Multi Choice has announced the impending launch of a Southern Africa region DStv channel, which looks to include programming of local movies.The announcement was made during an event dubbed ‘ Zambian Movie Producers’ forum,’ that was held at Lusaka’s Protea Towers, on March 18, 2015.
The one-day forum, which drew over 70 movie and music producers, directors and artists, from several local studios in Lusaka and the Copperbelt, was meant to be an information sharing platform, as a forerunner to the launch of the said channel.
Among the prominent artists present at the gathering, were former Big Brother housemate and musician, Macky II, Njoya T, Diffikkoti, Saulosi, and Preston.
Also in attendance was the MultiChoice head of Sales and Marketing, Guntila Muleya, M-Net Africa Channel’s Cheryl Uys-Allie and National Arts Council (NAC) chairperson, Mulenga Kapwepwe.
Highlights from the presentations included, sharing developments at DStv / M-Net Africa and the expression of M-Net’s desire to introduce local content, for regional consumption, which would grow, as advertising revenues grow.
In his opening remarks, Muleya emphasised the importance that MultiChoice attached to supporting local content.
He also noted that for now the company was only providing a platform for show- casing works that had been done already but not yet viewed.
Uys-Allie indicated that the format for the programmes would be in Standard Definition (SD), after which it would migrate to High Definition (HD), as more HD content got introduced.
“The channel will provide opportunity for producers to showcase content across the region,” she noted, adding that M-Net Africa was equally serious about partnering with local producers currently producing independent films in West Africa and in East Africa.
Uys-Allie further stated that the vision was to grow the film industry across the region.
“Last year M-Net Africa launched a Portuguese M-Net into Angola and Mozambique. This year we are starting to produce local content in partnership with local filmmakers,” Uys-Allie explained.
Independent licensed films are passed through programme acceptance where films are assessed for technical quality of picture and sound.
“What we would like is for you as filmmakers to see this as an opportunity to showcase your content across the region and we look forward to a longer and more sustainable relationship with producers.
We are here to know more about you, about the stories you want to share and the challenges you face as film producers and film directors in Zambia,” she stated.
Kapwepwe who was one of the speakers at the forum, gave an overview of the film industry in Zambia and shared the producers’ expectations from the announced venture.
MultiChoice also furnished the participants with information about some of quality specs that were expected from productions, and provided necessary guidelines on licensing and contractual agreements.
The visibly delighted participants applauded MultiChoice for providing a platform of that nature and described the initiative as great idea, which they hoped could come to fruition.