Expectations from MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy

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Students of the recently launched West African regional MultiChoice Talent Academy disclose their expectations to Benneth Oghifo

With their broad smiles, occasionally growing into hearty laughter, and wide-eyed excitement, they could be taken for jackpot winners. It could not have been otherwise. The opportunity with which they have been presented is a jackpot of some sort, better even. Twenty of them, comprising sixteen young Nigerians and four Ghanaians, chuckled non-stop as they waited to be unveiled on 8 October as the first first batch of students admitted into the West African regional academy of the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Project, a continent-wide initiative conceived to find and equip the next generation of African film and television professionals with skills required to tell authentic African stories through a comprehensive curriculum comprising theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience in cinematography, editing, audio production and storytelling.

The MTF Academies, three in number, are a major component of the MTF initiative. The two others are located in Nairobi, Kenya (for the East African region), and Lusaka, Zambia (for the Southern African region).

Each of the three regional academies has admitted 20 students, who are currently undergoing a fully funded one-year academic and practical training programme. While at the academy, headed by local industry experts and working with creative organizations, regulatory as well as government bodies, the students will be provided education in all aspects of film and television production to enable them launch successful careers in the creative industry. Each of the students waiting to be unveiled at the MultiChoice office in Lagos knew he or she had scaled a major hurdle on the road to professional renown.

Across Africa, there were over 3,000 applications for 60 available slots, a testament to the stiffness of the competition for places. The importance of the occasion was reflected by the high-profile guests it attracted. In attendance were Dr. Ziblim Iddi, Ghana’s Deputy  Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture; Mr. Steve Ayorinde, Lagos State Commissioner for Arts, Tourism and Culture; and Mr. John Ugbe, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, among others.

Speaking at the occasion, Ayorinde said the students should consider themselves lucky for the opportunity they have and urged them to make good use of it, as the much is expected of them. “What MultiChoice did deserves huge commendation and these 20 students should consider themselves lucky. They need to acknowledge the fact that stakeholders in the entertainment industry in Nigeria and across the continent expect a lot from them and the students on their part should make good use of this opportunity given to them,” he said.

The Ghanaian Deputy Minister for Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture spoke in similar vein. He described the opportunity the students have been given as “life changing” and advised the students to be committed to learning. Dr. Iddi also commended MultiChoice for initiating the MTF Project.

Explaining the decision to commit resources to the Project, Ugbe, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe, said it was borne out of the need to nurture and polish the raw film and television talents that abound in Africa, adding that the MTF Academy will provide the ambience for students to acquire the skills required to produce top-tier movie and television content and learn the business of filmmaking.

“The film and television industry is the pioneer of creative industries in Africa and is particularly relevant as a tool for shaping the African narrative. We have been telling authentic and well-produced stories that only Africans themselves can tell. Nevertheless, there is a lot of raw talent that need to be nurtured and polished. The Academy will give such talent the opportunity to hone their skills, thereby increasing the pool of world-class talent within the industry. It’s also about teaching the selected candidates the business of film and television,” he said.

In addition to learning, the Academy will also provide students the opportunity of networking with established industry professionals. Femi Odugbemi, an accomplished professional and Director of the West African regional Academy said the students are being prepared to assume key roles in Africa’s film and television industry.

“The talented creatives that will go through the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy will be primed as key players in the growth and sustainability of Africa’s creative film and television industry. As Academy Director, I will be preparing these candidates as future business owners who will in turn, play their own part in building the economy around the industry. It’s time that we not only reap the rewards of high-end quality TV and film products, but we also equally benefit from the investments behind the lens,” he reasoned.

The students’ hopes and expectations are in tandem with the objectives for which MultiChoice established the Academy. Adeniyi “Taj” Joseph, a 26-year old Nigerian cinematographer, believes that the biggest challenge of the African film and television industry is paucity of technical skills, a situation he believes that the Academy will remedy. Joseph stated that he expects to learn a lot about the process and business of filmmaking at the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Academy.

For Blessing Bulus, who had wanted to be a filmmaker since childhood, her ambition is to learn about filmmaking beyond being behind the camera. She also hopes to become a filmmaker that creates jobs, following in the footsteps of industry giants such as Odugbemi, Niyi Akinmolayan and Kemi Adetiba.

Dumevi Irene Yaamaokoa, a 25-year old television director from Ghana, is persuaded that the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy is an incubator of world-class talents. She predicted that over the next decade Africa’s creative talents will be competing with their global counterparts in terms of skills, finance and technology. She also hopes to learn new skills from her colleagues.

Indogesit Peter, a 22-year old Nigerian writer, is hoping that his period in the Academy will assist him take the opportunity provided by digitalization to tell quality stories that will preserve African heritage and ensure global acceptance of African culture.

For Kemi Adeyemi, her target at the Academy is the improvement of her film production, scriptwriting and directing skills. This, she believes, will bridge the gap between talent and profitability. Nigerian student, Salma Saliu, is hoping to become a filmmaker or TV presenter. The Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies graduate hopes to create a fantasy-based TV show, as she believes that the genre has not been sufficiently explored. She is convinced that the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy will provide him with adequate training in scriptwriting and directing to ensure she is able to better translate her ideas from paper to screen.

“African creatives,” she said, “are bolder with their ideas now. Nothing is off the table and I want to be part of that,” she said enthusiastically.

Equally thrilled is Metong Miniwon, a Nigerian sound engineer in the Academy. Miniwon, who wants to create a TV show that highlights the challenges faced by film and television production crews, is impressed by the determination of Africans in film and television to showcase the continent’s rich cultural heritage to the world.  He believes that the future of film and TV in Africa will be made brighter by the MTF Academy, where he hopes to gain more experience and network with filmmakers across Africa. The expectations of Mnena Akpera, a Nigerian radio/television producer and presenter, are no different. She is convinced that the future of the African creative industry has just got better with the MultiChoice Talent Factory project, which he believes will provide participants with professionalism in content delivery.

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Expectations from MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy

Students of the recently launched West African regional MultiChoice Talent Academy disclose their expectations to Benneth Oghifo

W

ith their broad smiles, occasionally growing into hearty laughter, and wide-eyed excitement, they could be taken for jackpot winners. It could not have been otherwise. The opportunity with which they have been presented is a jackpot of some sort, better even. Twenty of them, comprising sixteen young Nigerians and four Ghanaians, chuckled non-stop as they waited to be unveiled on 8 October as the first first batch of students admitted into the West African regional academy of the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Project, a continent-wide initiative conceived to find and equip the next generation of African film and television professionals with skills required to tell authentic African stories through a comprehensive curriculum comprising theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience in cinematography, editing, audio production and storytelling.

The MTF Academies, three in number, are a major component of the MTF initiative. The two others are located in Nairobi, Kenya (for the East African region), and Lusaka, Zambia (for the Southern African region).

Each of the three regional academies has admitted 20 students, who are currently undergoing a fully funded one-year academic and practical training programme. While at the academy, headed by local industry experts and working with creative organizations, regulatory as well as government bodies, the students will be provided education in all aspects of film and television production to enable them launch successful careers in the creative industry. Each of the students waiting to be unveiled at the MultiChoice office in Lagos knew he or she had scaled a major hurdle on the road to professional renown.

Across Africa, there were over 3,000 applications for 60 available slots, a testament to the stiffness of the competition for places. The importance of the occasion was reflected by the high-profile guests it attracted. In attendance were Dr. Ziblim Iddi, Ghana’s Deputy  Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture; Mr. Steve Ayorinde, Lagos State Commissioner for Arts, Tourism and Culture; and Mr. John Ugbe, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, among others.

Speaking at the occasion, Ayorinde said the students should consider themselves lucky for the opportunity they have and urged them to make good use of it, as the much is expected of them. “What MultiChoice did deserves huge commendation and these 20 students should consider themselves lucky. They need to acknowledge the fact that stakeholders in the entertainment industry in Nigeria and across the continent expect a lot from them and the students on their part should make good use of this opportunity given to them,” he said.

The Ghanaian Deputy Minister for Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture spoke in similar vein. He described the opportunity the students have been given as “life changing” and advised the students to be committed to learning. Dr. Iddi also commended MultiChoice for initiating the MTF Project.

Explaining the decision to commit resources to the Project, Ugbe, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe, said it was borne out of the need to nurture and polish the raw film and television talents that abound in Africa, adding that the MTF Academy will provide the ambience for students to acquire the skills required to produce top-tier movie and television content and learn the business of filmmaking.

“The film and television industry is the pioneer of creative industries in Africa and is particularly relevant as a tool for shaping the African narrative. We have been telling authentic and well-produced stories that only Africans themselves can tell. Nevertheless, there is a lot of raw talent that need to be nurtured and polished. The Academy will give such talent the opportunity to hone their skills, thereby increasing the pool of world-class talent within the industry. It’s also about teaching the selected candidates the business of film and television,” he said.

In addition to learning, the Academy will also provide students the opportunity of networking with established industry professionals. Femi Odugbemi, an accomplished professional and Director of the West African regional Academy said the students are being prepared to assume key roles in Africa’s film and television industry.

“The talented creatives that will go through the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy will be primed as key players in the growth and sustainability of Africa’s creative film and television industry. As Academy Director, I will be preparing these candidates as future business owners who will in turn, play their own part in building the economy around the industry. It’s time that we not only reap the rewards of high-end quality TV and film products, but we also equally benefit from the investments behind the lens,” he reasoned.

The students’ hopes and expectations are in tandem with the objectives for which MultiChoice established the Academy. Adeniyi “Taj” Joseph, a 26-year old Nigerian cinematographer, believes that the biggest challenge of the African film and television industry is paucity of technical skills, a situation he believes that the Academy will remedy. Joseph stated that he expects to learn a lot about the process and business of filmmaking at the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Academy.

For Blessing Bulus, who had wanted to be a filmmaker since childhood, her ambition is to learn about filmmaking beyond being behind the camera. She also hopes to become a filmmaker that creates jobs, following in the footsteps of industry giants such as Odugbemi, Niyi Akinmolayan and Kemi Adetiba.

Dumevi Irene Yaamaokoa, a 25-year old television director from Ghana, is persuaded that the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy is an incubator of world-class talents. She predicted that over the next decade Africa’s creative talents will be competing with their global counterparts in terms of skills, finance and technology. She also hopes to learn new skills from her colleagues.

Indogesit Peter, a 22-year old Nigerian writer, is hoping that his period in the Academy will assist him take the opportunity provided by digitalization to tell quality stories that will preserve African heritage and ensure global acceptance of African culture.

For Kemi Adeyemi, her target at the Academy is the improvement of her film production, scriptwriting and directing skills. This, she believes, will bridge the gap between talent and profitability. Nigerian student, Salma Saliu, is hoping to become a filmmaker or TV presenter. The Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies graduate hopes to create a fantasy-based TV show, as she believes that the genre has not been sufficiently explored. She is convinced that the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy will provide him with adequate training in scriptwriting and directing to ensure she is able to better translate her ideas from paper to screen.

“African creatives,” she said, “are bolder with their ideas now. Nothing is off the table and I want to be part of that,” she said enthusiastically.

Equally thrilled is Metong Miniwon, a Nigerian sound engineer in the Academy. Miniwon, who wants to create a TV show that highlights the challenges faced by film and television production crews, is impressed by the determination of Africans in film and television to showcase the continent’s rich cultural heritage to the world.  He believes that the future of film and TV in Africa will be made brighter by the MTF Academy, where he hopes to gain more experience and network with filmmakers across Africa. The expectations of Mnena Akpera, a Nigerian radio/television producer and presenter, are no different. She is convinced that the future of the African creative industry has just got better with the MultiChoice Talent Factory project, which he believes will provide participants with professionalism in content delivery.