The need for global black stories that centre African perspectives could not be more urgent as the world reckons with the Black Lives Matter movement. In order for these African diasporic stories to take their rightful place on the global stage, there is a critical element missing – more skillful producers with access to international financing to birth these projects into reality and to counterbalance the wealth of untold stories and creatives stemming from the continent. In response Realness Institute is launching its second programmatic offering, Creative Producer Indaba.
This year-long professional producorial development programme was created in partnership with EAVE, International Film Festival Rotterdam’s IFFR Pro and Sundance Institute. Through plenary sessions, masterclasses, case studies and one-on-one meetings with assigned mentors, the selected participants will address topics such as project development and planning, project financing, PR and marketing, company strategic planning, leadership and advocacy. “The media landscape of Africa is swiftly changing and the importance of local producers that have the training to catalyse the growth of their local markets is paramount,” says Indaba African Group Leader and Realness Institute Co-Founder Mehret Mandefro. “Indaba will make sure African talent is well-positioned to capitalise on the opportunities their markets present and insure that the media sector can become an engine for economic growth and development across Africa.”
The first workshop will take place online from August 28 to September 11, 2020. “Indaba is a game-changer for producers on the continent who are interested in building their skills in international coproductions and financing and playing a role as eco-system builders in their market,” says Head of IFFR Pro Marit van den Elshout. IFFR Pro, hosts CineMart, the premiere co-production market in the world. “We are excited to work with the Realness Institute in partnership with EAVE and International Film Festival Rotterdam's IFFR Pro to support emerging African producers. Our participation is a great opportunity to listen and work together with our partners to consider new business practices that have the potential to impact financing and co-production structures between Africa, Europe and North America,” noted Matthew Takata, Senior Manager of the Sundance Institute International Feature Film Program.
Unlike other professional film training programmes, our selection criteria included the applicants' potential to impact their local market. The partners purposefully looked producers who are crafting careers that aim to contribute to the revolution of independent cinema that is brewing in Africa. A key goal of Indaba is to support African producers who will help build financial instruments for co-production where they do not currently exist and forge new models of financing that help usher in a new wave of African cinema. The Initiative's scope also includes producers from Europe and the United States interested in co-producing in Africa to help facilitate connections that deepen the access African producers have to international capital and existing funders.
The inaugural cohort of 17 participants is divided into two groups, those with projects and those who are focusing on career development. The 2020 participants with projects are the following producers:
- Oluwaseun Babalola – Founder; Producer; Director, DO Global Productions (Nigeria/Sierra Leone/United States)
- Yolanda Ncokotwana – Production and Development Manager, National Film and Video Foundation (South Africa)
In addition to training, Creative Producer Indaba aims to be a forum for rethinking business models for content creation in Africa and connecting producers with a community. “EAVE focuses on people over projects; mind over matter. The participants’ current projects and career or business issues are used as real-life case studies throughout the workshop cycle. As a result, projects and businesses are developed, yet our long-term success criteria are that participants become/remain successful professionals with distinct voices, who actively engage in sustaining, strengthening, and innovating audiovisual storytelling as well as the industry as a whole – regionally, nationally and internationally,” says CEO of EAVE Kristina Trapp. EAVE has been building networks of producers for over 30 years.
As part of the programme, the producers will also spend time exploring peership and laying the foundations for a continent-wide producers network. Establishing a strong community of producers on the continent is an outcome of the programme that will be a critical part of its sustainability and success.
Realness Institute would also like to thank its partners and volunteers, past and present, for their continued commitment developing cinematic talent in Africa.
Realness Institute presents Creative Producer Indaba in partnership with EAVE, International Film Festival Rotterdam’s IFFR Pro, Sundance Institute; with the support of DOC A, National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa, French Institute of South Africa and IEFTA.