The “Berlinale Africa Hub” – a new EFM platform for innovation and technology in the African film industry

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Thanks to the support of the German Federal Foreign Office, for the first time the 2017 Berlinale will provide a platform for innovative projects and ideas from the African film industry. The “Berlinale Africa Hub” is an initiative of the European Film Market (EFM) in cooperation with the World Cinema Fund (and the special programme it created in 2016, WCF Africa, which promotes films from Sub-Saharan Africa with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office), with Berlinale Talents (and its sister programme Talents Durban, which supports talented African filmmakers throughout the year), and with the Berlinale Co-Production Market.

Berlinale-As Festival Director Dieter Kosslick says, “The Berlinale has long-standing relationships with numerous African filmmakers, and has fostered the film industry in Africa in a variety of ways. Now, due to the support of the German Federal Foreign Office, with the ‘Berlinale Africa Hub’ we can substantially intensify that commitment. The new platform at the European Film Market will bring the next generation of African filmmakers to Berlin and offer an international forum for current technology, ideas, and developments in the African film industry”.

EFM Director Matthijs Wouter Knol says, “Apart from functioning as a place for African2015_0017_img_fix_173x1731 filmmakers to meet up with the international film industry, the ‘Berlinale Africa Hub’ is focused first and foremost on changes in the industry triggered by innovations and technology. Numerous talented African filmmakers and creatives are increasingly using the newest technology to create their content, giving African audiences access to original African content”.

The “Berlinale Africa Hub” is a communication and networking platform for the African film industry and all EFM participants who want to know more about new distribution and marketing models, and virtual reality and 360° projects by African filmmakers and producers, about successful start-ups that are bringing audio-visual content to the African market, and about African VOD and SVOD platforms that have emerged in the last few years.

As part of the Hub, there will be networking events, featuring discussions of the most important issues in sales, distribution, marketing, project packaging, co-production, subsidies, and talent development in the African industry.

Among the participants and partners of the “Berlinale Africa Hub” are companies like the non-profit organization Electric South from Cape Town, the pan-African online platform Mokolo, Rushlake Media from Cologne, and the Goethe-Institut.

Electric South provides funding, mentoring, training, and start-up help for digital storytelling – for African audio-visual projects of any kind, from long or short films to documentaries, interactive productions, virtual reality, or mobile content.

The pan-African online platform Mokolo, headquartered in Lagos, is directed both at audiences and at professionals in the AV and IT industries. It offers distribution, information, and networking possibilities.

Cologne’s Rushlake Media (RLM) is a film sales and distribution company focused on digital content and the African market. RLM supports producers, rights holders and institutions with successful marketing strategies in the changing film distribution landscape.

The Goethe-Institut is the co-producer of Electric South’s virtual reality initiative New Dimensions, and was instrumental in launching the Mokolo web portal in 2011.

The “Berlinale Africa Hub” will be headquartered in Gropius Park, the new compound that surrounds the historical Martin Gropius Bau, the main venue for the EFM.

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(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

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