By Afrikaeye with Tim Kindberg and Simon Bright
The African moving image is a mixed story of success and challenges. In Making Films in Developing Countries, Rahwa Kiros wrote in the 2010 Encounters catalogue about some of the infrastructural problems for film makers. At the same time, she pointed out that film-making was cheaper in many of these countries, and noted the good health of the Nigerian and South African film industries.
Digital – mobile in particular – is a different story. Several countries in Africa have leapfrogged the West in mobile adoption, and shown a willingness to take up and create innovations including mobile payments (M-Pesa) and mobile citizen reportage (Ushahidi). Films, too, are watched on mobiles in Afrika. The Afrinolly app provides mainstream African film-related content, Bozza provides user-generated videos and other African content.
Compared to 35mm, mobile technology can be used relatively cheaply to shoot, distribute and view the moving image. But Africa’s potential in digital film remains largely to be unlocked. However important a role Nollywood plays in African creative identity, Hollywood still dominates inside Africa, and African film reaches relatively few Western eyes – which is a great loss all round, considering the creative ability that exists there.
The future of Africa relies as much as any other continent’s on its ability to supply itself with its own culture and independent sources of information. What are the ways forward for African film creation, distribution, and viewing formats, both mainstream and user-generated? How can African film have an impact on the rest of the world, much as its music has already achieved?
To help answer these questions, we have organised a discussion session at this year’s Encounters festival, described below, and a panel session to take place at Afrikaeye in Bristol in November. We hope you will join us.
African Interactive: The Moving Image
A birds-of-a-feather session at Encounters short film and animation festival
Location: The Pervasive Media Studio (in the Watershed)
Date and time: Thursday 20th September, 17:00-19:00
This informal discussion session is for anyone interested in sharing their experiences and thoughts about the film industries in Africa, more specifically the opportunities presented by digital and mobile technologies for film-making, distribution and exhibition. This session is being held ahead of a workshop and panel session at Afrikaeye film festival in Bristol in November, which will have both physical and video participation from Africa and the UK, on the question of Where will digital take the African moving image, & where will African digital practice take the moving image in the rest of the world? The goal of both sessions is ultimately to create UK-African collaborations involving creatives from the moving image and technology sectors.