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‘Film industry must satisfy domestic market first’

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THERE is greater need for film industry stakeholders to constantly come together to brainstorm on ideas on how to harness the growing use of technology in the making and distribution of content, a Nigerian film industry guru has said.

Tapiwa Zivira,Online Reporter

Speaking at a Media Diversity Campaign workshop on Online Film and Television Distribution workshop held in Harare on Wednesday, chief executive officer of Nigerian mobile app company FansConnectOnline Chike Maduegbuna said: “The movie industry is very big and can become fragmented and bringing stakeholders together brings stability and synergies. There will not be too many associations duplicating the same form of work.”

The one-day workshop, which was co-sponsored by the embassies of Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, and partnered by Alpha Media Holdings’ publishers of NewsDay, Zimbabwe Independent, The Standard and Southern Eye among others, brought filmmakers, technology and media experts under one roof to discuss ways of effectively using the Internet in film production and distribution.

Turning to how Zimbabwe could follow the example of Nigeria’s popular Nollywood films, Maduegbuna said the country needed to first embrace its local audience before seeking the international stage.

“For Nigeria the storytelling was for our people first, but there is always a tendency to tell the story for others outside. The Nigerian industry grew because the stories were based on the local people’s experiences and that helped them acquire their local audience, which helped build the international audience,” Maduegbuna said.

Kenyan mobile film guru Kahenya Kamunyu said stakeholders must move from just “talking about issues into action in implementing strategies that enable film makers to get value out of their products”.

Kamunyu is currently working on optimising film content for mobile devices, targeting low and middle income earners in Kenya.

Zimbabwe’s acclaimed film star Stephen Chigorimbo said the country’s film industry was ready to embrace new media.

“The opportunity to make money out of films as presented by new media is massive. If we have millions of people on the internet in Zimbabwe who can download a movie for less than they buy in the streets, why would they buy in the streets?” Chigorimbo queried.

The former Studio 263 actor urged people in the film industry to understand their roles and value the power of partnerships.

Among the key notable people at the workshop were Zi-FM Stereo chief executive officer Susan Makore, film and theatre producer/director Daves Guzha, playwright and director Raisedon Baya and Culture Fund director Elvas Mari.

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