M-Net looks to the future as its academy initiative powers on


With its Magic in Motion corporate social investment initiative now entering its third year, M-Net has delivered on its promise to provide up-and-coming young storytellers with opportunities to hone their skills so that they can contribute to creating more compelling South African television programming.

Recently at a special event held in Johannesburg and hosted by Isibaya star Celeste Ntuli, the M-Net Magic in Motion Academy celebrated the graduation of its class of 2016 and welcomed its class of 2017. The company, whose 30-year commitment to local content creation has resulted in nearly 40 outstanding African channels broadcast across the continent, also confirmed the expansion of its Magic in Motion outreach. Backed by the generous support of the MultiChoice Enterprise Development Trust, M-Net is spearheading a remarkable R 2.7 million investment project whose beneficiaries (Themba Mfebe, Mbali Zulu and Aluta Qupa) are drawn from the Academy’s inaugural Class of 2015.

“We are absolutely delighted with this three-part success,’ says M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle. “To be able to further empower three Magic in Motion Academy alumni, to celebrate 19 outgoing graduates and to welcome thirteen new incoming interns speaks powerfully to the depth of talent we have in this country. M-Net is proud of each of these young people and is pleased that our partnerships with leading production companies and tertiary institutions have yielded such a rich vein of skill and creativity.’

Highlighting that the academy is inherently evolutionary in nature, Phahle also announced that going forward, interns would diversify the production output, a key part of the Academy year, using the skills they learn to create not just movies, but a four-part prime time mini-series as well!

Headed by acclaimed filmmaker Bobby Heaney, the Magic in Motion Academy was established to empower a new generation of film and TV professionals, equipping these rising stars with intensive practical experience to complement their theoretical tertiary education before they embark on their professional careers.

The Class of 2016, watched by guests including their families, keynote speaker Thabang Moleya, academic leaders, production company heavyweights and representatives of prominent industry organisations, were awarded a MICT Seta Accredited Certification from The Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking. This caps a year during which they worked on some of the country’s biggest shows and showcases including The Voice SA, Miss South Africa and the Cape Town Carnival among others. Additionally, they produced no fewer than four movies for broadcast on M-Net’s flagship Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161), bringing the overall produced to date to eight films in three years. With the MultiChoice Enterprise Development initiative set to deliver an additional three movies during which time the beneficiary alumni will be guided by Clive Morris Productions, the slate of original films produced by the Academy is increasing.

For Phahle this offers a tangible measurement of the Academy’s effectiveness. “By offering prime time broadcast space to productions pitched, written, cast, filmed and edited by the interns, we are able to directly correlate the impact of our 12-month work-readiness process with real-world broadcast. It allows the interns to understand their own power, to see directly the influence they can have.’


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