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Nomad Africa Magazine - - Special Feature | Discop Africa - Words & Pho­tographs: ALESSANDRO PARODI

Dis­cop Africa is the main yearly event for the pro­fes­sional work­ers of Film and Tele­vi­sion on the con­ti­nent. The last gath­er­ing, held in South Africa, proved to be the stage of a pan-African cul­tural re­nais­sance. Com­pa­nies and pri­vate stake­hold­ers from the five con­ti­nents met and min­gled to pur­sue unique busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties and cel­e­brate the awak­en­ing of cin­ema and pop­u­lar cul­ture in Africa.

win-win co­op­er­a­tion is the key word of the 2016 Dis­cop gath­er­ing for the pro­fes­sion­als of Film and Tele­vi­sion in Africa. The busi­ness-to -busi­ness-based event was hosted in Abid­jan, Ivory Coast. Show­cas­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives from across the world, Dis­cop will be the per­fect stage for tele­vi­sion and pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies to surf the boom­ing in­dus­try of en­ter­tain­ment and information in Africa.

In­ter­na­tional par­tic­i­pants found in the con­ti­nen­tal mar­ket a fer­tile land for busi­ness. The pre­vi­ous edi­tion, that was or­ga­nized last Novem­ber in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa, put to­gether pro­duc­ers and cre­ative minds of the in­dus­try in an ef­fort to en­hance the artis­tic and busi­ness as­pects of the show busi­ness. With a con­stantly grow­ing base of view­ers and an ex­pand­ing net­work of broad­cast com­pa­nies, Africa is the per­fect ground for in­vest­ments and for the ex­port of au­dio­vi­sual prod­ucts. “Over the last two years,” said Christoph Lim­mer of Eu­tel­sat, “I’ve wit­nessed the high­est ever de­mand for broad­cast ser­vices in Africa”.

Low costs poli­cies and an abun­dance of unique sce­nar­ios for shoots have also caused an in­creas­ing pres­ence of ma­jor film pro­duc­tions on the African soil. The choice ul­ti­mately con­trib­uted to the growth of ex­per­tise of the lo­cal work­ers in the in­dus­try and to a broader fi­nan­cial in­flux in the lo­cal mar­ket. Among many block­busters filmed on the con­ti­nent, “Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ul­tron” (2014) fea­tures numer­ous scenes shot in Jo­han­nes­burg and Soweto (South Africa), and “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) was shot in South Africa and Namibia.

If Hol­ly­wood is cap­tur­ing Africa into the big screen, Bol­ly­wood and the Asian in­dus­try of en­ter­tain­ment are rapidly be­com­ing the top ex­porters of movies and tele­vi­sion for­mats on the con­ti­nent. South African DStv an­nounced the open­ing of three new chan­nels that will broad­cast In­dian movies and tele­vi­sion shows. China, guest coun­try of last year’s Dis­cop, was the sec­ond most rep­re­sented at the gath­er­ing, af­ter South Africa. Pre­sent­ing movies, doc­u­men­taries, TV for­mats and ra­dio shows, the Chi­nese pavil­ion buzzed with busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties on the prom­ise that the future of broad­cast in Africa will be un­der the wing of the Asian dragon. Euro­pean com­pa­nies are also pre­pared to re­ceive a share of the African Pan­dora box. France, tra­di­tion­ally bound to the West Coast by his­tor­i­cal, cul­tural and lin­guis­tic ties, was the most ac­tive Euro­pean coun­try at Dis­cop. The French Canal+ pre­sented its ex­pan­sion on the con­ti­nent through sports. “We have 1.5 mil­lion sub­scribers in Africa,” stated François De­planck, Direc­tor of Chan­nels and Con­tents for the com­pany, “and we host more than 50 chan­nels in 20 dif­fer­ent coun­tries.” The palimpsest of Canal+ of­fers na­tional and in­ter­na­tional foot­ball, bas­ket­ball, fight sports, rugby, ten­nis, F1 and golf, as well as in­de­pen­dent cin­ema and re­al­ity shows. “One of our most suc­cess­ful shows,” states De­planck, “is a com­pe­ti­tion be­tween hair­dressers in Kin­shasa.”

The rev­e­la­tion of Dis­cop is the in­crease in lo­cal trends. Com­bined with the co­op­er­a­tion of coun­tries of the likes of Nige­ria, Kenya, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Cameroon, the growth of African-based com­pa­nies and pro­duc­tions is im­pres­sive. Nadira Shakur, CoFounder of Nol­ly­wood Week Film

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