mobile phones were elements that let me to take an interest in the marriage between the digital and audiovisual sectors. D: What are the impacts of digital on the African audiovisual industry? On the continent, the Internet and digital worlds have led to the democratization of production and broadcast. The power gives each user the ability to be as much a spectator as an actor or commentator, and allows everyone to be not only a content creator, but also a media producer on their own. The most active players are the VOD platforms whose numbers on the continent have soared tremendously — even though several of them have already closed down. Traditional television must learn how to use this new asset and reinvent itself. D: What are the impacts on Côte Ouest? O.D.K: For several decades, Côte Ouest’s business has been to distribute content to linear TV channels. Faced with the upheavals of the industry, it became


crucial to explore all possible links between the digital and audiovisual worlds. To reach the new players, the distributors must know all the mechanisms and how to master them. In the meantime, the distributors have to guide and advise their existing customer in their digital conversion. It is a super motivating process for me with my 100% digital DNA! So we launched a series of projects in all areas of activity at Côte Ouest. We have learned — and made mistakes too — in the process of reinventing ourselves. Among these projects, the first was the Studio CO2, a short format talent incubator, and the second was VOD-edited services for OTT and mobile operator’s streaming platforms. D: Tell us more about Studio C02 O.D.K: Today, when you analyze high-audience sites and social media, it is clear that audiovisual content is not only the most consumed content, but also the one that creates the most interactions and engagements with the user. Among the audiovisual content formats, short format is the dominant one — especially User Generated Content. The original idea behind Studio CO2 was to offer young talents a laboratory with tools and resources so that they could experiment and test their craziest ideas, before making them successful programs. We also wanted to have a pool of young creators ready to take over the African audiovisual production. We have had successful examples such as the group SA C KOI SA ENKOR, or blogger Edith Brou. D: After more than 18 months of activities, what is your first report out? O.D.K: One of the limits of the model is the monetization of content. Money is not there yet on Facebook or YouTube, or at least not in Francophone Africa. To develop a viable business model, it is necessary to adopt a more direct approach between Studio C02 and advertisers. This is one of the new developments we are proposing for Studio C02.

TRENDS & BUSINESS The digital technology changes the business model, by allowing anyone to create their own media. Anyone with an interesting story to tell, and a network of people who listen to it, can become more powerful than any mass media. We decided to use our creators’ networks and our know-how in production to create branded content. Such content, if it is true to the DNA of the brand, offers a benefit to consumers and is created by talented creators, can only generate engagement with prospective viewers. Today, Studio C02 accompanies brands so that they can convey their message in the most efficient and creative way. D: Tell us about the second project. What do you mean by edited VOD services?

D: What tools do you recommend to professionals? O.D.K: First and foremost — LinkedIn. International groups are formed by specialties, with directors in one group and the editors in the other. It is a very good tool for networking and benchmarking. Recently, a director had the community vote for the best poster for his feature film. The second is IMDB, a tool that allows professionals to optimize their work listings and visibility in one click. And finally, the Cinando application, which is a true mine for information regarding events and markets for the industry around the world.

O.D.K: With the upheavals in our industry, content becomes the prerogative. Telcos are relying on providing video to increase data consumption; technology providers, in order to be in step with the new orientation of their clients — the telephone companies — are also engaged in the search for content; to counter the rise of VOD platforms, the linear television channels seek to develop their own platforms by offering catch-up and VOD. In short, everyone is looking for content! In this crazy rush for content, only a few know everything from consumption patterns, to programming strategies, to editing. Moreover it is a rather risky investment, because the acquisition rights represent two thirds of the budget of a VOD platform. Côte Ouest, with its 20,000 hours of content and 20 years of knowledge of consumption habits in the African continent, has a significant competitive advantage. In addition to providing content to VOD platforms, we have now a full-fledged service, combining a predefined selection of content according to the platform’s editorial line - and our offer is rich and varied –, a strategy of programming and the renewal of the content. Olivia Dadié Kipré, Director of Communications and Digital at Côte Ouest



A STROLL TO TURNER LAND with Jamie Ondarza QA & Senior Vice President for Turner Southern Europe & Africa and Chief Executive Officer of Boing SpA Disbook: What is your strategy to respond to the growing need for local content vs. international brands?

Omondi, did the voice over for Boomerang’s exciting comedic series, Safari Comedy Show. These have been warmly welcomed by our local viewers.

Jamie Ondarza: Many of our channels like Cartoon Network, Boomerang, TCM – Powered by Movies, Toonami and CNN International enjoy a strong following on the continent, and we continually strive to create a viewing experience that resonates with our African audience. Our localization strategy that identifies the cultural differences of our African markets, and which we have implemented for the past two and a half years, has undoubtedly boosted our brand value across the continent.

Turner also partnered with local third parties to produce Cartoon Network’s Pop Up Party, our first-ever show locally produced in South Africa. In April, we launched the first Cartoon Network African art exhibition, showcasing ten interpretations of The Powerpuff Girls by local artists. We also partnered with some of Africa’s finest animation talent to produce our first local animated shorts of the winning work of this year’s Cartoon Network Imagination Studio. These will be revealed at DISCOP Johannesburg.

CNN International is the biggest international media brand amongst affluent audiences across Africa, reaching 60% of Africa’s elite population every month*. The channel is well-respected for its indepth analysis of global news which keeps its viewers up-to-date on events shaping the world and, CNN International’s comprehensive coverage of issues affecting the African continent, showcased on programmes like African Voices, Inside Africa, Africa View and CNN Marketplace Africa, appeal to local viewers. Car toon Network and Boomerang have included innovative local initiatives by partnering with local talent. South Africa’s dynamic jazz-electrohip-pop sensation, Toya Delazy, lent her voice to the newly revealed fourth Powerpuff Girl, Bliss for Cartoon Network Africa. Paralympian medalist, Ntando Mahlangu, teamed up with Cartoon Network as the ambassador of our anti-bullying campaign, and South Africa’s leading female comedian, Tumi Morake, and renowned Kenyan comedian, Eric


Since TCM – Powered by Movies changed its positioning from golden age classics to American blockbusters, this year alone the channel has increased its viewership by more than 300%**. Responding to what our target audience loves and expects locally, the new lineup of Hollywood blockbusters like Rush Hour 3, Robocop, I’m a legend, Mad Max and 300, coupled with a local brand strategy of using local talent for channel promos and continuity elements, has positioned us as the go-to movie channel for the very best of modern American action, drama and adventure. D: What makes a brand relevant on the African marketplace?

South African singer, pianist, dancer and performer Toya Delazy, the voice of the 4th Powerpuff Gril

J.O.: Turner’s superior content is distributed across 49 countries in Africa, each with its own culture and conditions to be considered. We have a dedicated team making sure our programmes are suitable for each of our markets, being careful not to

TRENDS & BUSINESS Powerpuff Girls, and launched Boomerang Africa’s break our viewers’ trust. Our Data and Consumer dedicated YouTube channel. While the strength of Insights team runs qualitative surveys to provide our linear channels is undeniable, we have extendactionable insights and ensure our brands deliver ed our multi-platform offerings on our non-linear locally relevant content. We are then able to adapt platforms such as to our consumers DStv’s Catch Up lives and fit in with and Kwesé’s pulse t h e i r d a i ly ro u live streaming app. tines by adjusting schedules, geoloD: How do you encalising communig a ge w i t h c o n cations and adaptsumers on a deeping our brand tone er level? of voice. Turner’s Kids Multiplex has J.O.: Beside our remained the first strong localisation Pay TV multiplex strategy, our digital for 36 consecuplatforms allow us tive months* while to be more innoTCM – Powered by vative than ever Movies reached before. With the 4.3 million view- K.O., the brand-new Cartoon Network hero in OK K.O.! increase of mulers across Africa tiple-platform consumption, we are able to extend in July, representing a 10% increase month on our innovation beyond the creation of programmes month.*** We are also, through channels like Boing, and come up with engaging consumer experiences. able to offer our African viewers strong channels with We are very excited about the multi-platform Cartoon strong programming at an affordable price. Network shows, Mighty Magiswords and OK. KO!, which live across both the TV and gaming landscape. D: What is the impact of digital on your shows? Through our social media pages we can exchange with our enthusiastic fans from across the continent. J.O.: In 2016, Turner witnessed 33 million app downOn Facebook alone, Cartoon Network Africa has over loads and 406 million annual game plays on our 620 000 fans and CNN has 420 000 fans who interwebsites. This proves that it is now more important act with our brands every day with views, likes, comthan ever to extend our viewers experience beyond ments or shares. the TV screen. To do this, Turner is becoming a more data-driven media company. Consumer and indusD: What is your broadcast agreement with Kwesé try insights are playing an increasingly central role TV? in how we can innovate anything from content development, to marketing to alternative viewing opJ.O.: The Kwesé broadcast partnership, which comtions. We have created a new Digital Ventures and menced in May 2017, is significant to us as the partInnovation division which drives consumer-centric nership reflects our commitment to expand our initiatives, including our international multi-platform presence and our consumer base across the African suite of digital properties and its direct-to-consumer continent. This deal sees the African broadcaster deproduct strategy. but our news channel, CNN International, and adds Turner’s much-loved Cartoon Network, Boomerang D: How do you respond to the evolving consumer and Toonami channels to Kwesé’s kids and family oribehaviors and the consumption of content on mulented programming. tiple platforms? J.O.: Our new Digital Ventures and Innovation Division is responsible for implementing a cross-platform business intelligence function to support our expansion of Kids and General Entertainment branded destinations across the digital ecosystem. As part of our digital focus for 2017, we have launched over 60 games and 15 apps across our kids’ channels in EMEA. We have also launched vertical YouTube channels around key franchises like Ben 10 and The

D: The brand-new kids’ channel Toonami you recently added to Kwesé, is the sole brand fully dedicated to the superhero universe, with DC comics franchises like ‘Batman’, ‘Superman’, or ‘The Green Lantern. Isn’t it the opposite of “local” programming? J.O.: Toonami is exclusive to Kwesé TV, broadcast to English speaking territories, strengthening Kwesé TV’s family viewing programming line-up, while si-


TRENDS & BUSINESS J.O.: As sponsors of the DISCOP 2016 Animation multaneously boosting Turner’s kids’ entertainment Pitching Programme, we were exposed to some rebouquet in these markets. Whilst we recognise that ally inspiring local animation projects. We were reDC Comics is an international brand, we do know ally impressed by Punch Monkey Studio’s amazing that the core concept of a hero is universally reccreative energy and made the decision to partner ognised and is bound to no specific region, including with them to Africa. We have write the scripts however, addfor the one-mined other Turner u te s h o r t s o f ch i l d re n’s s u the competiperheroes, loved tion winners by young African from each of the audiences, such four categories as ‘Ben 10’ and of t h i s ye a r ’s ‘ T h u n d e r c a t s’ Cartoon Network to the Toonami Imagination schedule. In line Studios comwith our stratpetition. Punch egy to localise Monkey Studios content, we are did an amazing always looking j o b at i n j e ct for opportunities ing local African that have the poflavour into our tential to be pro- Hiccup and his dragon Toothless in DreamWorks Dragons first locally produced locally, duced animated shorts. This partnership has reinwhether it be through FanCon Comicon Africa collabforced our investment into localising content and our orations, or inspiration drawn from the local Nigerian commitment to further mentor the African animation comic scene, making Toomani the African go-to desindustry. tination for superhero enthusiasts of all ages. We are excited to announce that this November, we will be D: How important is it to be present at DISCOP premiering Dragon Ball Super on Toonami where our markets? What are you looking for during the 3-day African viewers will get to watch brand new, never market? seen before content! D: You say that general entertainment is the new focus. Can you elaborate? J.O.: As an all-inclusive brand we are proud not to be confined to one particular audience. Instead we offer an array of programmes that appeal to our diverse African audiences. This year, Turner has strong ambitions for its General Entertainment channels in Africa, which includes premium movie and drama channels, TNT, Warner TV, our comedy channel TBS, as well as the young adult channel Adult Swim. Armed with a bold and exciting slate of original new programming, Turner aims to find the best exposure for its general entertainment content for the African market by growing its original productions’ pipeline, doubling its investment to reach 1 billion dollars by 2018. D: You partnered with Cape Town-based Punch Monkey Studios who won the Turner Kids Animation Pitching competition at DISCOP last year for their “Cloud Life” project. Can you tell us a bit more about the partnership?


J.O.: DISCOP is an industry recognised platform that helps us to strengthen and build relationships with existing and potential buyers, and marketing and distribution partners. It is also a good place to identify emerging local talent to collaborate with on new projects. In essence, we’re focused on bringing our content to more fans and audiences, on more screens across Africa. This year, Turner is delighted to continue its partnership with The African Animation Network to sponsor the Animation Village, which was piloted as The Animation Lounge at DISCOP Johannesburg 2016, together with MIFA Annecy International Animated Film Festival. We’re extremely excited to host delegates from across the continent representing the widest diversity of the African animation industry and in line with the mantra ‘Made in Africa’.



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AFRO-URBAN TALENTS AT THE VANGUARD With its new Trace Content Distribution brand, Trace is digging into the distribution and production of content, with the ambition to support content creators and producers from the urban and Afro-urban world. Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Trace, Olivier Laouchez has always wanted to shine light on young Afro-Caribbean talent. With his 25 years of experience in the media, advertising and music, this “cultural activist” who now lives in South Africa, uses his knowledge to impose his innovative vision of television and new technologies. “Trace Urban viewers are used to catching their shows such as “Guest Star” or “The Year of” every week. For nearly 16 years, we’ve been producing short music TV magazines and documentaries but we’ve now decided to focus on fictional content as well. Our aim is to offer full-length feature films and groundbreaking documentaries to the forefront. Our expertise in music, entertainment as well as production allows us to fully enter this route.” says Olivier Laouchez.

Betty Sulty-Johnson has lived in the UK for over decade where she has worked in management consulting for several British and American consulting companies as a Business Development Manager. Her passion for cinema led her to become the co-founder and manager of the very 1st Film Festival celebrating Black Women in front and behind the lens from 2005 to 2009, “Images of Black Women Film Festival in London.” Upon returning to France, she worked at France Television Distribution, 100% Distribution and Lagardère Studios in their TV Distribution department. “I am pleased to be part of the Trace Group at a time where content, from conception to monetization becomes a major concern. Trace is a key leader in the urban world. The launch of Trace Content Distribution is a logical follow-up for the group that works hard on identifying and support-

ing afro-urban talent.” says Betty Sulty-Johnson. TCD have a distribution strategy that focuses on acquisition and sale of audiovisual content. The catalogue consists of series’ such as “Wives on Strike”, “Before 30” (in non-linear distribution only), “Dream The Urban Musical”, “Brothers With No Game”; not to mention films such as “The Gang of the French Caribbean”. Additionally, other categories include music shows featuring “Guest Stars” and “The Year Of” as well as documentaries covering Afrobeats, “From Nigeria To The World”, “Generation Papa Wemba” and “Salomon Kalou, l’Éléphant Chéri”. These programs will be distributed to TV broadcasters, VOD platforms, inflights and mobile companies globally and they will also be available on TracePlay, the new Afro-Urban SVOD platform powered by Trace.

As a producer and broadcaster in over 160 countries worldwide, Trace is choosing to invest in distribution with the objective of becoming an influential leader in this fast paced industry. “Led by Betty Sulty-Johnson, our VP Content Director, TCD’s mission is to build a strong network of content creators and producers from the urban and Afro-urban world, while supporting them and showcasing their work.” adds Olivier Laouchez.


Betty Sulty-Johnson, Trace’s VP Content Director


CHINESE ANIMATION CONTENT THAT SPEAKS TO AFRICAN VIEWERS Fantawild Animation has become the most influential animation company in China. Domestically, its animation has been broadcast on over 200 TV stations, including CCTV Children’s Channel. The programs can also be found on-line on the largest video platforms in China, garnering the highest traffic in the category of cartoons and animation. Globally, Fantawild has distributed its animation to over 100 countries and territories; including the US, Latin America, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Russia, Singapore and more. Some of these animations have been aired on Nickelodeon, Disney, Sony, Netflix, Karusel, StarTimes and other mainstream media outlets worldwide. Buble Tang, Regional Sales Manager at Fantawild Animation, explains why the company’s contents are in line with the expectations of African viewers and distributors. “Fantawild’s products boast eye-popping visuals for its viewers and profitable returns for its distributors. There are a few reasons why. The story is critical of course. We love having relationships with our viewers and are actually old friends with our young African audience since 2011. We get stories from all over and turn them into cartoon magic. For instance, Kung Fu series took Africa by storm and the 4th part “Kung Fu Masters of the Zodiac: 12 Zodiac Way” is landing Africa continent. “Boonie Bears”, our masthead animation, is returning to meet their beloved fans in Africa with 2 brand new series.

Being able to bring shows to countries in their own language helps a lot to reduce language barriers and bring to audiences in the context of their own culture. We are now dubbing our new shows in French, Portuguese, Spanish, with more local languages coming soon to help reach more African kids with our stories.

The key part of our strategy is the internationalization and “Africanization” of our content. International talents are constantly joining our team: sales people, designers, dubbing actors, and producers. We are indeed open for co-production partnerships to go one step further towards localization.

Consumer products are another aspect that are sure to attract young audiences. African kids will be amazed to see their beloved characters come out of the screen and meet with them in almost every facet of their real life. This is made possible through licensing cooperation with consumer products brands. Our annual sales in merchandising have reached more than 320 million USD and the number is still growing.

With the recent liberalization of TV landscape in Africa and an increasing numbers of FTA channels, we are ready to help them grow with content that will really speak to African viewers. We are continuously adding more animated series and movies to our catalog, hence maintaining our wonderful relationships with the key Pay TV players and platforms.”

“Fantastica” (2017, 3D/HD; 5.1 surround sound- 83 min) is a whirling, fast-paced sci-fi fantasy. In addition, Fantawild’s line up at DISCOP Johannesburg includes: “Boonie Cubs” (52x 13’): a brandnew edutainment series showing children that learning can be fun. “Boonie Bears: The Adventurers” (52x13’): an new wilderness survival TV series ; “Kung Fu Masters of the Zodiac - 12 Zodiac Way” (208 x 13’): a series that emphasizes the themes of community and cooperation in a small-town setting richly evocative of China’s distant past called Zodiac Way.



9-12 April 2018 Cannes, France miptv.com

Be part of the

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Meet us at DISCOP Johannesburg!

For French-speaking countries

For English-speaking countries

Samira HADDI +33 62 675 7252 112 samira.haddi@reedmidem.com

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THE NEW FACES OF ETHIOPIAN TELEVISION One of the challenges Ethiopian television is facing is human expertise and talent retention. By Joseph Perrette The new television landscape in Ethiopia reflects the urbanization of its capital city, Addis Ababa (locals say Addis): fast moving, attracting more and more international businesses, 24h/7 construction sites that you can seldom avoid, and new five-star hotels. With a population of 3.5+ million in the city proper and a metro population of more than 4.6 million, Addis is not only the country’s cultural and commercial hub, but also Africa’s fourth-largest city and its diplomatic capital [hosting the headquarters of the African Union (AU), UN Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA) and a regional office some inter-

national organizations including UNDP, UNESCO and the European Economic Commission (EEC).] I spent ten days in Addis to take the pulse of the dynamism everyone is talking about, and understand why TV entertainment in Ethiopia is one of the most promising marketplace in Africa. Satellite television has been very popular in Ethiopia for many years, due to the lack of local choice the national Ethiopian Broadcast Corporation (EBC), primarily distributes government information. For about 10 years, the only private satellite channel was the Washington-based EBS. Starting

five years ago, a number of new satellite channels serving the Ethiopian market and its ever expanding affluent middle-class population, started broadcasting in the main local language of Amharic. There is the Kenyabased Nahoo TV and Kana TV, the most popular today, a free-to-air, satellite TV channel launched by Dubai-based Moby Group with local partners. The headquarters of Kana TV, located in Bole, Addis Ababa’s trendiest neighborhood - expanding at the southeast of the city centre, it is a favourite with high-income Ethiopians and the international

From left to right: Kaleb Hailu, Melat Belayneh and Mikias Sebside, the hosts of #Mindin, a new Ethiopian talk show produced locally by Kana TV. The three are practicing layers. They are the new faces of Ethiopian television. They are well informed, inquisitive, witty and charismatic


UNDER THE RADAR community - is a perfect example of Addis’s evolution. During my visit at Kana TV last August, I was welcomed by Hailu Teklehaimanot, the station’s communications and marketing director, who gave me a tour of the facility. Kana TV occupies three floors of a tower block. The open space offices reminded me of a California tech start up company. Employees, mostly millennials, are using state-of-the art softwares and technologies in a variety of sectors, including data analysis, content research, social media updating, sound production, and of course the most important one, dubbing - technological advancements in the past five years have enabled young generations to learn fast and autonomously. “The main challenge we are facing is expertise and talent retention”, says Teklehaimanot. Companies such as Kana TV, that are leading the way of the industry, have to create talent from scratch. Most employees are hired straight out of college and have almost no experience in a industry that is still in its infancy. On top of that, there aren’t many programs in universities designed to teach students specific jobs relating to production. To address this human resources issue, Kana sends young adults abroad in well known production companies. There, they understand what the international competition looks like and the tools they need to produce quality content. “Once they have gained this expertise, Teklehaimanot continues, they’re now the ones teaching new comers how to do their job and it creates a cycle of knowledge transfer .” Though most of the content that’s broadcasted on Kana TV is made abroad, they are getting increasingly more involved in the making high quality locally made productions. They have recently bought a 1,000-metre-square warehouse

for original productions. Though all dubbed in Amharic, Kana used to broadcast almost exclusively international content: “That’s because the plot lines and quality of these shows are still at a higher standard than local productions,” says Teklehaimanot. But thanks to its freshly trained team, the station is now concentrating its efforts on well produced local content, of the same caliber as their international peers. Kana has its

“In a country where the television and entertainment industry is almost nonexistent, talent is priceless” own original shows which are gaining popularity among Ethiopian viewership, such as “#time” an entertainment show, #mindin(“respectfully provocative” as Teklehaimanot comments), a talk show where three young panelist debate about different topics, mainly socio-economical - some considered borderline; “Masters at Work” is another new original format which showcases local talents from the underground scene (from electronic music to car rallies.) These kinds of formats are not only popular, but they empower new generations to follow their dreams and go into careers they knew nothing about. “Through our continued investment in training new talents, we are carving new

television personalities that will transcend their skills and inspire future expansion projects.” (Kana is also introducing new family content, sports and more original production.) Another symbol of the dynamic and new booming TV industry is Zeleman Productions. It started from scratch ten years ago, and has now become the biggest integrated full service, communications, advertising and production agency in Ethiopia, with clients such as Coca Cola, Ethiopian Airlines, Tiger Brands (South Africa’s largest food company), and UNICEF. Just like Kana, Zeleman’s success is attributed to expertise and talent retention. Founded by marketing expert and filmmaker Zelalem Woldemariam, Zeleman currently employs over 100 experienced communications professionals. “We have quickly understood that in a country where the television and entertainment industry is almost nonexistent, talent is priceless,” I was explained when I was invited to visit the agency. Zeleman also sends people abroad to gain expertise. “Some of them event try to start their own projects once they feel like they’ve become experts, says Dawit Solomon, Post Production Manager at Zeleman, but the overall majority of them end up coming back because it’s not as easy as it seems to start your own company.” On my way back from my visits, my taxi driver said to me that he won’t let his family watch Kana TV. Why? “Otherwise they’ll never talk to each other when I return from work!” Conservative commentators also decry Kana’s foreign soap series for corrupting Ethiopian culture. Like all changes, it does not appeal to everyone, but whatever the merits or pitfalls, Kana’s emergence highlights how Ethiopia’s television landscape is arguably changing for the better.



ETHIOPIA IS ON ITS WAY TO BECOME A HUB FOR FILM CULTURE IN THE CONTINENT By Yirgashewa Teshome, Director, Ethiopian International Film Festival

Since the inception of the Ethiopian International Film Festival (ETHIOIFF) in 2005, there have been significant developments in the field of film in Addis Ababa as a direct result of the festival. In the last years more media activity is springing up in Addis Ababa with an increase in media companies as well as independent filmmakers, while theatre groups have taken the path toward filmmaking. In the last years, Ethiopia has witnessed the rapid growth of a local digital film industry which has importantly revived cinema-going culture in the country and created unexpected avenues of economic achievement within the field of cultural production. In many ways, they are a window into the way the Ethiopian society perceives and represents itself today. In Ethiopia, video film production started soon after the collapse of the Dergue regime in 1991, and accelerated quickly until the present day, when 130 to 150 feature films are being produced every year. This mass production makes Ethiopia the 2nd largest producer in Africa, next to Nigeria. But this encouraging activity is not satisfactory in terms of quality and exposing Ethiopian films abroad, as well as the participation of Ethiopian films and filmmakers in film festivals throughout Africa and internationally. Most of it made by enthusiastic and talented young people who unfortunately lack the training and professional contacts needed to succeed in the long term and gain international visibility. In most cases, these people obtain whatever local job experience they can,


which enables them to achieve certain areas and levels of competence, but also is really limiting for doing more ambitious work or getting it seen more widely.

nity can engage with their own interests and produce their own events, from elaborate and highly organized activities to impromptu low-budget events.

As with most African countries, Ethiopia has practically no educational or governmental support for film. Despite our country’s

Given this situation my organization LINKAGE Arts, decided in 2005 to organize a film festival which would give Ethiopians access to world cinema including many African films, while creating an opportunity to meet and discuss with international film makers and participate in training workshops.

“In Ethiopia, video film production started soon after the collapse of the Dergue regime in 1991, and accelerated quickly until the present day, when 130 to 150 feature films are being produced every year. ” long and rich history in the arts, our schools have hardly any film programs, and our government provides no funding or policies to grow and maintain a healthy film industry. It doesn’t even provide basic infrastructure. What was really missing in Ethiopia—where most cultural events are produced top-down by institutions such as embassies and state-run organizations—is a space where the local commu-

As a film festival usually is the result of an existing film industry, Ethiopian International Film Festival has been established to inspire the development of a film industry and become a focus point for all the disparate activity in the country in order to build a vibrant cinema culture. It also aimed to promote Ethiopian films: to create awareness on the international scale of the rich history of the country; to provide filmmakers with resources to become competent in their field internationally; to making Ethiopia a significant hub for film culture in the continent and stimulating collaborations in the world and to run a yearly film festival celebrating and honoring all the films made by Ethiopians. Over a decade, ETHIOIFF has provided an annual showcase for films from around the world and celebrated Ethiopian and African cinema, building greater understanding and appreciation of indigenous work, including showing that there is no simple “Ethiopian”

UNDER THE RADAR or “African” cinema, but instead diverse people, styles, sensibilities, issues, and genres. Each year, during a week in November, we have provided a week of screenings of about 100 films, including features, shorts, fiction, documentary, animation, experimental, classics, and contemporary films from Ethiopia, Africa and also from around the world. Organized every year around a specific theme, ETHIOIFF has also invited filmmakers to discuss their work, and organize workshops and seminars on issues such as contemporary film theory and practice. The festival, with the addition of an annual Award Competition and its many training programs, has proven a great incentive to produce new video work. Awards presented for the best Ethiopian films in 12 categories. Tribute paid to an acclaimed and accomplished Ethiopian film maker by screening a selected film from his/her body of work, as well as hosting a personal discussion with the honoree. In all these years, the festival has confronted its audiences with different ideas all the while encouraging their active responses in open discussions; it also provided an exposition of the many approaches to cinema while simultaneously offering practical training in order to stimulate ideas as well as gather the technical skills to execute them. The festival continued to place its emphasis on the creating of a vital cinema culture and thereby, a strong cultural community. So far, in expanding its network, the festival has established a partnership with the New York African Film Festival, in USA, Cannes pan African Film Festival, in France, Leuven African Film Festival, in Belgium, Amakula Kampala International Film Festival, in Uganda. National Film Festival for

Talented Youth (NFFTY), in Seattlle, USA, COMMFFEST film festival, in Toronto, Canada. Organizing an international film festival for the first time in a country such Ethiopia was a daunting task true pioneering effort in every sense of the word, but we believe it was a very successful premiere. Daunting not in the last place because the concept of a film festival in a true sense - many films, different locations, attending film makers, retrospectives, seminars and workshops, discussion panels, special commissioned cultural projects, exhibition – itself proved hard to communicate to people who had never experience such a thing, the audience as much as the people we worked with. We believe that in our intention, to inspire people, ETHIOIFF was successful and without doubt an eye-opener to the country, apparent foremost in the enthusiastic audience confrontation with Ethiopian and international films and discussions with their makers. Now we are in the preparation of the 12th anniversary of ETHIOIFF

and like all businesses we saw a chance to be the forerunners in many areas related to film in the country, however, for us, having no ambition to become festival directors for life, it can only be called a success when it is truly rooted within the Addis Ababa culture being cognizant however that such an imposed event takes time to settle in and to grow. The festival should become a true cultural festival and promote creative productions as well as works on expand connections with local and international organizations where a film industry is a little more developed, as a springboard for advance. Equally important the festival puts its effort to challenge Ethiopian politicians for discussion and to create within the festival a critical voice for political and economical support for culture. Ethiopian International Film Festival has now become the only and permanent part of Addis Ababa’s cultural landscape as an annual international film festival.

Yirgashewa Teshome the Ethiopian Film Festival Director (at the center with the white jacket) with the nominees of the 10th edition in 2015, during the award ceremony.



DISCOP ROCKS! The conflation of the music, film, television & digital content industries continues at a rapid pace, while the demand for more original scores, and particularly for African sounds, is rising fast. DISCORE, the new program developed by the DISCOP Markets an ONGEA, will bring the world of music production closer to film, television, digital content industries. The selection of music for content is playing an increasingly decisive and important role in establishing atmosphere, tone and even the appeal of original content. In TV series, music has never been so important. It evokes passion, in the same way as characters or the story line, and the soundtrack is today seen as an indispensable element, an integral part of the rest of the work and is marketed alongside the broadcasting. For over ten years, series have been a good medium to discover new musical talents and to set trends. Singer Andrew Belle and bands The Fray and Snow Patrol were discovered by a wide audience through medical series “Grey’s Anatomy”. Alexandra Patsavas, one of the most famous music supervisors, is known for revolutionising the use of music in series by selecting dozens of small independent bands. A more recent trend has been to use covers of known tracks.


In line with this, a milestone was recently reached with mini series “Big Little Lies”, broadcast on HBO in the USA during the first quarter of 2017 and featuring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley. The series features as many as 60 or so tracks over 7 episodes. Music is truly part of the narrative in this and tracks are in fact often played in their entirety, which is a first.

“Music is at the heart of the film” This closeness between music and story is in large part to be attributed to the director of “Big Little Lies”, French Canadian Jean-Marc Vallée who was DJ in a previous life, and to his collaboration with medical supervisor Sue Jacobs. Together they have set the new musical frame of reference for TV series. In most cases, when a viewer listens to a track, one of the characters listens to it at the same time (characters talk to each other about music, they listen to music, play music), and the select-

ed tracks usually express what the character is feeling at that particular moment in the scene. Music is a full-fledged character of the series. If the art of TV series fosters a privileged relationship to music, that is also true of Alain Gomis, FrancoBissau-Guinean-Senegalese director. For the shooting of “Félicité”, his latest film (distributed by Côte Ouest) that won awards at the Berlin and Ouagadougou Festivals, he chose the streets of Kinshasa and the musical influence of the Kasai Allstars, a musical collective who originate from the Kasai province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Muambuyu, the band’s female singer, also gave him inspiration for the film’s main character, a proud and independent woman named Félicité (played by Véro Tshanda Beya), who sings in a bar in the Congolese capital by night and whose life is turned upside down when her 14-year-old son becomes victim of an accident. According to Gomis, tracks by the Kasai Allstars were a key to the doors of Kinshasa. Listening to them gave him the desire to shoot there and the musicians are a key element of the film. Music is at the heart of the film and the soundtrack tells the real story of Kinshasa. When Félicité stands up and starts to sing for customers in her husky, soulful voice, she

UNDER THE RADAR is a different person. With music, she escapes from her daily life as a mother raising her son single-handedly. On the music scene, there is an increased appetite for African sounds, demonstrated by the growing number of collaborations with African artists hitting the global airwaves. From the likes of Britain’s Ed Sheeran collaborating with Ghanaians Fuse ODG and KillBeatz on “Bibia Be Ye Ye” that has over 37 million views on YouTube, to the 2016 collaboration between the highly acclaimed Canadian Hip-Hop sensation Drake and Nigeria’s Wizkid on “One Dance” that became one of the top selling songs globally, to the 2017 hit from Tanzanian artist Diamond Platnumz and American RnB Superstar Ne-Yo, “Marry You,” African artists and sounds are reaching new heights. Other developments such as

content streaming are also adding to this demand. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) 2017 report, the global music market grew by 5.9% in 2016, with streaming as the clear driver of this growth due to a 60% increase in revenue. Interestingly, there was a 334% growth of streaming in Africa, driven by increased smartphone penetration on the continent and forward-thinking partnerships between tech companies and music corporates. From 2018, all DISCOP African Markets will include a full-day DISCORE programme that will provide participants with valuable, actionable information and tools, along with unparalleled access to onetworking and meetings. DISCORE is designed to bridge the worlds of music and filmed con-

tent. African music producers and experts will be offered the unique opportunity to learn from the pros, as well as to build relationships with international music supervisors and film, television & digital content producers seeking original songs and scores that can accompany entertainment content destined for global audiences. Founding Director of the annual Eastern Africa Music Summit (ONGEA! Africa) Mike Strano, concurs: “The time is right for African music creators and producers to stake their claim, as the demand for more original scores, and particularly for African sounds, is rising fast.” The first edition of DISCORE will take place at DISCOP ABIDJAN: May 29-31, 2018. information@discop.com

Véro Tshanda Beya, in “Félicité” by Alain Gomis.



THE GROWING APPETITE FOR NIGERIAN MUSIC On one end, Nigerian iRoko has launched iROKOMUSIC on the Les Bouquets Canal+ platform early this year, on the other end, global labels such as Sony Music Entertainment are setting up shop in Lagos. The growing appetite for Nigerian music is a mega trend. Speaking about Nigerian music and the need of a dedicated channel showing Afrobeats 24/7, Jason Njoku CEO of IROKO said: “Afrobeats is the sound of Africa.” DISBOOK contributor Andy Koslov further explains the distinction between Afrobeats and Afrobeat.

THE AFROBEAT’S PIZZA EFFECT The world of music is globalized and many editorials gave examples of cross-fertilization of styles. Even documentaries were made to drive the point home. Think Sixto Rodriguez, an American singer whose music never achieved success in the United States, but had become very popular in South Africa. “Searching for Sugar Man” is a 2012 documentary talking about the phenomenon. As a combined result of the above-mentioned, Rodriguez certainly has got a bit more attention back in the US.

multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti who combined “raucous sax licks with throaty denunciations of a corrupt system”, to quote The Guardian. Afrobeats is a contemporary style influenced by hip hop, Caribbean and electronic music.

Afrobeat founder could also enhance the tunes he pioneered back in the day by using technology, but no one had thought it was possible, as Fela Kuti never wanted to go in that direction. Another significant difference between the two Afrobeats is that

Something similar is now happening with two Nigerian music styles. While audiences in the West enjoy the newly discovered “Afrobeat” tunes, Nigerians in Lagos pulse to “Afrobeats”, a new trend in music originating from Africa right at this moment. They are easily confused to the extent that even The New York Times had to update their June 2017 piece with a correction. In Nigeria, both terms are often used interchangeably. Afrobeat (or Afro-Beat) is a blend of traditional African rhythms with American soul and jazz. It was founded in late 1960s by Nigerian Nigerian artist Fela Kuti during a performance. He created the Afrobeat music genre: a combination of traditional Nigerian Yoruba music, jazz, funk, fused with vocal styles.



Fela Kuti’s is the classic protest music whereas Afrobeats of today sits well with images of luxury. As the popularity of Afrobeat is on the rise outside its homeland, back in Nigeria a new musical trend is shaped by Caribbean and US imports. It remains to be seen whether Afrobeat’s current success in the West will revive a nostalgic wave for the 1960s beat in its homeland. Think modern pizza toppings that had been ideated among Italian immigrants in America, and were later exported back to Italy as the quintessential ‘traditional’ Italian cuisine.

NIK PATEL, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER FOR IROKO, ON HOW THE BRAND ENGAGES AUDIENCES WITH MUSIC DISBOOK: Afrobeats music is famous for a heavy use of big-budget music videos. Do directors and producers of these videos normally come from Nollywood or is this a new breed of filmmakers? Nik Patel: No, the two areas tend to be pretty separate. Directors and producers of theses videos are not from Nollywood, the directors are strictly music videos. One example of a crossover would be Kemi Adeitiba, who earned her stripes producing music videos for the likes of Tiwa Aavage, Banky W, Bez and Lynxx, for example, before she made a name for herself in Nollywood by directing last year’s blockbuster, “The Wedding Party.” D: Giving a recent talk at Google, a Nigerian singer and entrepreneur Mr Eazi -- who a month before that spoke to iRoko TV -- said that now is a great time to market African music. In 2016, Wizkid, one of Nigeria’s most popular artists, reached the top of the American singles chart for an Afrobeats collaboration with the Canadian rapper Drake. Does the rising international profile of Afrobeats influence the way you at iRokoTV engage established audiences and attract new viewers? N. P. : African music has always been exported by the likes of Fela, Lagbaja, Tuface and DBanj. Wizkid’s collaboration with Drake is just one of, what I’m sure, is many more to come for African stars. Amazing music travels, and Western artists are always looking for the next ‘big thing’. The rise of Afrobeats’ profile hasn’t affected how we engage iROKOtv audiences - the audiences are completely different. That being said, one thing we do know how to do at iROKO is bring the very best content to our viewers - so when we launched iROKOMUSIC on Canal+ 167 earlier this year, we used the same approach to aggregating amazing music content, as we do for our film content. D: Because of the growing appetite for Nigerian music internationally, global labels such as Sony Music Entertainment are setting up shop in Lagos. How is this set to benefit the already established audiovisual players like yourselves? N. P.: Major music labels are predominantly focused on offline distribution, so it hasn’t really affected what we’re working on in terms of digital or video content.



A UNIQUE DESTINATION FOR A UNIQUE EVENT with Fabrizio Colombo QA & ZIFF Festival Director DISCOP is partnering with the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF.) The inaugural DISCOP Zanzibar will take place during ZIFF 2018, creating the ultimate film, television, digital event in East Africa. Here, ZIFF Festival Director Fabrizio Colombo, explains why ZIFF is a unique event (as unique of Zanzibar itself), and how the partnership with DISCOP is an important milestone for the development of the East African multi-platform entertainment content production industries. Disbook: What makes ZIFF specific and special compared to other festivals in Africa? Fabrizio Colombo: I think ZIFF is particular in the sense that it’s a festival that not only includes movies and filmmakers from around the world and the cinema of Africa, but that also focuses on the cinema of what we call the Dhow Countries that includes Iran, India and much more. This melting pot of cinema and culture makes ZIFF a unique experience that inspires exchange and celebrates expression for the many filmmakers that participate. D.: What are some of the highlights of the festival over the last 20 years? F. C.: There are so many wonderful moments that have made ZIFF during the past 20 years. One highlight was the visit of Hollywood actors Danny Glover and Giancarlo Esposito who came to present their latest films, and it was amazing to see the links that were forged between them and the people of Zanzibar. ZIFF has always been at its best as an international festival that pushes the boundaries for social change. Another highlight was the time when AmericanIndian director Mira Nair attended to present her film, the controversial “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, a strong statement in a particular period of terror. The latest edition of ZIFF was opened by the former President of Tanzania, Mr Kikwete, who strongly en-


couraged the festival to operate at a higher professional standard as an international event. But what really remains in the heart of the guests that attend ZIFF are the atmosphere and the vibe that only Zanzibar can give. At ZIFF there is a sense of unity and beauty and celebration that is expressed through cinema. D.: Tell us more about the South African film awarded this year, “Noem My Skollie-Call Me Thief”, directed by Daryne Joshua. F. C.: Whilst juries make their decisions in confidence, it was clear to all that the film is a prime example of strong and effective storytelling together with a deep and poetic cinematic regard that is always a win. The film selection this year was very difficult with so many amazing films in the competition. The juries had quite a work for the final selection and for the winning films. What truly made me happy was hearing people comment about the screenings, and express their true satisfaction with the choice we made. Many of the movies truly touched them and opened their minds to discovery. D.: Why are you so passionate about African cinema? When and how did this passion started? F. C.: My passion for cinema started when I was a child. Every Sunday we used to go to my parish movie theatre in Italy. I grew up with spaghetti westerns, Japanese monster movies, and science fiction. Later, I discovered the beauty and engagement of African cinema during a festival in Verona. I remember this South-African anti-apartheid film, dubbed live in the movie theatre. The images and the engagement of that film affected me so vividly. Years later I became Artistic Director of the Verona African Film Festival. African cinema remains a passion, with a renewed

UNDER THE RADAR commitment to support what I call New African Cinema a free, a fresh style that sees young filmmakers making daring films that break from the past and project their vision of a potential African future. African Futurism as a filmmaking style - such as “Pumzi” by Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya) or the shorts by Cedric Ido (Burkina) amongst many others - is an exciting cinematic trend that never fails to impress viewers and critics alike at festivals D.: You have a strong background in music. How important is music in the festival? How do you view the role of music in cinema? D.: Giving importance to music composition is one of the most important elements to make the industry grow. Music is the backbone of a good film, and unfortunately this element is often overlooked in African film. I was happy then to include at ZIFF 2017 a dedicated workshop on the importance of music in films with South-African composer Rashid Lanie (“Kalushi”). Music is usually left aside by filmmakers as a “filling the gaps” tool.

young filmmakers, not only those in film schools but even students younger than that with a passion for film. It was in my vision to imagine the festival as a story with a beginning, middle and an end. The beginning is where you craft your art, where you build your style and vision and learn the language of film. So film schools must be recognized because that’s where everything begins for a young filmmaker. The middle is the festival where filmmakers share their works, their art and their passion for cinema. The end is the market, the business of film. It’s where a film finds its destination and opens to travel the world digitally and physically. That’s the end every filmmaker wants to have. A happy ending, of course, meaning selling or distributing the film.

ZIFF also celebrates music and culture as part of the festival by presenting a full music program with nightly concerts that feature predominantly East African artists. To recognize the importance of music in films we created a new award. Together with Trace TV we also awarded the East African Music Video Award. I strongly believe that music videos are short films. Many of them highlight storytelling and it’s important to support these producers that combine stories and music and inspire viewers.

South African composer, pianist, producer and recording artist Rashid Lanie. He was asked to lead a workshop on music in films at ZIFF 2017 (photo Peter Bennett)

D.: This year, for the first time, there was a section and competition of films produced by film school students from East Africa and from all over the continent. Why? F. C.: It was important for me as ZIFF reached its 20-year milestone to also look to the future of filmmaking in East Africa. So this year was the first time that we had a competition workshop program focused on

Fabrizio Colombo, ZIFF director (photo Peter Bennett).



D.: Over the years, do you think that the film industry in Africa has evolved a lot? B. C.: It’s a very difficult question but I can say that there are an international demand and curiosity for African content in cinema and TV entertainment. I truly believe that the industry has to move and open up to a more international vision. Sometimes the focus is too insular and for local viewers only. Whilst this is an essential element of the industry, it is also important to create works that can travel internationally. I think African cinema has the mission to break through to international audiences. Africa has stories that can inspire and touch people all over the world. African cinema industry has the challenge of producing movies that can present a more realistic and positive image of Africa that upends the stereotypes created by international media.

The goal is to make film critics and film fans all over the world to realize that Africa has a unique style, which is a true and authentic cinematic language. D.: What do you think about the future partnership with DISCOP? F. C.: I have always said that filmmakers do not come to festivals for a holiday. Apart from showing their film and hoping for awards, they also seek real business opportunities to make their movies travel and have a life after production. It was my dream since last year to have a market at ZIFF. I truly believe the partnership with DISCOP will solidify ZIFF as an essential destination for the East African cinema industry and will guarantee a successful future for the local industry. DISCOP’s international reputation and links to many partners will ensure a global perspective and also help to create a sustainable future.

The crowd at the traditional Dhow Race off Stone Town. The Zanzibar International Film Festival is also known as Festival of the Dhow Countries. (photo Rashde Fidigo)



THE AFRICAN ANIMATION INDUSTRY UNITE If you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far go together (African proverb)

The African Animation Network (AAN) is a modern equivalent of that African proverb. The network was created to unite animation and graphics studios across the continent and tap into the power a united front has to solve the problems hindering its growth. By Nick Wilson, CEO of the African Animation Network and My Child TV

Artwork: the ultimate crime fighting super hero team in “The Misfit� by Comfort Arthur, an adult comedy reality web series competing in the grand finale at Discop Johannesburg 2017.


AFRICAN ANIMATION When we piloted The Animation Lounge at DISCOP Johannesburg in 2016, we never envisaged the pace at which that concept would scale up. It led to us pioneering an open network. This is a platform that serves as a node that identifies the stumbling blocks in the way of the budding African animation industry. It pools the resources available from across the continent to create opportunities and works towards creating an environment that fosters its ability to be self-sustaining. AAN is a for-profit social enterprise whose mission is to work towards building a sustainable African animation industry. To Patrick Zuchowicki and the Basic Lead team, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude. DISCOP Markets has been an incredible partner, providing us a platform - Africa’s first ever animation pavilion (The Animation Lounge) - at Africa’s premiere content market. This immediately created opportunities for commercial partners to get involved and is the catalyst for everything that has transpired in the last year. Conference & Convention: Through our partnership with DISCOP Markets, we’ve been able to host a bi-annual AAN Conference - an African first. The AAN Conference provides a platform for national animation associations, VFX, gaming and comic conventions (AVGC) to market their territories, countries, members, initiatives, and projects to key decision makers in the African broadcast and content space. Thus far AAN has partnered with Animation Nigeria, Animation South Africa, Animation Ghana, Animation Burkina Faso, Animation Ivory Coast, Animation Kenya, Lagos Comic Con, Nairobi Comic-Con and the Association of Comic Makers of Nigeria. Through our partnership with DISCOP


Markets, the AAN Conference will be expanded into a standalone African Animation Network Convention, which will be co-located and side-by-side with DISCOP Johannesburg in 2018.

with DreamAfrica, a VOD App which celebrates multiculturalism through content and targets the African diaspora. The project will be ready to launch within the next year.

Talent Identification & Skills Programme: Annecy International Animated Film Festival & Market/MIFA is the premiere animation festival globally. Through this partnership, we have been able to run the first Pan-Africa pitching competition which identifies the top African animation projects in development called “Annecy-MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde.” The first semi-final was hosted at DISCOP Abidjan 2016 with the second happening at DISCOP Johannesburg 2016. The pitching finale will take place at DISCOP Johannesburg 2017. These 2 projects will gain automatic entry to Animation du Monde at Annecy/ MIFA 2018 and represent Africa in the final against their counterparts from developing animation territories globally. Aligned to this is a skills development program called Annecy - MIFA Animation du Monde - Skills Programme. The intention of the skills program is to mentor the top African projects in development identified in the pitching competition and ensure they are well prepared to compete globally at Annecy/MIFA 2018.

FupiToons Festival: One of the exciting recent developments at the African Animation Network is our partnership with Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau. Cinema Nouveau is the largest cinema franchise in Africa and one of only a few globally that are dedicated to alternative content. It is through this partnership that we can debut FupiToons Festival, Africa’s first animated short film festival which will run side-byside with DISCOP Johannesburg 2017 at Rosebank Nouveau. Discop participants are invited to the festival’s premiere on October 26 at 8 pm. FupiToons Festival will celebrate the richness and diversity of African animation.

AAN SVOD Mobile Channel: AAN has partnered with SSTREAMM, the MTN subscription video on demand service. This platform will offer AAN affiliated studios the opportunity to generate an income from the content they have created. It also provides audiences with access to proudly African animated content. This is a first-of-a-kind channel, on the largest telecommunications footprint in Africa. In order to reach an audience outside of Africa, AAN has partnered

African Animation Network Publication: Animation Magazine is the oldest and most prestigious animation-centric publication on the planet. It celebrated its 30 years of chronicling the industry in 2017. At the African Animation Network, we believe that one of the reasons there hasn’t been a large-scale investment in African animation is because the rest of the world doesn’t understand our value proposition and, for the most part, have never heard about us. Partnering with Animation Magazine is a game changer in this regard. We will be creating Africa’s first digital publication under the Animation Magazine brand in the form of a microsite on its website. Animation, VFX, Gaming and Comic professionals will be invited to submit their articles, stories and press releases for publication. Each week the top news item from Africa will be published in Animation Magazine’s newsletter which is distributed to over 180,000 people globally.

AFRICAN ANIMATION African Animation Network e-Learning: Through our interactions with aspiring animation professionals across the continent, there has been one clear message - there are not enough tertiary institutions covering animation curriculum in Africa. To this end, the African Animation Network has recruited Lesego Vorster and Thinus van Rooyen, the first 2 South Africans to have been selected to attend École de l’image Les Gobelins International Masters Programme to join the AAN team and head up the AAN skills development and e-learning program. Via an interactive Vlog, the duo will impart free animation knowledge to fellow Africans through their journey in Paris. Toon Boom, the market-leading 2D an-

imation software service provider, has partnered with AAN to assist in African skills development and the e-learning program. Turner Kids: Turner Kids is the market leading animation broadcaster in Africa and was the initial sponsor of The Animation Lounge in 2016. We are exceptionally excited to continue this journey with them. Turner Kids will be partnering in varying capacities across all the African Animation Networks platforms. AVGC Partners Whilst commercial partners are vital to create the framework of AAN’s open network platforms, the real stars of African animation are the independent animation professionals, studios, associations,

and conventions. Everything we do at AAN is in aid of these individuals and entities. Therefore, the African Animation Network would like to welcome: Animation Nigeria, Animation South Africa, Animation Ghana, Animation Burkina Faso, Animation Ivory Coast, Animation Kenya, Lagos Comic Con, Nairobi ComicCon and the Association of Comic Makers of Nigeria to DISCOP Johannesburg. With representatives of projects in development and content in the FupiToons Festival covering the length and breadth of the African continent, the AAN events at DISCOP Johannesburg will be the most diverse representation of African animation ever.

Pictured: the majestic Belle Epoque façade of the Imperial Palace hotel in Annecy where takes place the annual International Animated Film Festival of Annecy/MIFA. The event has been running for 37 years. It is the biggest event in the field, with 10,000 attendees in 2017 (3,000 professionals). “We have strong links with South Africa, says Géraldine Baché, MIFA’s Projects manager, and we have been welcoming a delegation for over 5 years now. We met amazing talents and helped them to coproduce with other countries. “Kumba” (Triggerfish) was one of the first feature selected at the official competition. We have also supported projects from Madagascar, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Burkina Faso…. Many of them have been pitched and have met some good partners during their week in Annecy. Over the past 4 or 5 years, there has been a real enthusiasm from local talents in Africa, with a shared desire to move forward and tell their story. The partnership with AAN, DISCOP & Annecy enables us to launch the first Call for Projects in Africa. Working with local structures is the best way to reach talents and identify the ones which need few things to become great projects.” (copyright G. Piel/CITIA)





Nick Wilson, CEO of the African Animation Network and My Child TV, spent many years as a lone wolf in the animation landscape. After successfully networking with studios from across the continent at DISCOP Johannesburg 2016 he realised a Pan-African network would increase the industry’s chances of succeeding on the continent. Studios from East, Southern, and West Africa heeded his call to create the African Animation Network. IVORY COAST

AFRIKA TOON Francophone Africa has not been left behind in telling uniquely African stories using animation as a medium. Afrika Toon makes use of both 2D and 3D animation in producing its content.

ANTHILL PRODUCTIONS This Lagos based colony does not back down from a challenge whether it is in film, television or corporate videos. They offer services from animation to full services for visual media and post production. BASEMENT ANIMATION Has a strong foundation in 2D and 3D animation. This team’s key focus is on children’s and family entertainment. EVCL Is an independent animation and visual effects company based in Abuja, Nigeria. The studio produces its own work, and will occasionally work for a variety of clients. SPOOF ANIMATION Is no joke when it comes to animation and comic book illustration. The studio uses its African focus to tell compelling stories. Through its animation academy it offers aspiring animators the opportunity to obtain a certificate in 2D animation.


KOMOTION STUDIOS Focuses on providing disruptive content and solutions. This includes 2D & 3D animation, motion graphics, visual effects, and virtual reality. ORANGE VFX Has set the goal of creating world class visual effects and animation for the West African market. The studio also has its eye on creating a legacy through its training syllabus which covers all aspects of 3D animation design, acting, as well as visual effects production. VORTEX COMICS The team at Vortex Comics focus on using visual media to export African culture through stories that capture the hearts of men, women, and the universal geek.



COMIC REPUBLIC This Nigerian based comic book studio has been creating its own universe of heroes for the African audience. To reach its audience it makes its comic books available for free and sell advertising to fund its universe creation. PANARAMIC COMICS This comic book studio draws its inspiration from Nigeria’s rich history to tell compelling stories which educate and entertain its audience. EPOCH COMICS This digital arts and entertainment company has been responsible for creating several notable comic book series in partnership with some of Nigeria’s most recognisable brands.


ND GRAPHIC ART NETWORK SOARBA FILMS Soarba prides itself on delivering work of international standard. Among its accolades is the Best Animation Award at the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) for their short film “The Pencil”. PIT PRODUCTIONS Pit Productions is the brainchild of Serge Dimitri. This Burkina Faso company has proved their worth and have worked with companies in both France and Belgium.


ANIMAXFYB STUDIOS Is an animation, design, and visual effects studio based in Accra, Ghana. Animax FYB has been building its brand on delivering a full-service post production facility. INDIGENE B.R.O.S INC. Make use of illustration and animation to tell rich African stories. The team won the MTN animation of the year 2017 prize for “The Boy and the Kite” during the MTN app challenge.

BLUESPLYNE STUDIOS The studios started when its current strategic manager left the banking sector for the animation industry. The company’s focus is on using the visual medium of animation to communicate views and ideas. BLANK TOONZ ANIMATION, AN AFFILIATE OF BLANK SPACE STUDIOS Uses its blank page to create 2D and 3D animation. As an animation studio, it offers its services to several of the most recognisable brands in Africa.


SUNRISE PRODUCTIONS Started its journey in 1998, and would go on to create the multi award winning children’s animation short series, “Jungle Beat”. The team have worked on campaigns for Bono, Samsung, and other well-known brands. STRIKA ENTERTAINMENT This team is best known for creating the adventures of the Strikas football team in both comics and animation series formats. However, their focus has been on using both platforms to create engaging visual content for corporate communication needs. LUMA ANIMATION The Luma team have been behind some of the most recognisable 3D animation characters who have been featured in commercials on South African television. They have grown their service offering to deliver content for film and television.

TSUNAMI STUDIO This Nairobi based animation studio and production have made their presence felt throughout the East African industry.

ZEROPOINT STUDIOS The team at Zeropoint Studios focus on creating engaging 2D and 3D children’s content. They have also built strategic partnerships with international partners. MY CHILD TV Is the production house behind the ground-breaking and sometimes irreverent “My Child: Teenage Mutant Azanians”. The 2D animated series pokes fun at the sacred cows many South Africans dare not touch in a humour filled way. – First half-hour of adult animated comedy produced for and broadcast to an African audience. Pilot of MYTMA premiered at Comedy Central International Comedy Festival and was broadcast on Comedy Central Africa in late 2017. Execproduced and developed a short film for Trevor Noah’s recent “There’s a Gupta on My Stoep”, comedy tour of South Africa.

MINDSEYE CREATIVE This studio has kept their focus on 2D animation. They have worked on various commercial campaigns and have recently worked on the second season of the Netflix animated series “F is for Family”. In partnership with My Child TV produced 4 shorts for Cartoon Network as part of the Imagination Studios. Produced a short film for Trevor Noah’s recent “There’s a Gupta on My Stoep”, comedy tour of South Africa. TRIGGERFISH ANIMATION STUDIOS This award-winning studio created several renowned animation projects which include the BBC Christmas special “Stickman”, “Khumba”, and “Adventures in Zambezia”. TOON 53 PRODUCTIONS This multi award winning animation studio have created innovative 2D animated content for well-known brands as well as music video.




The African Animation Network threw a wide net to connect with studios across the continent. It would be difficult to write about each one. But, to give some insight into the animation and graphic art industry in Africa here are the profiles of a few of the top studios.

The Tsunami Studio - Based in Nairobi, Kenya Specialized in animation, comics, and audio production - In existence for 5 years Flagship Intellectual Property: Ma–otero (still in development), a story about four young friends in Nairobi. Injected with energy and imagination, Ma-otero follows these friends through the ups and downs of childhood as seen through the lens of their alter egos. Otero is a hero yet still a kid. She loves her brother and aims to be like him while holding down to her vows of friendship and family. She is daring but quick-tempered. Her superpower of lightning making her very fast. Advice for up-and-coming animators and studios in Africa: “The African market is growing which gives us the opportunity with our unique African stories. We are sure we will succeed in the future. Forget the risk. Take the fall. If it’s what you want, it’s worth it all. Find a balance between client work which helps, with networking which establishes yourself in the industry, and your passion that is building your own intellectual properties. Never give up, good things come to you if you just keep on going. We have identified a gap and lack of African animated content in both the African and the international market: there is not enough entertainment to educate viewers on the African culture, and there’s a shortage of quality African content. This makes African content a gold mine in the global entertainment market.” Awards: 2013: Aitec Africa Broadcast Film and Music Award: Best Film and Content Developer 2013: MaishaEDU animation educational content: finance management. | 2014: Dubai One TV’s Peeta Planet Series. | 2015: DXD: Best Audio Visual. | 2016: BBC: Night Runner Animation Content. | 2016: MaishaEDU partnered with Higher Education Loans Board Kenya (HELBK) animation educational content: finance management. Viewership 300,000 Kenyan Youths Annually. | 2017: Tony Elumelu Foundation – Entrepreneurship Program: Aspiring Winners. – 38th Durban International Film Festival: Tsunami Studio collaboration with Avandu: Titled – Maotero. – Movie Jabber: Comixplosion: Best Comic Concept. – Naicon: Best Animation Concept.

Mind’s Eye Creative - Based in Gauteng, Johannesburg, South Africa Specialized in 2D digital computer character animation - In existence for more than 6 years - Staff: 19 people Flagship Intellectual Property: None at the moment. The studio is still developing a concept tentatively entitled: “A Living Nightmare.”. The studio has produced content for several international prime-time television shows. This includes work on the Netflix series “F is for Family”. Advice for up-and-coming animators and studios across Africa: “Invest in your skills. It’s the foundation of your work and of your brand in the industry. All that matters is price, product, and work ethic.”


AFRICAN ANIMATION Strika Entertainment (PTY) Ltd - Based in Cape Town, South Africa Specialized in Animation and Comic Books - In existence for 17 years. Staff: 40 people. Flagship Intellectual Property: “Supa Strikas”. Syndicated around the world (127 countries). “Supa Strikas” has been a top-rated series in almost all markets it has aired in. Advice for up-and-coming animators and studios in Africa : “Get your business model right first. African animation can achieve success in the international marketplace without doubt, because geography is irrelevant.

Afrika Toon - Based in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire Specialized in 2D and 3D Animation - In existence for 12 years Staff: 15 people Flagship Intellectual Property: “Pokou, Asante Princess”. Pokou is powerful and a great lady. Advice for up-and-coming animators and studios in Africa: “Keep your passion going and have patience. “ Awards: Official selection and winning Awards at few Animation Festivals and TV markets.

EVCL - Based in Abuja, Nigeria SpecializeD in 2D, 3D - In existence for about 10 years Staff: from 4 to 20 when production is fullly on. Flagship Intellectual Property: Bino and Fino. Distributed worldwide via YouTube, Amazon, and other VOD platforms. Fino is curious, wants to learn, knows her mind and is not afraid to get her hands dirty. She’s no diva princess. Currently: “We are focusing on having a virtual studio model which enables us to find the talent where they are as opposed to having them in the same city as us.” Advice for up-and-coming animators and studios in Africa: “Always aim to own your IP in the long term. Don’t let your ego stop you working with others. It’s a team effort. The quicker you realise that, the better. “



THE PITCHING FINALE Thursday, Oct. 25 at 5 pm, 4 animation projects will compete for the Grand Finale of The Annecy-MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde Competition. The top 2 projects will then jet off to the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Market (MIFA) in 2018 to compete against other global emerging animation countries in the Animation du Monde MIFA Pitches finale.



(Togo, Edutainment series)

(Ethiopia, Edutainment series)

In a small village of Africa, Palimpseste is sitting under a tree. Two young brothers often come to ask her for pieces of advice to arbitrate their disputes. Palimpseste, rather than giving them the right solution, finds a perfect analogy between the worries of the children and the life of an African historical figure. Palimpseste takes the two children into the heart of amazing stories of women and men that marked Africa.

Three Ethiopian adolescent, superhero girls take you on a fun, imaginative and educational journey as they eagerly step up to understand and resolve the real life struggles girls in Africa face everyday, such as forced child marriage and overwhelming domestic chores, blocking them from the chance to go to school and better their lives. Tibeb Girls inspire and empower young people to arise against injustice and to cooperate in creating a just future that includes the opportunity to thrive and achieve their potential through education.

ABOUT INGRID AGBO Agbo is a Togolese who leave in France. Since her early childhood, she has always had a distinct interest in animated films. She is an experienced camera operator and director.


ABOUT BRUKTAWIT TIGABU Bruktawit Tibagu is a primary school teacher in Addis Ababa. Determined to improve the conditions of children in her country, she looked for ways to educate children on a mass scale. She produced Tsehai Loves Learning, an educational puppet and animation series--the first and only preschool educational program in Ethiopia introducing life saving health concepts.




(Ghana, 6 min adult comedy reality web series)


The Fits are the ultimate crime fighting super hero team. Due to their unconventional ways, the public has dubbed them as the ‘Misfits’. A camera crew daily follows them as they try to save Ghana from the evil Neo Koloney and his evil sidekick daughter Poppy.

ABOUT COMFORT ARTHUR Comfort Arthur is a British Ghanaian animator, illustrator, editor, writer, and actress. Her short animation film “Imagine” won best Animation 2016 at the Golden Movie Awards. Her recent film “Black Barbie” has had international recognition and won awards for best animation 2016 Ghana Movie awards and Best Poetry 2016 Reel times Film festival.

Shade Arogundade, a divorcee with three kids, is a creative director with an Ad agency. She lives a regular life without knowing that something very powerful lies dormant within her. The series follows Shade’s journey of discovering her unique ability. In the real life surroundings and happenings of today’s Lagos, Nigeria, she bumbles her way through life learning to cope with her gift, relationships, antagonists and the decision to use her ability for the common good. Design: Kimson Osaghae Story: Omololu Kusimo

ABOUT KIMSON OSAGHAE Osaghae is a Nigerian illustrator and self-taught animator. He has worked in the advertising, entertainment and publishing industries.



WHEN THE FIRST BLACK KID IN AN ALL WHITE SCHOOL SAT NEXT TO HIM, NICK WILSON DIDN’T IMAGINE HE WOULD EMBARK ON AN ANIMATION-DRIVEN JOURNEY In 2015 Wilson was voted by his peers to the position of Chair of the Export Committee of Animation South Africa (ASA) with the mandate to create export opportunities for South African IP . In 2016, Wilson went on to become the project manager for the African Animation Network. Wilson is the executive producer of My Child TV, the production company responsible for the adult animated comedy “My Child: Teenage Mutant Azanians” (MCTMA), for which he has assembled the strongest cast of African comedians ever assembled for a TV series. MCTMA is the first ever adult animated comedy to be produced for and broadcast to an Africa audience (Comedy Central Africa). My Child TV developed and exec-produced a short film for Trevor Noah which was screened at his 2017 South African comedy extravaganza “There’s a Gupta on My Stoep”. My Child TV also exec - produced 4 shorts for Cartoon Network as part of their PanAfrican Imagination Studios 2017 campaign- the first time the international animation broadcaster has worked with African animation studios. Disbook: Do you intend to transform the SA landscape through animation? Nick Wilson: No, at the onset I only wanted to make funny animated content for mature audiences. I financed the majority of the development and production of the pilot of MCTMA whilst also being the co-creator. It was whilst journeying along this path that I realised


how difficult the business of animation is, it really isn’t just about the beautiful (or in the case of MCTMA, offensive) images you see flickering on your screen. There is a army of individuals across the full supply chain involved in the development, production, marketing and distribution. There are many challenges faced by African animation producers and the majority of them can only be resolved through collaboration. Thus, I volunteered to work at ASA and thereafter, founded the African Animation Network social enterprise as project manager. D: Why did you choose the comic genre for your adult animated series? N.W.: It’s really cliched now but, I have always been a big fan of South Park and was really inspired by the show. Trevor Gumbi (now a top comedian) and I have been friends since childhood and the end of Apartheid in South Africa and I have been friends with Nina Hastie (another top comedian) for close on a decade, both of whom are contributing writers and consulted on the early development of the show. Quite a lot of the inspiration for MCTMA is based on Trevor and my experiences at primary school at the end of Apartheid. Trevor was the first black kid admitted into our all white school and on his first day he sat next to me in class, we’ve been friends ever since. A lot of those experiences in retrospect were hilarious and so the comedy medium was just natural I guess and since I had studied animation after school, animated comedy was the most

D: Are you a very funny person yourself? N. W.: That’s a tough question because, a lot of people who think they are funny are not. I would like to think I have a good sense of humour but, as MCTMA can attest, I do enjoy the more edgy/offensive comedy. D: You said once: “I used to dislike going to markets. I’ve since realized their value.” Now you announce that you will partner with DISCOP to launch a standalone convention in 2018 called DISCOMICS. Are you a market organizer or an animation producer? What comes first? N.W.: I am an animation producer firstly, because that is where my journey started in the broadcast industry. Prior to that I was an event producer in the music and fashion industry, before working as a project manager in the IT and printing industry so, I have a mixed-bag of experiences and skillsets. The next part of my journey is as market organiser with the unique perspective of being an animation producer and understanding the obstacles and challenges faced by the African animation industry. Everything that we have been and will be doing at the African Animation Network is about building open or generative network platforms for African animation professionals and accelerating the development of the sector. Markets like DISCOP and now DISCOMICS are closely aligned to that strategy.



Above your expectations DRAMA







Join us at booth 125


© 2017 francetv distribution – tous droits réservés


For more information please contact : Laëtitia Levert I laetitia.levert@francetv.fr - Phone +33 (0)7 76 11 73 99


















Everybody knows Little Brown Bear! He’s kiddies’ mirror hero. He lives in the country with his Mum and Dad. In these new adventures, meet his older cousin, Big Red Bear, who just moved in next door with her family. Now, Little Brown Bear and Big Red Bear, his favourite playmate, are an inventive and dynamic duo! A whole new world of discovery and adventure opens up to the little bear.

 52 X 07'



(CÔTE D’IVOIRE, 2017) Kassa is a young boy of about ten. When his mother and father invite his grandparents to come and stay, Kassa is delighted. The older couple speak the family’s original language, but Kassa does not understand a word they say. The grandfather is disappointed to realize that his grandson knows a lot about other cultures, but nothing about his own. He decides to invite him to spend his summer vacation in their home village so he can get to know the fascinating values of his ancestral culture.

 26 X 13'



The series emphasizes the themes of community and cooperation in a small-town setting richly evocative of China’s distant past called Zodiac Way. There, the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac each takes on roles designed to help their community flourish.

 208 X 13’



(CHINA, 2017) This is a whirling, fast-paced sci-fi fantasy that will transport you to the cartoon multiverse. The story follows an intrepid robot named Coco who discovers the whereabouts of the Golden Antlers and counts on a group of friends to fend off an elite group of thieves from the real world.

 3D/HD; 5.1 surround sound - 83') FANTAWILD ANIMATION

BOONIE CUBS (CHINA) Targeted at preschool kids, “Boonie Cubs” is a brand-new edutainment series showing children that learning can be fun and teaching kids how to help others while preparing themselves for life in this beautiful world. This show is a colorful paradise for kids, teeming with adventures around every corner.  52 X 13’



In this exciting new wilderness survival TV series, a whole new adventure is on the brink of brewing in Pine Tree Mountain when a local tour guide named Vick, chances upon his first and most tremendous challenge of his new career: a young girl. She needs his help finding the tiger that was her childhood companion.



The International Emmy Kids Awards 2016 – Pre-school winner returns. Each episode starts


with club leader Duggee welcoming the Squirrels, a bunch of curious little characters, who are dropped off at the club by their parents.The Squirrels’ encourage young children to actively solve a problem by using their bodies to move, jump, run and skip.Duggee always rewards them by giving them a squirrel activity badge – which they proudly show to their parents when they are picked up at the end of the show.

 104 X 07'



Packed with comedy, teamwork, thrilling action, great gadgets, awesome sights and funky facts about brand new places, this colourful animation series follows the adventures of four plucky international heroes, Xuli, Kyan, Lars and Foz, as they travel the world with their teacher, mentor and friend, Ubercorn, a funky disco-grooving unicorn. They Travel to locations such as the Sahara Desert, the Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon and the Sydney Opera House.

 Seasons 1,2 – 52 X 11' BBC WORLDWIDE LTD


(FRANCE, 2014-2018) Discover of the African Savannah through the adventures of a little European bird! Season 2: One morning, a strangelooking package fell from the overloaded bush taxi, which crosses the plains each day. And, inside the package, Dimitri and his friends found a frightened little monkey. The Ubuyu locals wasted no time in adopting Tamaa, and Tamaa wasted no time in disrupting the peaceful life on the Ubuyu plains…



watch the trailers on discop.com B









(USA) Africa’s funniest stand-up comedians are featured on stage and on location in this laugh-a-minute series. Featuring noted comics such as Michael Blackson and Yvonne Orji, the series showcases their work in comedy clubs and on the streets while giving viewers insights into where their hilarious material is born.

 10X0:60



(MEXICO, 2015) 4 families formed by members from different generations face each other to answer questions from an older generation than the one they represent.



(2015-2016, UK) Bake Off is back and this time the search goes nationwide in a bid to find and crown South Africa’s best amateur baker. The tent is up, the ovens preheated and 12 of the country’s best amateur bakers are ready to showcase their baking skills through a series of challenging tasks. Who will rise to the occasion and whose bake will lack the flavour required to win?



gger, Minjiba Cookey. Be inspired as she prepares exotic gourmet dishes catered to the modern jet setters, movers and shakers in the most glamorous homes across the continent.

 13 X 30'



(USA, 2016) Noted local personalities and artists eagerly provide personal tours of what they love most about the cities and communities they call home. Across
the continent and the Diaspora, viewers get an insider’s view of local hidden gems not listed in the guidebooks. Drink and dine at favorite restaurants, discover the best shops, and find out where these locals spend their time in this intimate travel series.

 8 X 30'/60'




(USA, 2017) Drop the Mic, the celebrity battle rap competition based on the enormously popular segment from The Late Late Show with James Corden, will pit four stars from the worlds of entertainment, music, sports and pop culture against each other in a rap battle royale packed with “I can’t believe they just said that” moments. At the end of each head-to-head battle, the studio audience will vote to pick the winner.



Music talent show inspired in millions of internet videos in which parents and children inetract together. From Web star to TV star.

 1:20



(USA, 2018) A world traveler from the friendly city of Chicago, Nathan Fluellen is a thrill seeker with a penchant for pushing people outside their comfort zone. The global video blogger (worldwidenate.com) parties all night at trendy music venues, dives among great white sharks and more. In this adventure-filed travel series, you’ll be either packing your bags to replicate Nate’s exploits or settling further back in your couch to experience Africa and the world vicariously


(USA, 2017) African fusion cuisine meets lifestyles of the hip and fabulous in this stylish, African chic cooking show hosted by Nigerian food blo-











(USA, 2017) The rich influences of African and Caribbean immigrants in metropolitan cities across the globe are brought to life in this illuminating series. Each episode shines a light on their struggles, hopes, triumphs and indelible contributions to local culture. The roots of Africa are vibrantly alive in and throughout the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean, revealing Africa Everywhere.



(UK) The art world comes to life during this visually stunning journey across the globe. African Masters features world-renowned artists and a new generation of emerging artists who are making the art world sit up and listen. Discover their inspiration, the secrets of their methods, and their often controversial views on today’s art world.




FRAT BOYS (UK, 2016)




America’s college fraternities are notorious for hard drinking and hard partying, but they are also accused of fostering a culture of brutality and sexual assault. During one term at the University of Central Florida, the programme follows the life of a group of frat boys as they embark on the pledging process, when new recruits have to prove themselves before they can become a fraternity brother.Many die and others are injured in barbaric initiation rituals, known as hazing.All will be revealed.

(FRANCE, 2015-2017) The conquest of a better life by education; an ideal embodied by the way the children take to reach their school throughout the planet. They have in common a thirst for learning. Instinctively, they know their future depends on knowledge, then on school. But to reach the benches of their faraway school, they must brave thousands of difficulties on their way. Their roads to knowledge, hanged out in majestic landscapes, are as perilous as exhilarating.


(USA, 2016) This original series takes a fresh approach to sharing the stories of people and places throughout the African Diaspora. With stories that run the gamut from business, tourism, social issues, fashion, food, culture, the entertainment industry and the like, In Focus is an entertaining and illuminating look at Africa and its place in the world.


Today sport is the only show that unites nations all around the world. In many countries, the sport even participates fully in the construction of a national identity and specific sports have become inseparable from the nation that carries them. Champions Factory explores these cases where a sport meets a nation by showing the emergence of future champions, giving a voice to those who have become icons in their country and offering new and spectacular sports and images.







(FRANCE, 2017) Sleeping upside-down, on one leg, lying down, standing up, buried, eyes wide open, fists clenched, floating like a buoy, or taking it in turns. In nature, every species has its own technique for taking a nap without becoming a snack! This film tells some surprising stories of remarkable sleepers. Every day, different animal species go in search of essential rest in an unpredictable environment. Inevitably, they share their world with neighbors who do not necessarily keep the same hours.

 1 X 52'



A ghost who is scared to go to heaven because he doesn’t have a soulmate, convinces God to give him three days to fall in love. He is paired with the cantankerous firecracker - Ijeoma - who will do anything to save her father’s house in Banana Island from the bank coming to reclaim it in three days. The two of them must first survive each other, then learn to work together, and eventually fall in love, to see their destinies unfold.

 104’


Félicité sings and the word stops turning. This proud selfmade woman will be forced to put aside her principles to find in a short period of time the money for her son’s surgery. She goes on a frantic search through the streets of Kinshasa when her path crosses that of Tabu.



(NIGERIA, 2016) Duke a young and smart student must quickly find a way to gain money in order to pay his mother’s medicines and his tuitions, especially since his big brother came back from jail. Thus he came up with a very interesting plan! With the help of his best friend Lati and Keji, the lady he secretly loves, the trio start to steal cars. Lati breaks the wire and dresses the cars with ribbons, knots and other decorations, while Duke and Keji dress in gown and tux pretending to be newlyweds. However. When our three wacky get scammed by their dealer, they decide to steal one last time, the very last one... unfortunately, nothing goes as planned.



(GHANA, 2017) “Like Cotton Twines” follows Micah, an American volunteer who teaches in a Ghanaian village and harbors high expectations for his mother’s homeland. He’s eager to help his students reach their full potential, especially the bright 13-year-old Tuigi. But when Tuigi’s family must pay for an accident caused by her father, Tuigi must abandon her education and offer herself as a sex slave. Outraged and upset, Micah battles the tribal culture, religious customs, and the state itself in order to save this girl from a cruel fate. The film which won Best Picture at the 2016 Ghana Movie Awards sheds light on the real life practice of sex slavery in Ghana known as Trokosi.

 96’


 102’



























(BRAZIL, 2017) “Above Justice” invites viewers to reflect upon human issues and moral values, opening with the arrest of four people of different origins and backgrounds in 2009. The story then fast forwards seven years, as the characters are released from prison after serving their time, and prepared to go back to their lives. That was without taking into account the plans of revenge formed by those whose lives were destroyed. Can revenge be a form of justice?



(CÔTE D’IVOIRE, 2018) This Political thriller deals with terrorism and conspiracy in politics aiming at emphasizing mani-pulations during a Police investigation. On the eve of the anniversary of the independence, President Jean Regnard makes a non official tour in the country and is victim of a kidnapping. At the same time, the country is also the target of a terrorist plot. Agent Karl Gaudence, known for his controversial methods, and the Ivorian counter-intelligence agency “D.I.A” struggle to find the President back. During their research, they also attempt to foil impeding attacks…



(INDIA, 2008 ) Set in rural India , “ Balika Vadhu” narrates the story of child bride ‘Anandi’. She has to abruptly leave her childhood and enter a new world, which is at once alienating and confusing. Anandi has to accept and accustom herself to this new family of strangers, new


relationship and accept her role as a friend, wife and daughter in law. Weighed down by the heavy responsibilities of marriage at such a tender age, ‘Balika Vadhu’ very sensitively portrays the plight of children who are unwittingly forced into marriage, in the name of tradition and have to bear repercussions for the rest of their lives. This is one of the longest running series on Indian television and its lead character, Anandi, has reached iconic status in India and abroad. It is also Indiacast’s No. 1 syndicated property across the globe.





(USA, 2015) Season two picks up immediately after the explosive season one finale, which ended in a headto-head confrontation between hard-charging U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades and billionaire hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, giving no mercy in the scorched-earth battle to retain the power positions they’ve spent a lifetime building. With dueling investigations haunting Chuck and Bobby, both men are facing a full frontal assault that will force them to reconsider everything and everyone.

 36 X 60’



(MEXICO, 2017) Alejandro Muñoz Moreno, a man who beat all hardships to became the World Wrestling Champion under the name of Blue Demon.

 25 X 60'


(INDIA, 2017) Young Chandrakanta, the princess of the kingdom of Vijaygarh loses her family and kingdom in a battle waged by the evil Queen Iravati of Naugarh, hungry for ultimate power. Her mother, Queen Ratnaprabha, ensured her daughter’s safety before dying with the help of their pet magical dolphin, and the baby ends up with a childless, loving, ordinary Aiyaar couple in the kingdom of Suryagarh, growing up with faint memory of the destruction that had occurred. Unaware of the full extent of her magical powers and her destiny, Chandrakanta grows up to be an exceptionally skilled, beautiful and formidable Aiyaara warrior..


(BRAZIL, 2017) City of Men is back to take another look on the lives of Acerola (Douglas Silva) and Laranjinha (Darlan Cunha), inseparable childhood best buddies who watch as their children replicate their own friendship all over again while they deal with trafficking powers and lack of money. The new story revolves around Laranjinha’s struggle to save his son, Davi, after he finds out the boy has a severe heart condition. With no money, his only option for treatment is the public health system. Under pressure, Laranjinha will put his convictions and even his friendship with Acerola to the test while trying to find a way out of his big dilemma life imposes on him.

 5 X 30’




(MEXICO, 2015) This is the story of Isabela and Manuela, two separated twins at birth and who reunite after 12 years. Regina, the adoptive mother of Isabela and businesswoman of the band C1R, will kidnap Manuela with the intention of forcing her to be characterized as Isabela: the idea is that the girl uses her talent to promote the success of the musical group and help Regina keep the family fortune. Meanwhile, Rebeca, biological mother of the twins, will do whatever it takes to get her daughters back.

 300 X 45'



(UNITED STATES, 2017) DailyMailTV, a new daily syndicated series, will bring the best of DailyMail.com to life on television. From exclusive stories to breaking news, showbiz, crime, health and science and technology, DailyMailTV will be must-watch television that brings to life the very best of DailyMail.com five days a week. Sharing captivating stories from across the United States and around the globe, viewers will become addicted to DailyMailTV, just as they have to DailyMail.com.

 30’



(INDIA, 2017) This is the story of Parth and Sharvary Bhanushali who are the most perfect couple, madly in love with each other and excited to have a child that will reunite them with the estranged Bhanushali family and bring about everlasting happiness. But destiny had other plans, Sharvary miscarries and

cannot conceive again, now the couple are even more desperate for a child. They meet with Teni, an ex bar dancer and a money minded girl with huge imperfections. She becomes a source of great happiness as she agrees to be a surrogate mother to their child but with great happiness comes a big price when Teni falls in love with Parth. How does this challenge Parth & Sharvary’s perfect marriage?



(UNITED STATES, 2002) DR. PHIL, the Emmy®-nominated hit syndicated, daily one-hour talk show hosted by America’s most popular psychologist and lifestyle strategist, Dr. Phil McGraw, has remained the #1 daytime talk show since its 10th season. Dr. McGraw’s success stems from his signature “get real” approach to helping his guests solve their problems, stripping through their emotional clutter, helping them to get down to the bare bones of their issues and giving them the challenge they need to move ahead.



(TURKEY, 2011) The young, innocent Fatmagül, is newly engaged with her whole life in front of her. One night, she is gang raped by three young men who are on a wild night out. Her engagement breaks up, and she is forced to marry another man who was present at the rape scene. Later, she turns against the evil structures in society to get justice. Fatmagül is one of the most successful Turkish drama series ever.




(TURKEY, 2010) Adaptation to the present time of the work of the foremost Turkish author Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil. Adnan, after losing his wife eleven years ago and excluding himself from his social environment gave all his attention to his daughter Nihal and his son Bülent. Adnan, who lives in one of the most important shore houses in Istanbul with a relative’s son Behlül, meets Bihter years later who is also a socialite couple’s daughter and falls in love with her, and then the story begins. While searching for peace, safety and happiness in Adnan’s shore house, Bihter meets passion. Behlül and Bihter fall completely into each other and get drowned by their infatuation with each other. Betrayal shades the innocence now but their secret love affair will soon affect every member of the family… Passion and love capture loyalty.

 79 X 90' KANAL D


(TURKEY, 2007) A rapturous Cinderella romance set in the present day. Mehmet loses the woman he loves in a terrible accident and becomes weary of life. Gümüş is patiently waiting for Mehmet, whom she has loved since her childhood, to eventually love her back. Life can sometimes change with a simple phone call similar to how Gümüş’s life changed that morning. The rise of a poor girl after being given the kiss of chance, the fact that she creates her own fate and rose to the top, her exciting adventure, the smart Cinderella story appeals to modern day audiences.

 100 X 90' KANAL D

 80 X 90' KANAL D 149



(NIGERIA-SOUTH AFRICA, 2017) Happy Family is about love and happiness. The series tells the story through 4 sets of married couples, from different backgrounds, each with their own unique set of circumstances and challenges that test the very essence of their respective relationships. On one side we have , The Morros, a thriving young couple with one child, whose relationship gets tested when work-related issues start to slowly invade their lives, The Abolos a recently married couple, just relocated to South Africa who find that the dream of settling down in a new country with a new routine can easily turn into a nightmare. On the other side The Tshabalalas, another recently married couple who experience lies and secrets finally, The Nelsons a wealthy and ageing couple that seem to have everything except one thing: their money cannot buy... A child

 13 X 26’



(UNITED STATES, 2010) HAWAII FIVE-0 is a contemporary take on the classic series about an elite federalized task force whose mission is to wipe out the crime that washes up on the islands’ sun-drenched beaches. The state’s brash FIVE-0 unit, who may spar and jest among themselves, remain determined to eliminate the seedy elements from the 50th state.



(TURKEY, 2017) “Innocent” is a crime drama about the extraordinary events surrounding a familiar Turkish family, with a suspenseful pace and compelling editing. Retired police captain Cevdet and his wife peacefully live far away from the city, until one night their younger son Tarik comes home bearing horrible news. He asks his parents for help. As a result of an argument with his wife, Tarik went hysterical and killed her. Cevdet is faced with a hard choice: doing the right thing by bringing his son to justice, or covering it up by using his professional expertise and saving his son. Plus his wife won’t let her son go to prison at all costs. As the story progresses we see that the murder is connected with a much more complicated chain of events. Not only their younger son, but also their older son has a hand in all this, and Tarik’s wife is not the only one who was murdered...

 8 X 50'



(UK, 2015-2016) A flat-share sitcom about the minutiae of modern life, written by and starring fast-rising comedian Josh Widdicombe. Josh is an incurable worrier who shares a flat with his two best friends: Owen, a romantic Welshman as laid-back as Josh is uptight; and Kate, a perfectionist who spends her life pursuing every trend from A to Zumba. Josh is hampered at every turn by this unlikely assortment of oddballs and a nagging sense of his own inadequacy.

 12 x 30'




There is a ‘Hyacinth’ in every culture. Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “bouquet”) goes to incredible lengths in her quest for perfection. Here’s her sparkling house. Her husband, Richard, acts as chauffeur in their immaculate car. Their permanently absent son has a superior name, Sheridan. Even the empty milk bottles sparkle on the doorstep after their obligatory rinse in the dishwasher. Whatever Hyacinth does, her family can always be guaranteed to show her up. Can she ever live down the disgrace?

 Season 1,2 – 41 X 30'



(MIDDLE EAST, 2016) It is an original, ground-breaking, first African-Middle Eastern co-production by Zee and RTI. The show features well-known African actor Ahmed Souane from Côte d’ivoire, who co-stars in the onehour, 13-episodic drama, as the protagonist tycoon’s best friend. The modern storyline follows major UAE- based real estate tycoon, Ikram Malik (played by renowned Bollywood actor, Javed Sheikh), and his endeavor to launch a massive real estate project in the UAE.




(INDIA, 2017) The story follows the life of a mother who runs a marriage hall and lives with the hope of seeing her two daughters, Bani and Bulbul, happily married some day! The plot centers around Bani and Bulbul, two sisters their dreams, aspirations and their inter-twined destinies as seen from the eyes of the mother.



(INDIA, 2017) Kundali Bhagya is an intriguing story about two young girls Preeta and Shrishti. They discover the existence of their mother - Sarla and their sister Pragya, after the death of their father. Amidst this journey of mixed emotions the girl’s cross paths with two rich brothers, Rishabh and Karan who are friends with Abhi. The story will then introduce romance, drama and dispute in the lives of Preeta, Shrishti, Rishabh and Karan.

 50 X 30'



If people were asked to name the one thing money can’t buy, the most common answer would be… LOVE. Nothing in the world is more precious and stronger. For Azra and Kerem, love is all they have. Azra can barely support her family and Kerem has been out of work for a while. The only thing that is going right in their lives is love. But without money, will love be enough for them? All of the sudden, Şebnem enters their lives. She is one of Azra’s rich stu-

dents and she has a deadly illness which causes her to faint during the course. She has everything a person is looking for- except love. She doesn’t want to die without experiencing true love. She pours her heart out to Azra. Soon Azra realizes that she hopes to save her and her love for Kerem. She is an angel and a devil, a friend and an enemy to Şebnem. Will Azra and Kerem sacrifice their love to save their lives from the destruction of poverty? Will they put their love at risk?

 13 X 95'



(UNITED STATES, 2016) MACGYVER, a reimagining of the classic series, is about 20-something Angus “Mac” MacGyver, who creates a clandestine organization within the U.S. government where he uses his extraordinary talent for unconventional problem solving and vast scientific knowledge to save lives. Under the aegis of the Department of External Services, MacGyver takes on the responsibility of saving the world, armed to the teeth with resourcefulness and little more than bubble gum and a paper clip.

 43 X 60’



(UNITED STATES, 2014) In MADAM SECRETARY stars Téa Leoni as Elizabeth McCord, the shrewd, determined Secretary of State who drives international diplomacy, battles office politics and circumvents protocol as she negotiates global and domestic issues, both at the White House and at home. As McCord debates third world problems and finesses foreign dignitaries at work, that’s just a warm-up for when she goes home


to her supportive husband and their three children, where “politics” and “compromise” take on new meaning.



Yiğit, is a mischievous, goodlooking, womanizer, and a powerful man, while Emir is just the opposite of his brother. He is a calm, hard-working man and when it comes to women, he is timid and shy. A chain of events begins with the robbery of their father’s store followed by his tragic suicide. The two brothers attempt to avenge their father. Yiğit tries to avenge him illegally while Emir tries to do it by legal means.

 76 X 45' KANAL D


Mister Brau (Lázaro Ramos) is at the top of his game. His music dominates the charts globally; he is the star of the moment and enjoys this success with Michele (Tais Araújo) his wife, his manager and dancer. The Braus move in to a new house in a posh neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, carrying with them the fever of Bazilian music that everybody loves, except their neighbors Andrea and Henry who might as well say farewell to their peaceful life.

 13 X 45’





Shivanya has now started falling in love with the Ritik and realizing that he is not to blame. How will she resolve the conflict between her need for revenge and the love she feels, both of which are equally strong forces.


 114 x 60' Season 1: 62 Episodes Season 2: 75 Episodes INDIACAST MEDIA DISTRIBUTION PVT. LTD

(MEXICO, 2014) Ana arrives in the Lascurain household to become the nanny of Fernando ́s 7 children, without imagining that she will find more than a simple job there.


(MEXICO, 2017) At birth, Aurora is a labeled as a curse bearer that will only call misfortune. She will have to prove everyone that they have always been wrong about her.



(FRANCE, 2011-2017) Set in the late 19th century, a series of dark murders occurs in the most iconic places of the City of Light: the Moulin Rouge, the Eiffel Tower, the Opera Garnier, the Place Vendôme, the Louvre Museum…

 5 X 01:30'


NAGIN (INDIA, 2015-2017)

Naagin is Shivanya’s story, an “Iccha-dhaari Naagin” ( Shape Shifter) who can shape shift from snake form into human. Her parents were killed by a group of people, 25 years ago, and now she has come into their lives for revenge. She enters their house as a maid with the intention of killing them. As fate has it Ritik the son of one of the couple who killed her parents, falls in love with her and marries her. Somewhere along the way despite her own plans,


(UNITED STATES, 2009) NCIS: LOS ANGELES is a drama about the high- stakes world of a division of NCIS that is charged with apprehending dangerous and elusive criminals that pose a threat to the nation’s security. Armed with the latest in high-tech gear and sent regularly into life-threatening situations, this tight-knit unit relies on each other to do what is necessary to protect national interests.

 214 X 60’



(TURKEY, 2017) Filiz (Hazal Kaya) has been struggling to survive in one of Istanbul’s poorest neighborhoods.She is the typical big sister, who has become the mother of the family.She has to look after her 5 younger siblings and her useless alcoholic father. Filiz thinks that there is no place for love in her life up until the day she meets Baris.But his mysterious identity and dark past will put their relationship in danger. CALINOS ENTERTAINMENT


This is the first adaptation of the French hit family series!

After an original idea imagined by Elephant Story for France2. The Gabonese adaptation of the French series tells the story of funny daily lives of a couple in their fourties, Magloire and Edith Kumba, and their three children aged 8 to 16 years old. The family is representative of the booming African middle class in a modern Africa in synch with the times



The story is about a young talented girl, offered an unusual job! A business tycoon needs her help to get his son out of the ascetic life he has been living so far. At first she is hesitant to accept this challenge but she takes it up considering the money offered. In this journey, she discovers the reason for the male protagonist to live an ascetic life; and will eventually develop a connection with him! The story will take audiences through her journey.



(UK, 2016) The most successful Natural History Title of all time is back. A decade ago, Planet Earth redefined natural history filmmaking, giving us the ultimate portrait of life on Earth. Ten years on, Planet Earth II explores the unique characteristics of Earth’s most iconic habitats and the extraordinary ways animals survive within them. We travel through jungles, deserts, mountains, islands, grasslands and cities. Now we experience the world from the viewpoint of the

 7 X 50'





(UNITED STATES, 2014) SCORPION is a high-octane drama about eccentric genius Walter O’Brien and his team of brilliant misfits who are the last line of defense against complex, high-tech threats of the modern age. At last, these quirky masterminds have found the perfect job: a place where they can apply their exceptional brainpower to solve the nation’s crises while also helping one another learn how to fit in.



(BURKINA FASO, 2016) Two couples on the verge of breaking up. Marcel and Rouky; Ya s m i n e a n d M o u l a y e : t w o couples threatened by issues of infertility and inheritance. In the first couple, Yasmine dreams of turning her partner Moulaye’s store into a supermarket and inheriting it. But Moulaye hands over the rights and deeds of the property to his son. Meanwhile, a number of issues are undermining Marcel and Rouky’s relationship. Marcel hires an intern who increasingly hits on him, while Rouky discovers she is sterile.

 26 X 26'



(TURKEY, 2013) Kemal and Leyla have everything in life to be envious of. They have a family business, a splendid house, two children. But with a series of unexpected events, the portrait of this beautiful family is destroyed in a single night. Kerem, the beloved son of Leyla and Kemal, is taken away from his home by what appear to be two police officers. The unfortunate parents hire a former police officer Mehmet to help

them find their son. The moment he meets the family, Mehmet understands that this case is much bigger and more complicated than it seems. As Mehmet tries to solve the current situation, he comes up with more questions. According to Mehmet, everyone in and around the family is a potential suspect. Is this a plan of revenge connected to the family members’ dark pasts, secrets, lies and mistakes? Murders, terrible games and mind-boggling intrigues all play a part.

 18 X 95' KANAL D


(USA, 2018) Hosted by four vibrant personalities, Shades of You is a bold and refreshing series that celebrates women of all shades and colors. From beauty to motherhood and from body image to relationships, Shades of You empowers and inspires women through the exploration of issues that uniquely define them.

 13 X 30'



(INDIA, 2017) Ek Shringaar Swabhimaan celebrates the courage and pride of a small-town single mother, Sharda, and the values and strengths with which she empowers her young daughters, Meghna and Naina. These fiercely independent girls have only one thing in common, their undying devotion towards their mother. Facing several hardships in an orthodox society, Sharda has provided the best upbringing and education to her girls. But what happens when it’s time to find matches for her highly


educated daughters? A single twist of fate will change everything forever!

 260 x 30'



(MEXICO, 2017) A series that opens the way for the audience to see the different perspectives of the people engaged in the same conclusive event with the strength to change the destiny of those involved. Addressing powerful and current topics like kidnapping, human trafficking, influence peddling, or pedophilia, we will get to see what happens in the lives of the victims, murderers, and those who, for whatever reason, participate in situations that aren’t easy to get through.

 12 X 60'



Three identical sisters but with different personalities will meet again after an accident split them apart: their different points of view, and the envy willput them to find the purpose of their life.

 123 X 60'



When his brother dies, Marcelo promises to take revenge on his death, but he never imagines that he will fall in love with Lucía, the woman he thinks is to blame for his brother ́s death.





(UK, 2016, ) A fresh adaptation of English literature’s first great detective novel. When Franklin Blake returns to England, he is forced to face the ghosts he fled a year ago when the Moonstone, a priceless Indian diamond, was stolen. Rachel Verinder, Franklin’s beautiful young cousin, inherited the stone on her 18th birthday. The stone carried a curse and after her birthday party, it was missing. In the aftermath of the theft, Rachel cut off all ties with Franklin.Can Franklin win back the love of his life?

 Limited series - 5 X 45' BBC WORLDWIDE LTD


(MEXICO, 2008) This drama series will excite the audience with its moving and revealing messages of love, faith and hope.

 0:60



(USA, 2018) The Samaritans is a snarky, comedic scripted series centered on the absurdities of Aid for Aid, a dysfunctional, fictitious non-governmental organization (NGO). In the Kenya field office, the cosmopolitan staff deals with the strange demands and decisions of UK headquarter and hopelessly inept local bureaucracies, all under the guise of “Saving Africa”.



(BRAZIL, 2016) After escaping a sexual harassment from her drunken stepfather, Eliza runs away from home with the help of her mother Gilda, so she tries her luck in the big city. Her ultimate dream is to provide a better life for her mother and siblings. When she gets robbed on her very first day there, Eliza ends up living in the streets.She meets Jonatas, a charismatic guy who is in charge of parking spaces and who sellscandy in the street. With is help, Eliza starts selling flowers to make a living, and they both startto develop a true friendship destined to become the most beautiful love story.



A stirring story that depicts the class divide , the haves and the have-nots. Uttaran is story of 2 friends , where Tapasya, the daughter of the rich landlord befriends their maid’s daughter Ichcha. Despite having it all, Tapasya starts to resent the attention to Ichcha and proceeds to do everything within her means to pull her down. As destiny would have it, they fall in love with the same man “Veer”. However Veer only loves Ichcha. Consumed by jealously, Tapasya threatens to end her life. Ichcha sacrifices her love for friendship and Tapasya marries Veer by deceit. Watch the friendship bloom and wither in the face of jealousy, true love and married life.

 4 SEASONS _ 1549 X 0:30' (including commercial time) INDIACAST MEDIA DISTRIBUTION PVT LTD


(TURKEY, 2014) Gülru was born in a suburban neighborhood and grew up in the servants’ quarters of a mansion where her father worked as a gardener. Despite the dreams she had when she was in the gardens of the splendid mansion, she never forgot her modest neighborhood. She kept travelling back and forth between the mansion and the neighborhood. The heroes of her world were her childhood love, her caring father, her sisters and Cihan, the mansion owners’ son. Above them all, she admired Gulfem Sipahi the daughter of the mansion owner. Gulfem left the mansion for a few years, and when she returned she reignited the admiration that Gulru felt for her as a child. Nobody approves of this admiration. One day, Gülru’s path crosses with Gulfem’s former lover, Omer Hekimoglu. By this meeting, dreams and the facts of Gülru’s small world are about to be turned upside down. With the changes, starts the war of the roses. There is no way of staying out of this war, in the neighborhood or the mansion.

 168 X 45'



(INDIA, 2017) The show revolves around the lives of 3 people, Aditya, Nisha & Jhanvi. The show redefines the status of ‘Woh’ (the extramarital lover), and makes people reflect on whether this lover is the one who breaks up relationships or instead gives new hope to relationships. The show asks the question: does the one who takes the holy 7 pheras is, lawfully and socially, the rightful spouse always the right companion?



WOMAN (TURKEY, 2017) “Woman” is the story of Bahar, a young woman and her two children. Bahar, was abandoned by her mother when she was eight years old, later suffers again when she loses her grandparents too.Just when she thinks she is all alone in the world she meets Sarp.They fall in love and lead a happy and blissful life until one day he unexpectedly dies. Bahar is once again alone,struggling for survival but full of determination to raise her children well holding on to the memory of her beloved husband. CALINOS ENTERTAINMENT


(TURKEY, 2016) In that stormy winter night, a man and a woman yielded to their desires, silencing the heat of their bodies craving for each other after many years. They knew this would not last, they knew that they may not have tomorrow. Their cherished love that was so tender was now glowing with the flames of their own hell. The hell on its way to destroy them. The hell of the forbidden siege that threatened their love, hope, and faith. That night would be the most hopeful, yet the most ominous key to their intertwined fate. A woman who finds solace in the memories of her love but is forced to reject her beloved. A man who is doomed to witness his beloved slip through his fingers for a reason he cannot oppose to. Set in the unique picturesqueness of Aegean coasts, this is the love story of a man and a woman whose memorable faith in each other will go through a grave crisis.



(INDIA, 2016) Zindagi ki Mehek is the story of a young and positive girl, Mehek. Mehek has magic in her fingers and can cook great food. Mehek believes that good food is very essential for a good life. This show is her journey through life with the talent she possesses.


ZOO (USA, 2014)

ZOO, based on the #1 bestselling novel by James Patterson, is a global thriller about a wave of violent animal attacks against humans sweeping the planet. In season three, the year is 2027, and the world has reached a tipping point. As the planet’s future hangs in the balance, the team must race to stop the hybrids and their creator – a shadowy figure with a startling connection to the team’s past.


 32 x 2:25'