Blantyre, Malawi, 23rd November 2023: A new group of talented TV and film professionals has entered the local entertainment industry, as the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) class of 2023 graduated from the Southern Africa MTF Academy in Lusaka, Zambia.
MTF is a shared value training programme launched by MultiChoice to develop the next generation of African storytellers. Since its inception, it continues to train the next wave of African filmmakers in response to the increasing need for more quality local African productions across the continent.
The MTF Southern Africa academy class graduated on 17 November 2023, after a 12-month intensive programme inclusive of practical and in-class theoretical curriculum accredited by the University of Zambia. The graduation celebrated the talent and hard work of 19 students across six countries in the Southern region, who have put in many hours of honing their skills and expanding their knowledge and networks in the industry.
During the academic year, the graduates were also given a chance to further their career development through practical attachments with the various industry leading MultiChoice productions such as Zuba, Mpali and 10 Tamanga Street.
“I thank this year’s MTF graduates for their dedication and commitment to the course,” says MTF Southern Africa Academy Director Christopher Puta. “I also look forward to seeing the work they go on to produce as they further their careers in the industry. During the programme, they have shown incredible talent. Now it is time for them to go out and apply that talent, for the benefit of the entertainment industry in Southern African, and across the continent.”
The recent cohorts of MTF Southern Academy graduates have spent the past 12 months on the programme, gaining practical skills in screenwriting, editing, producing and directing. Skills are learned through training, study and practical projects such as short films, TV adverts, mini documentaries and music videos.
The curriculum includes workshops, lectures, masterclasses and assignments, and the final stage of the course sees students developing feature films for broadcast on MultiChoice local channels and Showmax.
Having now produced its fourth cohort of graduates, MTF has proven that the African entertainment industry is bursting with talent. Its partnerships with renowned organisations such as the New York Film Academy, Lights, Camera, Diaspora!, Zee World Channel and the University of Zambia have also established MTF as a premier provider of media and technology training in Africa.
“For aspiring filmmakers, the MTF Academy is now acknowledged as a great path to a career in the African entertainment sector,” says MultiChoice Southern Africa Regional Director Kemi Omotosho. “For the industry, it now functions as a production line of talent and creativity, producing passionate, motivated young people with a set of skills that our sector needs to produce high-quality African content for African audiences.”
Omotosho said the MTF Southern Africa academy in Lusaka was playing an important role in directly developing the industry in the region, ensuring it was sustainable, and providing a pipeline of talent for local productions.
MTF alumni have already gone on to work on several successful productions in markets across the continent. MTF graduates are working as directors, producers, sound designers, camera operators, art directors and editors on major African productions including Mpali, Zuba, My Horror Love Story and various productions on Channels such as Zambezi Magic, One Zed, Honey TV , Kwenda Magic and Maningue Magic.
Other alumni are even working further afield on international productions. Some are furthering their studies at institutions like the New York Film Academy (NYFA), or as part of the Mandela Washington fellowship programme.
In late 2023, MTF Southern graduate Victor Lushinjilo Kasanga was sponsored to attend an eight-week programme at the prestigious New York Film Academy (NYFA), where he achieved an A grade. He has gone on to establish Grey Room Studios, an audio post-production studio in Lusaka, which was contracted to work on Night of Laughter Season 2 on Zambezi Magic.
Beyond the Academy, MTF also works to empower the industry in other ways. MTF has taken an active role in the Zambia Filmmakers Guild as well as the development and formation of the Zambia National Film Commission.
The academy has also recently launched the ‘Expansion Program’ aimed at expanding its skills development offering to practical, industry expert-led skills workshops outside of its academies. This affords local broadcasters as well as film and television professionals the opportunity to learn and upskill their filmmaking abilities.
Earlier this year, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) were the first two institutions to benefit from this initiative, covering both the technical and administrative aspects of television broadcasting. During the training, MTF also donated two production toolboxes to support the engineering teams in maintaining their equipment.
“MTF is a collaborative platform for our sector to develop talent,” says Kemi Omotosho. “It is helping to build the future of Southern Africa’s film and TV industry. We thank all our partners, stakeholders and collaborators for coming together to grow local skills and invest in Africa’s future.”