The Creative Producer Indaba is a year-long professional development programme for film producers offered by Realness Institute, in partnership with EAVE, International Film Festival Rotterdam’s IFFR Pro and the Sundance Institute.
This yearly fellowship, holding its second virtual workshop, is hosting 17 participants from Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Kenya, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, USA and Sierra Leon.
“At Indaba, we are not only training creative producers, but we are also training leaders that will help build the change they want to see in their local markets by equipping them with the skills and tools they need to sustain a career in film,”
said African group leader and Realness Institute co-founder Mehret Mandefro who moderated Indaba’s Opening Assembly that took place on Tuesday 1 June.
She hosted a conversation on leadership, one of the guests in conversation with Mandefro was Vanja Kalujercic, the festival director of International Film Festival in Rotterdam (IFFR), who spoke about the influence of Covid on IFFR and their partners:
“We believe that the disruptions Covid-19 has caused have created space and momentum for the industry at large including cultural institutions to reinvent themselves.”
The second guest during the opening assembly was Nkiru Balonwu, a strategic communication and stakeholder specialist from Nigeria and Creative Director of The Africa Soft Power Project, who spoke on how film can be used as an influential instrument:
“Films are the most powerful tool we have to reshape perceptions about Africa.”
The Creative Producer Indaba was created to provide professional training and hone the leadership skills of tenacious producers committed to telling African stories. In this spirit, this conversation is one of the highlights in the program as the guests discussed what it means to be a leader and how to best make the case for investing in the creative and cultural sector as a way of building a more prosperous future for Africa.
Through plenary sessions, masterclasses, case studies and one-on-one meetings with assigned mentors, the selected participants address project development and planning, project financing, PR and marketing, leadership and advocacy. Other highlights the participants attended included a marketing masterclass facilitated by the Executive Director of CinemaChile, Constanza Arena:
“Most producers are mostly focused on financing, dealing with the talents, directors requests and the scripts. They postpone the thinking of audiences for the post-production stage and that is something we want to change”.
Another highlight included an international sales masterclass facilitated by the head of Acquisitions at Memento Films International, Sata Cissokho and Naima Abed, who is the producer at Paradise City, an affiliate of Memento International.
Other film industry professionals that were hosting sessions were producer and co-founder of Banshee films, Delphine Jaquet, Jamaican-American producer and lawyer Rob Maylor and film producer Cait Pansegrouw. Jaquet will, among other sessions, presented a case study on the financing of the Ivory Coast Oscar-shortlisted Night of the Kings by Philippe Lacôte, which she produced. Pansegrouw presented a case study on the marketing of the award-winning Lesotho set drama This is not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese. The workshops continued until 10 June and the participants have also participated in group sessions, focused on their personal career growth.
In addition to providing professional training and career growth, Creative Producer Indaba aims to be a forum for rethinking business models for content creation in Africa, while also exploring more equitable frameworks for collaboration between the continent and the global North. As part of the program, the producers are also spending time exploring peership and laying the foundations for a continent-wide producer’s network.
“It has been an incredible experience to be able to truly fellowship with other producers, who are going to similar challenges. We have been sharing our stories and learning from different case studies that really inspired us to start thinking about innovative and creative approaches to financing, releasing, and distributing films.”
says participating producer Toni Kamau from Kenya and producer at We Are Not the Machine.
Establishing a solid community of producers in Africa is an outcome that will be a critical for the program’s sustainability and success, while also strengthening the African film industry at large. Creative Producer Indaba would not be possible without the support of A51 Pictures, Documentary Africa, International Emerging Film Talent Association, French Institute of South Africa, National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa and Urucu Media.