2 Malawians graduate from  MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy class of 2020

Mphatso Makamo and Chisomo Livason have now joined Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba and Jonathan Kapumba as graduates of young filmmakers after their successful completion of the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Academy Class of 2020.

Chisomo Livason
2020 MTF graduate Mphatso Makamo

The second cohort of 60 students from across the continent, was held virtually through Lusaka (Zambia), Nairobi (Kenya) and Lagos (Nigeria) MTF academy hubs due the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of General Entertainment and Connected Services, said in a statement that despite the challenging year, MultiChoice Group is thrilled to congratulate the MTF Academy Class on their graduation.

She said: “2020 was undoubtedly tough due to COVID-19, but the ability for all the 60 students to quickly adapt and transition from physical to virtual learning speaks to the world-class nature of the academy’s course.

“The MultiChoice Talent Factory is very close to my heart — it speaks to who we are as Africans, natural-born storytellers.

“Today we are here to celebrate the second cohort who were dealt a heavy blow by the COVID-19 pandemic but the challenge seems to have brought on even greater opportunities.”

Phahle added that the students’ academic course was extended from 12 month to 18 months due to the pandemic and the additional time translated to the students earning not one but two qualifications.

“That makes them even more sought-after as they re-enter their respective local film and TV sectors as highly qualified industry professionals.

“Alongside their MTF qualification, the students also walk away with an equally illustrious qualification from the prestigious New York Film Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA).

“Africa’s creative industries are custodians of the continent’s cultural heritage, and as Africa’s most-loved storyteller, MultiChoice has always put to use its burning desire to develop and invest in African talent through initiatives such as MTF.”

In addition, Phahle says the graduates are now part of the MTF alumni network and connected to industry professionals from across the continent through the MTF Portal — www.multichoicetalentfactory.com.

The two Malawians now can join forces with the country’s first intake, Mkwezalamba, 21 and Jonathan Kapumba, 25 — who are keen to develop authentic African stories.

When Mkwezalamba and Kapumba were being introduced by MultiChoice Malawi in 2018 by Managing Director, Gus Banda had said the MTF programme was initiated with the aim of investing in young Africans to tell the story of their own country’s as independent film producers.

He had said Malawian stories are not been told like the way other countries like Zambia, Nigeria and Kenya are doing and there was need to invest in the country’s own youngsters to take up the role through this programme.

“We want them to come out with recognized academic qualification to empower them on how to come up with a professional film production. Through our representatives, we want to utilize them through our own Malawian content which we shall launch in the near future.”

After graduating from the 2018 cohort, several of the graduates — including Malawian Kapumba — were awarded with internship with various filmmakers. Kapumba’s was a 3-week internship in Bollywood, India sponsored by MultiChoice partner, Nihilent Limited.

Just as the 2018 class, MTF’s partners have further contributed to the initiative by offering awards to this year’s graduates with an 8-week NYFA scholarship going to the top performing graduate per region.

The lucky recipients are; Abisola Aboaba (Nigeria), Daisy Masembe (Uganda) and Maira Tauacale (Mozambique).

Another 8-week scriptwriting internship on an animation series from global consulting and solutions integration company Nihilent Technologies went to Julie Ako (Nigeria), Kefa Igilo (Tanzania) and Hilma Sheehama (Namibia).

Phalhe said the 2020 students completed an intensive 3-week online NYFA course on the production of micro-documentaries, PSAs and music videos and also worked with the United Nations on the global #PledgeToPause campaign, exposing the young creatives to global networks.

“The continued success of the MTF initiative since its start in 2018 is also rooted in its illustrious partnerships, namely with NYFA, the Henley Business School Africa, Pan-Atlantic University in Nigeria, Kenyatta University in Kenya and the University of Zambia.

“MTF also has partnerships with internationally acclaimed organisations, Dolby; Jasco Broadcast Solutions and Nihilent.”

MultiChoice’s platforms will be giving students an amazing opportunity to work at M-Net local productions and each winner will take part in a 4-week internship on M-Net productions equipping them with the skills they need to tell authentic and original African stories.

“This is a proud moment for everyone involved in ensuring that the students became graduates,” Phahle continued to say. “It’s also been fulfilling to see just how in-tune this next generation of African storytellers are with the importance of being multi-skilled and intuitive creatives.

“All this would not have been possible without the collaboration and commitment of our fantastic partners. Congratulations to the Class of 2020 who are now alumni of the exceptional MTF Academy programme — the future of Africa’s creative industries looks bright!”

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