West Africa features quite strongly in this issue, with a Ghanaian short film, two
Nigerian trailblazers and an Ivorian auteur making up some of our lead features.
The steady growth and improving output of this region is an inspiration to those of
us working elsewhere on the continent. Across the countries on the northwest
Atlantic coast among these three nations in particular we see an ever-expanding
distribution network on several platforms, including television, cinema, home video
and mobile, as well as an industry that is fairly consistently lucrative and boasts a
growing crop of talent. All of this takes place in an environment with little or no
government intervention. While one must acknowledge the influence of foreign
investment (particularly from France) in the growth of the Ivorian industry, Ghana
and especially Nigeria have built their movie businesses from nothing and (mostly)
without state or external support.
Looking farther afield, we examine the domestic success of the South Korean film
industry, where locally-made films routinely trounce Hollywood blockbusters at the
box office. Seeing these success stories, even fully aware that South Africa, Kenya
and other territories in Africa are producing a lot of great work, I am left thinking
that most of Africas filmmakers must be missing something. In South Africa we are
still too reliant on state funding and at the mercy of a handful of major television
broadcasters and still habitually producing films that play to empty houses and
make no money. We are all looking for answers and yet possibly asking the wrong
We need only look at the astonishing success (by South African box office
standards) of Happiness is a Four Letter Word to show that perhaps our
assumptions regarding cinema audiences have been off target. This was
foreshadowed last year with the success of Tell Me Sweet Something. Long-held
beliefs about unreachable demographics making cinematic success all but
impossible for local productions are blown out of the water by these two films.
Perhaps the tide is turning for South Africas filmmakers.
On the technological front, NABShow 2016 is almost upon us and this years trends
in broadcast technology will soon be revealed. 4K remains on the agenda, with HDR
undergoing further refinements but it seems that the flavour of the year, starting
with NABShow and continuing through the remainder of the upcoming technology
shows, is likely to be virtual reality. The creation of interactive, immersive
entertainment, while it has been on the horizon for several years, appears set to
top the agenda for the foreseeable future.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the issue and, as always, please do send any comments,
queries or suggestions to me at email@example.com
Bye for now.
And a new year begins! And so a new year begins! We start off 2016 with an issue that offers a fairly mixed bag of