California-based Focus Features, a division of NBC Universal, announced that it is launching an African film making program. The Africa First Program, spearheaded by producer Kisha Imani Cameron, will award 5 African filmmakers $10,000 in financing for post or production work on a narrative short that makes use of local African film industry resources. Filmmakers selected for the grants will retain the copyrights to their projects as well as artistic, budgetary and editorial control with support from a team at Focus. The winning filmmakers will retain global distribution rights to their shorts, excluding North America, which Focus will retain. Focus also holds the right of first negotiation to any productions derived from the shorts. Focus Features has produced and distributed award-winning films including Traffic, Gosford Park, The Pianist, Lost in Translation, The Constant Gardener, Brokeback Mountain, and Atonement. The company also produced the 2006 film Catch a Fire which was set if Apartheid-era South Africa.
Friday was the kickoff for Nigeria-based media company THISDAY’s 3rd annual festival titled “Africa Rising”. The star-studded THISDAY Music and Fashion Festival at the THISDAY Dome in Abuja, Nigeria featured performances by Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Usher. The fashion portion of the festival featured models Naomi Campbell, Tyson Beckford, Alek Wek, Oluchi, and designers Chris Aire and Ozwald Boateng. The annual festival which is “focus on finding ‘sustainable solutions’ rather than the ‘problems’ facing Africa”, will be making it’s international debut with stops in Washington DC’s Kennedy Center on August 1 with Beyoncé and Seal as headliners, and in London on October 14. THISDAY has some 700 staff members in 38 offices across Nigeria. It also maintains a bureau in Washington DC, from which it provides news on Africa to a variety of global news organisations and agencies across all platforms- from online to broadcast.
“Right now the international community seems to be dealing with the symptoms not the problems of Africa. The symptoms are poverty and disease, but the problem is lack of social and physical infrastructure. This initiative is to highlight the need to focus sustainable solutions on the problems through massive investment in infrastructure and microfinance in order to rebuild Africa from the ground up. Europe is what it is today because after World War II the ‘Marshall Plan’ took hold. It did not deal with poverty, it focused on rebuilding Europe.” – said media mogul Nduka Obaigbena, THISDAY’s Editor-in-Chief.
The “Africa Rising” event “tour” reflects a rapidly growing trend in the Africa-focused aid sector: African’s creating products with a sustainability focus targeted to both African and international consumers. I’m eager to see what the attendance numbers are for the UK and US events.
Throughout my years as an entrepreneur, I have had to conduct endless market research and have found a serious lack of information about the African market. Drawing on my experience as a marketer myself, I am developing a new website called AfriMonitor to aggregate important research and information about the growing African market. While I understand that the African market is still very young, I feel that to help it grow and to encourage more entrepreneurs to develop products to help it grow, a product like AfriMonitor is necessary. While I still write about African business and culture trends at Annans Chronicles, much of the in depth analysis of trends will be posted there on AfriMonitor. To read more about direction AfriMonitor will be developing towards in the next few months visit the About us page.
AfriMonitor.com serves as a market research portal for the Africa-focused global business audience. The website aggregates pertinent information about African business, consumers, economy, companies, and products, as well as information on African marketing and advertising trends. AfriMonitor provides an overview of African consumer and product markets so individuals, agencies, and corporations can discover new opportunities and make the right business decisions.
As part of the beta launch of AfriMonitor.com, we have put together a trend brief focusing on the growing China-Africa relationship. The brief,”Exploring ChinAfrica: Trends in China’s 21st century push into Africa” , touches on many of the key issues surrounding the topic. It is intended to serve as resource for anyone who is curious about China’s 21st century push into Africa. The brief is available as a free download and you can distribute it to whomever you feel could benefit from the information included. I’ve also put together an interactive timeline with key dates for those who want more information.
I am launching AfriMonitor as a beta for now to get some feedback and begin getting some information to those who can make use of it. We will be working hard in the next couple of months to get you much of the information which will make the site most useful, so check back often or better yet, subscribe to AfriMonitorâ€™s rss feed or sign up for automatic email updates. For now the News tabs currently contain aggregated content from all the major news engines and is updated many times a day. The news is broken up into three categories, All News, China-Africa news, and India-Africa news.
In the next few months weâ€™ll be adding more insights and reports from various sources including African marketing agencies and featuring interviews with newsmakers. Please let any advertisers or marketers with information about the African market know to contact me to get their reports featured on the website. While some of the reports and briefs will be free, others will be available for a fee. Weâ€™ll also be updating our Resources and Events sections soon. Please feel free to submit a resource or event for inclusion in our directory or just contact us with any comments/suggestions. AfriMonitor is a work in progress so your input is always welcome. I hope the website gets you the information you need to make the proper business decisions.China-Africa, Marketing