Date/time session Thursday May  12, 2017

10.00 -11.00 a.m

Session type Parallel Session
Moderator name Dr. Mona Mwakalinga, Head of Creative Arts Department, University of Dar es Salaam
Rapporteur name Angela Kilusungu, Audio-visual Programme Officer CDEA
Session Title Content Production for digital channels
Session Topic What guarantee funding mechanisms need to be put in place to mitigate the risk of investing in the broadcasting sector, with focus on content production and distribution in local, regional and international markets?
Venue Kivukoni Hall 1
Speakers Rapporteur: Angela Kilusungu, Audio-visual Programme Officer CDEA


Speaker: AmilShijvi, MD, Kijiweni Productions


Speaker:  John Riber, Media in Development International, Tanzania


Speaker:   Aaron Zziwa, Managing Director, Zarron Motion Pictures, Uganda


Speaker: Ms Dorothy Ghettuba, CEO., Spiel Works Media (Kenya)


1. Description of the session (max. 500 words or 1 page) – generic information including the nature of the speakers career work,  discussion in the session, main points made by each speaker and the key action points
For many years, the film sector in East Africa has been struggling to form structures in shaping contents, finding distribution mechanisms and the most important stage is secure ample funds for productions. This situation makes filmmakers to form alliances and networks that could share resources and information on important aspects such as funds and festivals within the region.  A tool such as East African Film Network- EAFN acts as the umbrella body that operates as a grassroots, country-based regional civil organization championing the socio-economic development and regional integration of the East African Community (EAC) partner states through the film sector,  EAFN has participated in many film fests raising awareness to film makers to explore opportunities of growth.

Some of the conversations going on in Kenya are taking Kenyan content to the next level while keeping in mind he business aspects of the film sectors. They should act as a trigger for the film sector in East Africa.

“The business aspect of filmmaking is very important as well and the lack of a fully constructed channel of film production – a conduit through which a film is made and eventually reaches the audience—is one of the biggest problems of filmmaking in the country,” (Alexandros Konstantaras,Slum Film Festival 2015)

“I believe that the film sector in the country should be put under the ministry of trade because the ministry under which it currently falls does little in the international marketing aspect which if embraced, could go a long way in improving the earnings in the film sector and hence contribute to its growth,” (Oliver Litondo. Slum Film Festival 2015)

In relation to content production for digital channels, the moderator Dr. Mona Mwakalinga began the session by providing a background about what Impact investment is and asked the speakers to show its relevance to digital content producers.

John Riber: (USA/TZ) Managing Director at Media for Development International Tanzania (MFDI-TZ).seeks to promote development through socially conscious programming in Tanzania and Africa at large. We produce film, video, television, radio serials and music, in Tanzania, for Tanzania, by Tanzanians. MFDI-TZ are the proprietors of Swahili wood productions Such as Chumo, Mdundiko,  Network and Sunshine and an award winning Television series Siri YA Mtungi that was done by Tanzanians under the training and funding from MFDI-TZ. John Riber is also a producer Of the Renowned Film NERIA (ZIM) that featured in a music icon Oliver Mtukudzi (tuku) and many other productions.

Key Point: John insisted on investing on quality content as a way to attract funding. He also praised Tanzania’s on Bongo movies and applauded their efforts even though there must be major upgrading of the content.

Dorothy Gettuba CEO of Spiel Works Media (Kenya), said  Spiel Works Media is a TV and digital media production company based in Kenya. We create, license and market content with a distinct African aesthetic. Our production catalogue focuses on lifestyle, culture and reality. We produce award winning Dramas, Telenovellas, Talk shows, Web series, Mobisode and Documentaries.

We deliver compelling content on a multi-platform that include TV, mobile, digital and audio packaged for the target audience in the pay, free and on-demand markets.

We recruit only the very best talent, Spiel work Media aims at being the global distributor of productions with African theme including digital television and film content in the pay, free and on-demand markets.


Key Points: Ms. Dorothy Gettuba believes the only way to fund a film is to have self-investing model by generating funds for film projects by engaging in distribution of own works to audiences, while keeping books of accounts well maintained  to attract mechanisms such as Angel investors can be used to produce and kick-start a content production business.

Aaron Zziwa (UG) – Managing Director  of Zarron Motion Pictures (Uganda) is and an award-winning film maker (director and a producer of Zarron Motion Pictures) with an experience of over 20+ productions and screenplays. He works to serve both the festivals and the Ugandan Market film lovers. Zziwa does a mush up of talents by combining the commercial films and Grants funding for his projects to produce content.

Key Point: His model is working with the downtown and uptown filmmakers to suit markets and attracts funding from organizations or investors. He also uses a self-funding model by collecting revenues from his commercial productions to fund his creative world class film productions.

Amil Shivji (Tz) – Managing Director, Kijiweni Productions, is an award winning producer at Kijiweni Productions . Kijiweni Production aims at building an independent, self-sustainable industry that is committed to the social liberation of the African continent.

Key Point: Amil’s strong belief is on the grant or donor money and he has proven that the funding comes with limitations yet there is a room for a film maker to maintain the creative rights for the content produced. His pride lies on his production AISHA where he was only a contracted producer and yet can take the film places such as festivals. He also believes grants are a source of quality productions.




2. What were the government perspectives on the issue of impact investment in the film industry with respect to content production for digital channels in East Africa? (max. 250 words or ½ page) (provided by speakers or the audience)
There was no Government Input for this session, however there is a film policy being developed in Tanzania which hopefully will capture necessary areas for impact investment for the sector by highlighting the necessary aspects to be considered when investing in the Tanzanian film sector.


3. Examples of experiences, programmes or resources out there that can contribute to improving the film industry ecosystem in East Africa with respect to content production for digital channels(provided by speakers or the audience)
1.    Collaboration/ Co-production – all film makers agreed on the working together aspect in film making and content generation within the region. Crossing boundaries can only be possible if filmmakers from all over East Africa could come together and join stories and doing a co-production. Another example that was mentioned was of Kanumba and how he managed to collaborate with the Western Africa.


2.    DSTV/ Multi choice and other Digital channels for distribution. There is a big content need in the erupted digital television in East Africa. All the Film makers should consider carefully on the contacts that are provided by digital channels. Ms Dorothy Gettuba explained how she was able to sign good contracts that benefitted her creative content and financed her Media Company. She advised a “Pay at a Go” for the productions in contract and keeping trust to deliver all


3.    Festivals and competitions: film makers should research for the festivals around they should make sure they produce quality films. This should provide an opportunity to be competitive in terms of nominations. Prices are to be won. That could be used as investment for the future films. An Example of How Amil shivji he was able to produce his film ‘Samaki Mchangani’ after his film Shoe Shine winning cash prize from festivals worldwide.




4. Challenges or obstacles to impact investment and other funding opportunities in the  film industry with respect to content production for digital channels in East Africa identified by speakers or the audience (max. 5 points)
Investor apathy. A point raised by Ms. Dorothy Gettuba is financial Institutions like banks do not want to invest in creative content production since they see no value in terms of returns from creatives. This challenge is generated by a major challenge in distribution. Thus, to be relevant on top of her game she highly urged that filmmakers should take a role in distribution as a way to making sure they are able to track revenues and build strong cases for financial Institutions.

Poor Returns patterns. Most filmmakers have proven failure in tracking returns thus cannot be able show exactly what their returns are such records are vital to an investor. This situation raises risks because film makers like other creatives depend most on creativity rather than business aspect of their work

Distributor Dependency. problem raises when a film makers runs to a distributor who in turns become an investor/ funder for the films. This is a vivid example of a situation in Tanzania where most film makers depend on a certain distributor to funding for their film project  without exploring other funding options.


5. Examples of opportunities for impact investment other funding opportunities in the film industry with respect to content production for digital channels in East Africa identified by speakers or the audience (max. 5 points)
Angel Investors are one of the primary source investments (Family,friends) they are the people to believe in you and should see you live your dream. Film makers should be able to click start. No one will invest in you until you are able to give a pilot.

Donor Funding/Grants– Projects done can be of good quality since most of them have thematic concentrations on the set and a well-structured funds distribution for the production. A good case Kijiweni Productions.

Thematic Distributions channels are a source of funding for film projects especially documentaries. here simply because. An example of National Geographic’s channel will invest in some film productions simply by featuring in elements that match their thematic area.

Direct sells through an agent. This works for the down town film makers- for the case of Uganda however challenge comes on books of account. It’s a risk taking action.

Launches and premiers and box offices– a partnership with a few sponsors to launch a film to people can raise funds and have a few returns on production ticket sales and cinema entrances fees also help in funding returns to the film makers.

Brand visibility sponsorship– approaching products investment can generate income for a production depending on the contacts entered with the partners.

Festival competitions– there are usually prizes to be won in the competitions that could boost up the production of the nest film. (a Case of Kijiweni Production)

6. Recommendations for action required to impact investment other funding opportunities  in the  film industry with respect to content production for digital channels in East Africa (max 5 points in priority order)
-The film makers in the panel stressed the need for collaborations and co-productions. There should be chances for more filmmakers to work together in projects to increase the credibility of their film project. The two could invest to make a quality content that can sell and share the returns in a win-win situation. This aspect also opens up audiences to both filmmakers. If a collaboration is of Tanzania and Uganda the film could sell in both countries and will be known by audiences from these two countries.

Value chain designation and Personal Investment. Ms Dorothy insisted on the act of filmmakers taking part in investing for their own productions. She gave an example of how Spiel Works Media is taking a step to building a Netflix like channel for her own productions on subscription basis. She will use the returns for her next productions.

Keep strategic partnerships film makers must be able to secure partnerships with other players in the sector such as make-up artists, costume designers and sponsors to acquire smooth production. Since such partnerships could be a source of money saving if having limited source of funding for the productions, the film makers also should secure venues and cinemas if available in their areas for premiers and box office run down of their films.



7. Keywords
–       Distribution -is the most important aspect-

–       Bongo movies is a good thing it needs to be nurtured

–       Media manage productions -so as to improve quality of content of the bongo movies

–       Angel Investors- friends and family to invest funds in the production

–       Research-film makers should get to know more about investments

–       Determination-  one has to go all way to make good films

–       Collaborations- strategic partnerships formed to enhance production and secure distributions.

–       Video On demand- User selected content that Is usually bought on subscription.

8.Key quotes
“Don’t produce for yourself, do it for your audience” Dorothy Gettuba

-“Newbie film makers, You have to kickstart” Johb Riber

-“There is no shortcut for new film makers” Dorothy Gettuba

“We need the systems to nurture passions for economics” Aaron Zziwa

I think the most exciting thing that happened in Tanzania is Bongo movies”. John Riber

“I went to my angel investor and asked my parents for some amount of money the next thing I know I have 4000$ that’s when I knew I needed to shoot a pilot for people to see my potential” Dorothy Gettuba

“I always believe in grants systems for category productions” Amil Shivji

“We need to make film making creativity financially viable or our kids will be told the same thing I was told not to be a film maker’ Dorothy Gettuba.


9. Any other comments from the audience and response from Speaker/Moderator?
 A general concern that concluded the conversation is that artists should follow up on the legal partnership/s for artists in order for them to be aware of their rights when signing contracts. This will enable them to know for sure when their creativity is jeopardized or not by the investors or distributors.

The panelists agreed on nurturing the Bongo movies (in Tanzania) without condemning them because they play a part in populating the films in the streets and those independent film makers can find a way to collaborate and partner with them because with them as partners means adequate market for their films.