AS the MultiChoice Talent Factory initiative continues to have a positive impact on the film and television industry across Africa, more and more professionals already in the industry are recognising its worth and the potential it holds to increase the continental skills base and the amount of local content coming out of African countries.
Longstanding and acclaimed filmmaker and writer Tsitsi Dangarembga has praised the concept of skills development introduced by the three MultiChoice Talent Factory academies and has urged Zimbabwe’s aspiring filmmakers to seize the opportunities these academies have presented to them.
As part of the MTF project, training academies were established in 2018 by MultiChoice Africa, one each for West, East and Southern Africa, the latter hosting two Zimbabweans in 2018-19 and a further two in the current class, running from 2019 to 2020.
Dangarembga was invited to be an adjudicator for both classes, helping select the successful candidates from a large application list across the country.
“Being an adjudicator for the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy selection was a hugely exciting experience for me, as it allowed me to connect with the new generation of talent,” she said.
“It gave me the opportunity to encourage all the candidates in any way I could to focus on their strengths and I also recognised the opportunity it presents to help fill some of the gaps in the industry with this enterprising young talent.”
She feels it is important for Zimbabweans to get involved in this initiative, and indeed any initiative platformed by MultiChoice, which extends beyond the academies into two other pillars: the MTF online portal and MTF master classes run for professionals already in the industry.
“Zimbabwe is isolated at the moment and there could be a lot more happening in our film industry. The MulitChoice opportunities enable Zimbabweans to engage with peers regionally and continentally. Zimbabwe does not have a professional film school, and so the MultiChoice Talent Factory is an exceptional opportunity for aspiring professionals to obtain training in professional filmmaking skills.”
Ms Dangarembga said the main impact on Zimbabwe’s film and television production industry of the MultiChoice Talent Factory initiative was that of providing young Zimbabweans with something very definite to which to aspire.
“While the absence of meaningful funding for the content provider from either government or the private sector is a hindrance to development, Zimbabweans trained at the MTF will return to have their own impact on the industry through active production.”
Dangarembga, already regarded as a leading cultural personality in Zimbabwe, remains highly active and is at present presiding over a slate of six feature films set in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Germany. She is also working on a television series and is writing a novel that will appeal primarily to young adults.