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Monday, July 27, 2009

Voices from the Tube

A blogger I respect and whose blogs i tend to follow closely asked my opinion about a certain show currently showing on Kenyan TV. He happened to watch a bit of the politically satirical show on You Tube but because the show is directed to specificallyKenyan audiences, he failed to appreciate the nuances inherent in the content and thus asked my honest opinion.

While generally posted, this blog speaks to the questions he directed to me. The show is called XYZ show and airs on Citizen TV which is arguably one of Kenya's largest TV stations in terms of reach. The show airs every Sunday at 9.45 pm. I must acknowledge and give credit to the fact that the show is the first of its kind on kenyan TV and respect must be given to this. The show is done on animation and tends to be a socio-political spoof of life and events in Kenya. The technical quality of production in terms of sound and picture quailty is really good which is another positive fact that one should not overlook.

I must confess I happened to watch for the first time last night. This was without prior knowledge that my blog pal had requested my opinion about the show. ( Talk about coincidence).
My first off impression was fascination about the quality of the show in terms of animation which is very new to the local TV production scene in Kenya. Once past the fascination of the animation, I found that the content failed to hold my interest, connect with me or engage me as an audience. As a socio political spoof show , humor ideally should be the hook that captures audience but in this case, humor comes across as mindless, illogical or simply stupid action on the screen. As if in evidence to this fact, at some point my husband in between laughter remarked "This show is really stupid". I would imagine this would be a compliment to the Production becuase it provoked laughter in a viewer. However beyond that moment, it seemed only natural for us to flick over to more substantial entertainment having enjoyed that brief flight of fancy that failed to arouse an appetite for more.

In my thinking, I am not sure who the target audience is nor am I certain that the Producers are sure who their target audience is. The content fails to connect with the audiences as well as give them something to go away with....substance, food for thought...whatever it is you want to call it. That politicians sometimes ( nay most times) behave ridicoulousy is not new or fresh. But the treatment, underlying themes, ideas communicated to audiences should be. Why do I suggest this?
Because political satire by its nature speaks to an audience that is fairly mature, and exposed. To use childish humor that is poorly developed will not hold the audience's attention. Infact at some point the content may become a tad irritating to watch. Political satire needs to be treated with a peppering of fact, wit, fresh perspective or take -out: The achievement of some underlying objective and not just mindless visual gimmicks that lead to the feeling of "stooping to idiocy" by audiences. This seeming insult of intelligence causes us as an audience to switch off.

Does that mean that we as Kenyan audiences are stuck-up and stuffy and fail to appreciate satire as a genre of entertainment? Hardly! think of film documentaries by icons such Michael Moore who manages to treat serious national issues with wit, humor, satire and yet manages to give you something to reflect on. This is an example of a good treatment of socio-political satire. If needs be embellish abit, if you have to, just make sure you are backed by an underlying credible fact and let the audiences appreciate your end objective. They'll love you more ( or at least love your production more for it)

What then for the XYZ show? There is room to grow and conquer the airwaves. The production team have their work cut out for them in pre-production. Its back to the drawing board and ask who is my audience? What appeals to them? How do I connect with them, define an objective for the show and its audiences. Research facts and opinions about national sentiment on issues then develop scripts and sequences becuase from the production last night there is a clear lack of some logical connection or coherence to the sequences. This tends to make audiences frustrated and impatient with your content delivery becuase we have no idea (subconsciously) where you are leading us ultimately.

As a parting shot, me thinks the timing also does not add value to the show. Sunday night at 9.45pm is a poor time to feed audiences with political satire after a whole week being bombarded with politics in different forms and shapes in the media. friday or Saturday night would be more palatable for audiences. To stir a hornet's nest, i dare ask do TV stations have the courage to do away with latin soaps and favor local productions that boast quality content????

Friday, February 6, 2009

Alliance Francaise hosting TWO Film Festivals in May 2009

The Alliance Fraincaise will be definitely busy come March...As always, though, they shall not let us down. The Festivals and additional info are below.




5th CUBAN FILM FESTIVAL

6 – 10 May

Alliance Fran├žaise auditorium: Entrance Free

The Embassy of Cuba presents the 5th Cuban Film Festival in Nairobi offering a menu of popular and critically acclaimed films

THE SILLY AGE (2006 – 1h48) drama

Tue. 6 at 6.30pm

Rejection of a grandchild by a grandmother set in her ways.


AMANDA’S PROPHECIES ( 1999 – 1h30) drama

Thur. 8 at 6.30pm

A film of psychological reflection about popular life in Cuba today

HONEY FOR OSHUN (2001 – 1H48) drama

Fri. 9 at 6.30pm

Roberto returns to Cuba from the US in search of his mother


VIVA CUBA

Sat. 10 at 11am ( 2007 – 1h20) drama

The friendship between two children is threatended by their parents’ differences


MAURICIO’S DIARY

Sat. 10 at 6.30pm ( 2006- -3h15) drama

Individual dimensions combine with social context in the last decade of the 20th century in Cuba


17th EUROPEAN FILM FESTIVAL

14 May – 1 June (except 16, 19 and 30 May)

Weekdays: 5.30 and 7.30pm, Weekend: 3, 5.30 and 7.30pm

Tickets: 30/-

Showing recent films from 18 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom).

Detailed programme available from Alliance Fran├žaise.

Worlds of the Indian Ocean Festival

A celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Aga Khan University, presented by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, East Africa, running 19-23 February। The Festival features explorations of the Indian Ocean cultural realm। The event will be hosted in Nairobi from February 19 to 23, 2009. The Worlds of the Indian Ocean (WIO 2009) is a showpiece arts and science festival and conference that will bring some of the most unusual minds and thinkers to Nairobi to debate, discuss, celebrate, explore, imagine roles and responsibilities (local, regional and global) against a backdrop of the Indian Ocean as a geographical and metaphorical space of opportunity in the twenty first century.

Our five day event, hosted largely at the National Museums of Kenya space, shall combine strategic and practical workshops, intellectual explorations, public and cultural expression and business forums. Emphasis is being placed on the facilitation of productive linkages among peoples on different edges of the Indian Ocean.The lectures are broad-ranging, engaging and agenda-setting rather than narrowly focused. A one-day strategic business forum will involve specialists presenting ideas around biodiversity, security, marine ecology and economies, new and digital technology including nanotechnology and nanoscience and futures literacy which shall involve profiles of a new generation of thinkers and actors who are involved in innovative ventures in this region.

Our goal, is to stimulate a wide range of encounters to stimulate the creativity and imagination that emerges when different worlds meet. We are inviting business leaders, academicians, scientists, technologists, future thinkers, diplomats, journalists, artists, development innovators and environmental experts and educationalists to grab a hold of and roll with the ideas while considering the implications of the regionally under-imagined resource that the Indian Ocean is.
More details and festival programme coming shortly

Creating a Curriculum Guide for Your Documentary Film

By Jessica Schoenbaechler

Preproduction is the perfect time to begin writing a curriculum/discussion guide to accompany your documentary film. Although you may not have all the tools necessary to complete the guide, you can certainly identify concepts and themes of the film that should be included in one; this work can only hone the final film itself...PDF of Creating a Curriculum Guide for Your Documentary Film suitable for printing

Sony's HVR-Z5U

Stepping Up with Sony's HVR-Z5U

A B&H Roundup
By David Speranza


Sony likes to release its higher-end camcorders in twos, so it was no surprise when last September's announcement of the prosumer HDR-FX1000 included specs on the pro-level HVR-Z5U. These two HDV cameras are nearly identical in terms of build and imaging, but the Z5U offers some important step-ups for professional shooters. The most significant are dual XLR audio, native progressive 24p/30p, DVCAM recording, SMPTE timecode support, and full docking ability with Sony's new HVR-MRC1K compact flash recorder.

But let's review the similarities. In our hands-on look at the HDR-FX1000, we noted all the great new features and improvements Sony brought to its replacement of the prosumer HDR-FX1. Those same upgrades apply to the HVR-Z5U, which we were also lucky enough to spend some face-time with prior to its official December release.

Like the FX1000, the Z5U has Sony's new G-Series 20x wide-angle lens (72mm filter), three Exmor-enhanced 1/3" CMOS sensors (1120k pixels apiece), low-light sensitivity down to 1.5 lux, dedicated zoom/focus/iris rings, three built-in ND filters, and the same Xtra Fine 3.2" LCD screen found on the flagship HVR-Z7U (with an outstanding 921K pixels of resolution). Both cameras also shoot in 24p/30p progressive modes to produce a more cinematic look, but where the FX1000 uses what Sony calls "progressive scan," the Z5U also offers native progressive mode. (The difference, as will be explained later, is less about image quality than how that image is recorded and edited.) One feature not previously mentioned is the 1.5x digital extender, which extends the zoom range to 30x with a minimal loss of quality.

Limited to a preproduction model for this review, we were unable to shoot actual footage to test out the camera's specs against real-world results. But there was more than enough in the Z5U's build and control set to determine what makes it different from its prosumer sibling.

Let's Get Physical or watch the video here

AFRICALA ONLINE FILM FESTIVAL 2009

The Kenya International Film Festival is collecting short films for the
Africala online Film Festival. The film will be deliverd to AFRICALA as a
package on the 12th of Feb. 2009. There is no charge for entry.
If you are interested, bring your films to our offices at:

Attn: KIFF Festival Director
The Kenya Film Commission
Lenana road, Jumuia Place
NAIROBI

AFRICALA VOTE FILM FESTIVAL was conceived as the first African film festival on the Internet. The main goal of the festival is to make use of new technology to promote independent film productions, which currently face great obstacles in reaching the masses...(Read More)

MEDEVA TV AND RADIO PRODUCTION TRAINING

2009 MEDEVA TV and Radio
Production Training is Here!
Every year Media Development in Africa (MEDEVA) runs a TV and Radio
production training that is free and open to the public.
After 3 weeks of intensive training, selected trainees may be employed to work full time/part time on the next MEDEVA production.

Requirements:
· Send your CV (Maximum 2 pages) with an application letter (1 page)
· Brief outline of maximum three original ideas that you would like to
develop into TV and Radio programmes. (Maximum 100 words each)
· Applicants must be between the ages of 18 – 30 years.
Applicants do not need any prior media experience but they should possess a passion for Kenya’s socio-economic and political issues.
Interested candidates should apply via email to : training@medevatv. com.
Y
ou can also hand deliver your application to our offices located at
The GoDown Arts Centre, Dunga Road, Industrial Area, Nairobi.

Closing date is Friday 6th February 2009 at 5p.m.
Only short listed applicants will be contacted.

For enquiries, call 020-557569/70
MEDEVA is an equal opportunity trainer
www.medevatv. com

TALENT CAMPUS DURBAN 24 - 28 July 2009

The 30th Durban International Film Festival (22 July - 2 August 2009) is proud to announce the 2nd edition of Talent Campus Durban from 24 - 28 July 2009, an intensive 5-day programme of workshops and seminars delivered by film professionals to enhance both theoretical and practical approaches to filmmaking. The 2nd Talent Campus Durban theme Roots and Shoots: Creating a New African Cinema will focus activities towards the development of new partnerships between African filmmakers.

Talent Campus Durban invites filmmakers from Africa to apply to participate in these workshops and seminars, which take place in Durban, South Africa, over five days. In addition to specific activities offered by the Campus, the selected talents will have the opportunity to attend films and events at the 30th Durban International Film Festival.

Deadline for application: 16 March 2009

Full Rules and Regulations can be downloaded from: www.cca.ukzn.ac.za/talentdiff2009.htm

For further details:
Phone: +27 (0)31 260 2506/1367
Fax: +27 (0)31 260 3074
Email: talent@ukzn.ac.za or talent.durban@gmail.com

Talent Campus Durban is produced as a cooperation between the Durban International Film Festival and the Berlinale Talent Campus, and Berlin International Film Festival and is supported by the German Embassy in South Africa, the Goethe Institute South Africa and the Department of Economic Development - KwaZulu-Natal.

The Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) with principle funding and support from the National Film & Video Foundation, HIVOS, SABC, Stichting Doen, Department of Economic Development - KwaZulu-Natal, City of Durban, and the Ethekwini Municipality.

-ends

For media queries contact:
Sharlene Versfeld
T: 031 201 1650
F: 031 201 1654
E: sharlene@versfeld.co.za

10th Anniversary Planet in Focus International Environmental Film & Video Festival

Toronto, Canada, October 21-25, 2009

Attention Filmmakers: Call for Submissions now open!

Who We Are

Planet in Focus, Canada’s most acclaimed international environmental film and video festival, showcases outstanding and compelling films and videos covering a broad range of environmental themes by Canadian and international filmmakers. Our mission is to screen and promote the use of film and video across Canada and internationally as a catalyst for public awareness, discussion, and appropriate action on the environmental, ecological and social health of the planet. Recognizing that the 'environment' is contested terrain, both as a biophysical entity and as a philosophical frame , Planet in Focus invites submissions in all genres that critically examine the concept of 'environment' and challenge current human/nature relations.

Festival Highlights

Green Market & Industry Centre: Filmmakers, producers, sales agents, buyers and programmers enjoy exclusive access to our business centre (and networking hub) and have full access to our film library which will consist of all 2009 submissions.

Green Pitch Competition: Submit your environmental film treatment for the chance to pitch your idea live and win development funding for your project (Canadian filmmakers only.)

Panels, Industry Roundtables: Filmmakers take the spotlight with a series of lively discussions addressing a range of issues that specifically concern activist filmmaking.

2009 Spotlight: Towards A 2020 Vision

Special attention will be paid to works that focus on ideas, technologies, new practices, and provide insight into visions of the future of our planet. Some areas of interest are biodiversity, technology, climate change, oceans, food, wildlife, social existence and survival. This spotlight will look Ten Years Forward and present ten works on ten key thematic issues that examine the challenges that lay ahead and the solutions that will deliver real and effective change.

Early deadline: May 22nd, 2009 / Final deadline: June 19th, 2009

For guidelines and submission forms please visit

www.planetinfocus. org