A Filmmaking Academy Is Empowering Young South Africans to Tell Their Own Stories
South Africans love homegrown stories, and can’t seem to get enough. But making these shows mean we need an increasing number of young professionals to make them.
That’s what inspired broadcaster MultiChoice to team up with television channel M-Net to launch the M-Net Magic in Motion Academy — to nurture as yet undiscovered talent among South Africa’s young filmmakers and broadcasters.
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Through MultiChoice and M-Net’s investment in local content of more than R2.5 billion every year, the pair has been making a significant impact on the industry. But it takes more than investment to grow a film and TV industry — it also takes talent and practical skills. And that’s where the Academy comes in.
The Academy gives talented graduates, who’ve studied the theory behind the industry, the opportunity to get the hands on experience they need to start working in filmmaking.
Each class completes a 12-month internship, during which they get the chance to network with and are mentored by the best in the business, while experiencing every phase of content production.
“We help to develop young talent, because we recognise that a new generation of empowered storytellers is needed to transform the local film industry,” said Nkateko Mabaso, acting M-Net CEO.
The internship gives the graduates the chance to understand all aspects of filmmaking, and discover the areas about which they are most passionate. At the end, equipped with new skills including collaboration, business acumen, production finance, resource management, and social media engagement — the interns head out into the world with a Business of TV certificate from the Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking.
Class of 2018
This year, 13 graduates got the opportunity to hone their writing, directing, filming, and editing skills by working on some of the countries most popular local shows — including Dancing With the Stars, Isibaya, and Survivor SA.
The experience doesn’t just give them a significant head start in their careers — it also improves the quality of resources available to the wider film and television industry. Since the Academy first opened its doors in 2014, an incredible 12 original films have already been produced by interns — and some 44 interns have graduated.
Just one of the numerous success stories to come out of MultiChoice’s filmmaking initiatives is Aluta Qupa, from South Africa’s Eastern Cape.
Qupa, a graduate of AFDA film school, has started her own production company along with two of her peers — Mbalizethu Zulu and Thembalethu Mfebe — from the Magic in Motion class of 2015.
Qupa is the producer, Zulu is the writer, and Mfebe is the director — and they’ve now had six of their films air on television. The trio started the production company — A Tribe Called Story — after taking part in a 3-month MultiChoice Enterprise Development Start-Up Bootcamp.
“If I hadn’t joined Magic in Motion, who knows where I would have been now,” she told Trending. “It’s unusual for young people of colour to get skills support and have a company believe in what they can do and trust them with their money.”
“I’m in a place of great privilege,” she added.
The three specifically focus on creating content for and about young South Africans, by telling authentic stories of and for their generation. And Qupa now hopes to use the opportunities given to her by MultiChoice to empower other youths with dreams of joining the film and television industry.
Her top tips for young creatives looking to get into the industry? If you have a dream, start; have a clear vision and plan, get a mentor and, mostly importantly, you just need to do it.
The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 is presented and hosted by The Motsepe Foundation, with major partners House of Mandela, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco, Nedbank, Vodacom, Coca Cola Africa, Big Concerts, BMGF Goalkeepers, Eldridge Industries, and associate partners HP and Microsoft.