DISCOP Africa has chosen as its theme for 2014, “French-speaking Africa rises’,
with a special focus on Ivory Coast, which is this year’s official guest country at the
annual African content market.
French-speaking Africa is set to play a key role in the development of television
content production and distribution across Africa and thus forms the focus of
DISCOP Africa 2014. Betty Yengo, French Speaking Africa Research Manager at
Basic Lead, organisers of DISCOP, says: “We undertook to travel to most West
African countries in the last 12 months and the result is an unprecedented
attendance from French-speaking countries. We are indeed very proud to welcome
close to 300 participants from that part of Africa, with most of the top distributors,
networks and key industry stakeholders being represented.
Ivory Coast – Leading the way
Ivory Coast has been selected as DISCOP Africa 2014’s guest country. This West
African nation has committed to massive investment in the creative industries and
will actively seek co-production partners from the across the continent and globe.
In order to announce many of these new investment and development projects, the
Ivory Coast exhibition at DISCOP Africa has been organised in partnership with RTI,
Ivory Coast’s public broadcaster, ONACI, the country’s leading funding institution for
film and TV content, and the Ivorian government, particularly the departments of
culture and communications. The Minister of Communications, Mrs Affoussiata
Bamba-Lamine will attend personally and will be meeting with her counterparts in
the South African government. Ivory Coast sees South Africa as a role model for
developing a robust audiovisual industry and will be looking to create partnerships
and open channels of communication for future co-productions. A national pavilion
will be set up to ensure maximum visibility for Ivory Coast as an attractive regional
and international television content co-production partner.
The French group Canal+ launched its first exclusively African channel, A+ on 24
October just ahead of DISCOP Africa. The new 100% African channel enriches the
offering of CANALSAT Africa and is a reflection of the African continent in its range
and diversity. Put together by a Pan-African team, A+ will showcase the many
cultures of the continent. It is committed to supporting African productions and
developing the creative industries on the continent.
Francophone content revived and digitised
In another development for French-language content on the continent, Cote Ouest,
the leading African distributor, has partnered with L’Organisation de la Francophonie
(OIF) in a major project aimed at resuscitating over 3000 African documentaries,
films, series and short films. The digitisation of this content will include classic
productions such as Lat Dior (Alioune Badara Beye, 1990), F (Mahama Johnson
Traore, 1992) and A nous la vie (Dani Kouyate, 1998) among others.
Audiovisual content is a significant part of Africa’s cultural heritage and the project
aims to select the finest gems, identify the rights holders and to legally distribute
and promote these titles. The project will cover over 20 African countries over three
years, starting in 2014.
The digitisation programme is just a part of Cote Ouest’s broader strategy in regard
to the new digital TV landscape, as Bernard Azria, the company’s CEO explains: “For
too long African aufiovisual landscape has been dominated by very few giant
players. This time is over. The new opportunities brought by the switchover to
digital will give small but talented producers an opportunity to express themselves.
We think that this is and always will be our mission – to help promote independent,
emerging African talents.’
The ninth edition of DISCOP Africa will feature a conference agenda that includes
the third edition of DISCOPRO, a pitching, training and networking forum designed
to help independent producers carry their projects to completion; and “20 Years of
Television in Africa: What’s Next?’, a two-day summit that will examine the
challenges of developing a sustainable, homegrown digital television ecosystem
across the continent.
Organised by Basic Lead, a Los Angeles and Johannesburg-based event production
agency specialising in the entertainment industry, DISCOP Africa plays host to over
2000 exhibiting and non-exhibiting delegates from 70 countries, representing 1000+
companies. This year’s event welcomes all of the global and regional major players
driving television business and digital changes in Africa, including the largest
contingent ever of producers and distributors of African content.