Boom times for francophone Africa’s TV and film industry

by Samuel Pordengerg Feb 6, 2023 News
Boom times for francophone Africa’s TV and film industry

There is a barren schoolyard surrounded by baobab trees at the end of a dusty road in centralSenegal.

She says the light makes a big difference. Everything is beautiful.

The sequel to a French hit is being shot by the film director.

The movie is going to be released on the streaming service.

The American streaming giant is making its mark in West Africa, part of a broader surge in audiovisual production in the region.

In anglophone Nigeria, production has been growing fast.

The last day of filming is on the Banlieusard2 set. The cast and crew are tired and ready to eat lunch.

Ousmane Fall, a co- producer on the picture, said that the teams are there, the skills are there, and that there is a possibility to international producers to come and develop projects without worries.

There is a soap opera.

In a cramped room of a medical clinic, a smaller but equally motivated team is filming an episode of the television series "Karma".

On the job, the team learned the trade.

An actor in the series is working for Marodi.

The company, which produced the hit series Mistress of a Married Man, claims to have more than 20 million views on its website each month.

It's business model is based on local content and advertising.

Fifty-six percent of its viewers are women, and 70 percent are young.

International distributors such as Canal+ and Amazon Prime have helped boost Marodi's visibility.

Marodi wants to be a content producer for all of Africa and the diaspora, according to its sales and marketing director.

She said that 60 percent of its consumers are in Senegal, 20 percent are in Africa and eight percent are in France.

Pierre Barrot, audiovisual programme manager at the International Organisation of La Francophonie, said that quantity production is taking off in French-speaking Africa.

There were only a dozen episodes of TV series made in Africa in the last two decades.

Canal+ and TV5 Monde are the main distributors of the shows in the region.

The classic 26 minutes, which tend to fall into the category of police comedies or sitcoms with family-related themes, are more popular than the 52 minutes.

It's a new wave.

French-speaking Africa does not produce many feature-length films for TV or films for cinematic release.

The most successful film from francophone Africa so far this century was Les Trois Lascars.

There were 56,652 admissions paid across 12 countries, an encouraging tally, but a pale shadow of the 1990s, when the region's top box office hit drew half a million cinema goers.

Most of the cinemas in French-speaking Africa closed after that.

The return of cinemas could lead to an increase in local production of comedies.

There is a new generation of audiovisual Makers.

The French school opened a school in the African country.

The students seem to be confident about the future and need to be able to adapt.

Kenza Madeira, 23, who wants to become both an actor and a director, said that they have never had so many series.

Lots of opportunities are coming and I am very positive.