×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

African filmmakers search for distribution

Many hope digitial model will help

While the success of Chad’s Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s “A Screaming Man” as Cannes jury prizewinner and the revitalized South African film biz have raised the continent’s profile, African filmmakers are still struggling to resolve the distribution woes that plague the continent’s fledgling industries. They’re hoping the arrival of digital distribution can help expand audiences for African films from outside South Africa, such as the output from Nigeria, known as Nollywood.

Kunle Afolayan, helmer of the Nollywood smash “The Figurine,” sums up the dilemma facing African filmmakers today.

“A lot of these films cannot get into the international film circle,” he says. “And if you’re not in the international scene, then you’re not (considered to be) a filmmaker.”

Industry execs say low production values, weak screenplays and the lack of a consistent marketing strategy have hampered the ability of many African films to compete in the wider marketplace.

“The glaring problem is the fact that content creators do not plan to market their films (from the start),” says Mike Dearham, head of sales and acquisitions for South African network M-Net. “Very little research is done …in terms of market research, and who they are making the film for.”

Trushna Buddhev Patel, general manager for Pan-African Film Distributors, says that low-budget, locally produced films fail to attract auds in theaters when competing with big-budget American titles, making it difficult to secure screen space.

Nigerian filmmakers have long responded to the B.O. challenge by focusing on straight-to-DVD sales. But Dearham says that digital technology will further transform the distribution chain in the coming years.

“Digital allows us to transport content and get buyers interested in that content in a more direct way than previously,” he says. “Producers can be their own sales agents and their own distributors because of this ability to reach the buyer directly. And that’s a huge plus for African content creators.”

In the meantime, he says, African governments need to strengthen existing frameworks and boost regional cooperation.

“We should insure that film and television and digital content growth strategies are aligned,” he says, “so that one country is not doing something in competition (with another). Our strength lies in a collective response.”

More Digital

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • crunchyroll logo

    Crunchyroll Raises Subscription Price to $7.99

    AT&T-owned anime subscription video service Crunchyroll is raising its monthly subscription price from $6.95 to $7.99 a month, it announced in an email to members Friday. It’s the service’s first price increase ever, according to a spokesperson. The new pricing will go into effect on May 1 for new subscribers, while existing members will see [...]

  • StyleHaul

    StyleHaul Shuts Down U.S. Operations, Lays Off About 65 Employees

    The axe is falling on StyleHaul: The fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media and marketing company owned by RTL Group is shuttering U.S. operations, resulting the layoff of around 65 employees. StyleHaul offices in L.A., with about 55 employees, and in New York City, with around 10 staffers, are closing. RTL said StyleHaul’s U.K. operations, [...]

  • Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown, a leading platform for letting music fans know about upcoming concerts by their favorite artists, has acquired Hypebot, a news site publishing stories about the music industry and technology, and its sister site MusicThinkTank. “I’m proud to share that Hypebot and MusicThinkTank have been acquired by Bandsintown,” wrote Bruce Houghton, the founder of the [...]

  • Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’

    Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’ Is Future of VR

    As virtual reality becomes more and more available, many developers are looking for new frontiers to expand the experiences offered by the tech. For Netherlands-based Vertigo Games, that next frontier is what they call “location-based virtual reality.” It’s essentially high-quality VR experiences where players aren’t tethered to a PC or even to the confines of [...]

  • GDC 2019: Google's Play For Gaming

    GDC 2019: Google's Play for Gaming Ubiquity, Rise of Ray Tracing, Store Wars

    The Game Developers Conference finished up Friday evening, wrapping one of the most exciting GDCs in recent memory with Google’s splashy entrance into AAA video gaming, the emergence of real-time ray tracing as a compelling technology for film, TV, and games, and the growing war between two global estore powerhouses: Valve’s Steam and the Epic [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content