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Cable News Network is an American basic cable and satellite television news channel owned by the Turner Broadcasting System, a division of Time Warner. CNN was founded in 1980 by American media proprietor Ted Turner as a 24-hour cable news channel.

CNN’s Inside Africa visits the shnit Cape Town film festival

On the latest episode of Inside Africa, CNN International meets some of South Africa’s most creative minds during the shnit Cape Town film festival. In addition to hearing from aspiring filmmakers using short films to tackle social issues in the country, the programme also meets acting legend John Kani.

The shnit Annual Film Festival is an international event with screenings in eight cities around the world. Sean Drummond, the founding festival manager of the Cape Town shnit speaks about this global reach, “What’s exciting is that a festival like that we have 35 South African films, each by very different filmmaking audiences, coming together and being challenged by cultures, people and knowledge that’s outside of themselves. So African stories in a global space. Changing the perception people have of the continent.”

Drummond also speaks about the origins of the festival. He tells CNN, “In the beginning, it was a vehicle to show our films, our friends films, and as we expanded the scope of the festival, we would seek out South African films every year and the idea was really to use it as a platform to bring the best of what’s happening in the world in short film into South Africa, to inspire and educate and to feel connected.”

Inside Africa meets the filmmakers who are using the festival to showcase their work. These include director Mzonke Maloney. Maloney’s films, like many others in the festival, are made on shoestring budgets and he works on commercial productions to fund these passion projects. He talks about using the medium of short film to tackle social issues, “It’s interesting to see over the past couple of years, the type of films that have been made and what people are doing. I think there’s a lot of impetus and sort of energy towards telling real stories, things that come from these environments in engaging the tension instead of avoiding evading and demand and trying to speak around it.”

Author and shnit jury member Lauren Beukes tells the programme about the opportunities the festival provides for aspiring filmmakers, “There’s not usually a way for people to kind of rise up the ranks to become directors, to become script writers. And to be able to get onto the international stage, which is why I think short film festivals are so empowered. Because it’s not a feature film, it’s not millions of rands, you know, you can actually get something put together and get it out there to an international audience and kind of hone your craft.”

Another member of the shnit jury is renowned South African actor John Kani. He talks about being asked to join the judging panel, “So when I got called to be part of the chair of the judges, it was incredible. I was so excited because it exposes you to where the new trends are, what young people think now, what the film industry in South Africa where it is going almost putting a finger on the pulse.”

Although Kani is best known for his theatre and movie work, he also has a deep appreciation for short film as a genre, “There are people who love to do the short film because it’s so challenging … it’s so compact, so focused, and that sort of hits you with a punch, and you take a breather and said, I’m watching the next one.”

The shnit Cape Town film festival is a key opportunity for filmmakers across South Africa. Drummond acknowledges the importance of the festival, “It feels like, maybe for the first time, African voices are owning African stories.”

Inside Africa airs on Friday, 24 January, at 18h30 SAST on CNN International

The show also airs at the following times:

Saturday, 25 January at 09h30 SAST, 14h00 SAST and 19h30 SAST

Sunday, 26 January at 00h30 SAST, 05h30 SAST, 12h30 SAST

Monday, 27 January at 05h00 SAST

Tuesday, 28 January at 09h30 SAST

CNN’s African Voices enters new era and extends partnership with Globacom

Having just celebrated a decade on CNN International, African Voices is entering a new era in its quest to profile outstanding individuals across the continent with a new name, a new host, a new format and a renewed multi-year partnership with long-term sponsor Globacom.

Experienced Nigerian TV presenter, Arit Okpo, is the new host of the show and will lead the programme with a fresh direction to focus on changemakers across Africa. Okpo has an excellent track record, having produced and presented content for EbonyLife TV and hosting the web talk show Untold Facts, produced by The Initiative for Equal Rights. As host of African Voices Changemakers, she will meet entertainers, creatives, athletes and members of the public who are trying to make a difference, finding ways to impact their communities and making cultural contributions.

In addition to airing on CNN International, African Voices Changemakers will also grow its digital footprint through a series of bespoke online videos with each guest from the show, housed on a dedicated destination on CNN Digital. There will also be a new feature produced specially for social media called My Drive, where personalities from the series will share memorable stories, explain what drives them and talk about their own life-changing moments.

Posted on the CNN Africa Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, My Drive will also be targeted to reach key audiences in North and West Africa using WarnerMedia’s Launchpad technology. Moreover, CNN International Commercial and Globacom are continuing their long-standing collaboration with a cross-platform campaign around African Voices Changemakers. As part of this campaign, Globacom will continue its sponsorship of the show and new digital features in a renewed multi-year commitment. New branding and logos for African Voices Changemakers will feature across the billboards for the programme and digital advertising.

Zara Driss, Account Director, CNN International Commercial, said: “We are thrilled to be increasing the longevity of our partnership with Globacom. We are proud to work with such a committed, long-standing sponsor of a show that shares our passion about the diverse culture of Africa. Together with Globacom, we look forward to this new era of African Voices and its TV and digital programming that will raise the profile of the continent’s changemakers amongst our international audience.”

Globacom’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Bisi Koleosho said, “CNN African Voices, sponsored by Globacom, afforded the continent the opportunity to project its stars to the world. We are proud to further deepen this association by continuing to showcase more continental gems to the world through this platform.”

CNN hears how Loyiso Madinga is bringing African comedy to worldwide audiences

On this week’s episode of African Voices, CNN meets entertainers who are taking their talents to international audiences.

In Johannesburg, the programme meets South African comedian Loyiso Madinga. Since launching his career in 2012, Madinga has gone from performing in local comedy clubs to TV screens all around the world, as the Africa Correspondent for the American current-affairs programme, The Daily Show.

Now following in the footsteps of fellow South African comic, Trevor Noah, Loyiso reflects on how the opportunity to work on the programme arose and why the show is increasingly looking towards the continent: “I got a call to audition for The Daily Show last year, because it never had an international correspondent. They are piloting this idea of creating content outside of America for the Americans and that’s daunting. It’s actually a very intimidating thing to do.”

CNN hears how Madinga credits the diverse nature of South Africa for broadening his brand of comedy for audiences around the world: “More than anything, as South Africans we are really versatile. South Africa is so multi-cultural, as a comedian, and as comedic writers, we learn to broaden the appeal of our jokes.… Before The Daily Show even happened, we were flexing that muscle to learn how to talk to an audience that knows nothing about you, which I have seen helps a lot.”

Madinga arrived in Johannesburg in 2005, originally to study advertising – before realising this wasn’t the right path for him and becoming more involved in South Africa’s ever-growing comedy circuit.

“The comedy scene in South Africa has become what djing was before,” Madinga explains to African Voices. “Now everyone wants to be a comedian. There are so many young comics coming on and the scene is growing so fast… The hustle is real, man. the hustle is real in Johannesburg. There aren’t as many gigs as in New York, obviously, but they are coming up.”

Looking to the future, Madinga, explains that his experiences at the start of his comedy career have ultimately led him to succeed today: “There is no bigger thrill than trying a joke out for the first time, and it works. It’s the closest thing to magic… I want to be the best version of myself in comedy. I want to look back and say: ‘I couldn’t have been better at that time.’”

Also featured in this week’s episode of African Voices, the programme reports from Lagos where it meets Nigerian singer and Nollywood actor Nonso Bassey, as well as travelling to Lusaka, Zambia, where CNN meets Mampi, who is using her music to help inspire women across the country.

African Voices airs on Friday 13 April at 11:30 SAST on CNN International. The show is sponsored by Globacom Limited.

African Voices also airs at the following times:

  • Saturday, 14 April at 07h00 SAST and 16h30 SAST
  • Sunday, 15 April at 00h30 SAST, 04h30 SAST and 20h00 EST
  • Monday, 16 April at 05h00 SAST
  • Tuesday, 17 April at 10h30 SAST

Download the promo, here.


CNNVR launches on Oculus Rift

CNNVR, a new virtual reality experience from CNN and Magnopus, launched on 15 March on Oculus Rift headsets.

CNN’s new Oculus app gives audiences the power to “go there” through a robust interactive experience comprised of CNN’s signature breaking news video and original 360° stories – providing a deeper sense of ‘connectedness’ with the news.

The first truly live VR news experience, the app positions the user as the “producer” of their own show, putting them at the center of their experience. Following a user tutorial voiced by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, users can choose “News” for the latest breaking video from CNN or “360” to transport into the best immersive original 360° video from CNN journalists around the globe, connecting you to the news like never before. The app launches with more than 100 virtual reality stories from dozens of countries, all delivered in 4K resolution with encoding by Pixvana.

The CNNVR app also includes a CNN ticker scroll and social integration with CNN’s Twitter accounts, so you can get up-to-the-minute breaking news alerts throughout your experience.


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