MultiChoice Talent Factory in West Africa: A Year of Empowering Creatives and Transforming the Industry

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Since its launch in 2018,  MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), a dynamic corporate shared value (CSV) initiative, has been at the forefront of imparting the technical skills needed for high-quality film production in Africa.

Yearly, the MTF West Africa Academy trains and graduates a new set of African storytellers, via a 12-month fully funded training programme that equips them to project the culture of African communities through their films and moves. Some of these young talents have gone on to produce movies and series, some of which aired on Africa Magic channels.

Like in any industry, partnerships are the strategic anchor of the programme, as they will provide the crucial and practical training ground for the chosen candidates to not only learn from but also use to conceptualize, plan and shoot their visual content, as part of the training curriculum. Partners such as the New York Film Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA), the Henley Business School and Dolby are among the strategic partners of the MTF Academy.

On December 14, MTF will graduate the class of 2023 at an elaborate ceremony in Lagos. This will cap another eventful year for MTF. Here is a review of MTF’s activity, impact and industry contribution in 2023:  

Masterclass with Stakeholders in Ghana: High-quality films and TV shows are however not as prevalent as they should be, which points to the fact that the level of technical skills, as well as the access to high-quality production tools and facilities among many Nigerian film and TV makers, is still a work in progress. In March 2023, MTF organised an enlightening masterclass in Ghana, bringing together key stakeholders from the Ghanaian film industry. This event showcased the commitment to nurturing local talent and fostering collaboration across borders. It was a platform for Ghanaian and Nigerian filmmakers to exchange ideas, further strengthening the ties between the Director’s Guild of Ghana and the Director’s Guild of Nigeria.

Alumni Success and Commissioning Discussions: Several alumni from the MultiChoice Talent Factory’s class of 2022 have garnered attention, with both Akwaaba Magic and Africa Magic engaging in discussions for potential commissions. The collaboration with Akwaaba Magic has already been successfully finalized, while ongoing negotiations with Africa Magic are in progress. The noteworthy aspect lies in the fact that these alumni, now at the helm of their respective production companies alongside fellow graduates, exemplify the enduring sustainability and expansion of the MTF ecosystem. This development underscores the collective impact and success achieved by the alumni as a cohesive group. “West Africa has a rich history of incredible storytelling, and this is beautifully translated into its film and TV industry. MTF’s main aim is to take this a step further by providing seasoned and emerging creatives in this industry with a world-class opportunity to hone their skills with some of the best teachers and organizations in this sector so that they can elevate their already incredible storytelling skills to meet world-class standards,” said Atinuke Babatunde, MTF Academy Director for West Africa.

Roundtable Discussion on Economic Empowerment in Nigeria: The impact of MTF as an economic empowerment platform took centre stage during a roundtable discussion organised by Business Africa Online in April 2023. Industry experts gathered to discuss how MTF is not just creating filmmakers but also contributing to the economic growth of Nigeria. This conversation highlighted MTF’s role in elevating the industry and empowering individuals to become entrepreneurs in the creative sector.

Panel Roundtable Discussion on the Future of Creatives: In May 2023, OYA Media, founded by the renowned Nigerian journalist Funmi Iyanda, organised a panel roundtable discussion. The focus was on the future of creatives in Nigeria, and MTF played a pivotal role in this conversation. The impact of MTF in nurturing and empowering the next generation of creatives was a significant highlight.

Industry Masterclass at the AMVCA: As part of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) activities, MTF conducted an industry masterclass in May 2023. This provided a platform for emerging talent to learn from industry veterans and sharpen their skills. It also emphasised MTF’s commitment to promoting excellence in African filmmaking.

 “Take Back The Night” Acquisition by Africa Magic: One remarkable success story involves Elvis Damptey, a current MTF student, who produced the short film “Take Back The Night” using his fellow students as the cast. This remarkable achievement led to discussions with Africa Magic for the acquisition of the film as filler content for their channels. This collaboration showcases MTF’s impact in providing real-world opportunities for emerging filmmakers.

Recognition in International Festivals: MTF students were a part of the production of three films that received nominations in different international festivals, highlighting the quality and potential of MTF talent. These achievements include films like “The Delectable Azeezah Sama,” “Dark Echoes,” and “Love from Bayelsa.” These accolades demonstrate MTF’s dedication to nurturing filmmakers who create content that resonates globally. 

The MTF’s impact is multiplying, as seen through the success of its alumni and its strategic partnerships. It is creating a ripple effect that will lead to a flourishing film and television industry in Africa. MultiChoice, through the MTF, is not just investing in local talent; it is investing in Africa’s future, one story at a time.

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