By Merit Ibe, [email protected]

The MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) is an initiative that offers eligible candidates the opportunity to improve their skills and ultimately contribute to the growth of the African film and audiovisual industries. MTF West Africa Hub Academy Director Atinuke Babatunde spoke to Daily Sun about how the four-year initiative has increased the capacity of passionate young entrepreneurs to tell their own stories.

With over 20 years of experience in entertainment, branding, research, media management, marketing and strategy, Atinuke’s primary goal is to drive the development of Nigeria’s creative industry through the MultiChoice Talent Factory as well as expanding the capacity of already working professionals.

According to her, about 50% of the alumni of the academy are now employers of labor and consultancy for multinational companies.

MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF)

MTF is a shared value initiative that was created by MultiChoice in 2018 to give back to society. We have done so much in the industry and we felt there was a gap in the training area. It’s one thing to create content, buy content and manage platforms, but we needed to train and build people’s capacity to be more informed and impactful. We therefore launched MTF with the aim of training and empowering creative industries across Africa. MTF is here to impact lives, train and mentor young people in the creative space.

In the academy, we also have the economy in mind because we don’t just focus on the creative aspect. We also teach the business side. That’s why we partner with Henley Business School. They take our business students; how to do business and generate income.

We have what we call alumni care, where we always connect alumni from the academy to productions like MNet MultiChoice productions.

The MTF program is an opportunity for African film and television content creators. There are so many stories on our continent that need to be told and documented with a sense of skill and passion that only a program like the MTF Academy can train young people to do so.

The program combines film studies such as directing, sound, design and film business with workplace experience on top Africa Magic and SuperSports productions. The fully funded 12-month program is open to applicants from Nigeria and Ghana for the West Africa Academy, based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Master class

The plant operates in three regions; the West African region in Nigeria, the Eastern region in Kenya and the Southern region in Zambia. We have the portal where filmmakers across Africa share ideas, collaborate and synergize for a more developed industry, and then we have the Masterclasses, where we literally train veterans to make the industry better. For the masterclass, once announced, interested filmmakers register and attend the classes which are physical or virtual classes; and finally, there is the Academy where we train 60 students for a year in the art and craft of cinema. Currently, students who qualify for the academy come from 16 African countries that make up the three regions. Although there may be plans to expand to other African countries later, for now we are focusing on those 16 countries that have shown potential to be great African film hubs.

Impact

The impact has been immense. We had two sets that graduated from the academy. So, for all the regions, we have trained 120 people and it continues. In the West African academy, we have seen the effect of the academy on employment in Nigeria and Ghana, with some of our alumni going on to set up their own production companies, employed labor and produced locally for multinational platforms around the world. Some of our alumni have also conducted training in other film schools and training platforms. Thus, the MTF has had a ripple effect and impact on both individuals and the industry.

Qualification

To be eligible to attend the MTF Academy, applicants must hold a degree from a registered and/or recognized post-secondary institution and have experience in the film industry.

Applicants with a degree must be between the ages of 18 and 30; be citizens and residents of the countries in which they have been selected by MultiChoice to participate in the MTF Academy initiative, namely Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia , Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe; be fluent in English orally, in reading and writing; demonstrate passion for the theatre, film, television and entertainment industry in selection interviews and have obtained a relevant qualification from an accredited and/or recognized higher education institution in theatre, film, television or in a related media field, within the past 2 years.

Anyone motivated, determined to develop their skills and interested in participating in the MTF Academy and meeting the eligibility criteria can register at www.multichoicetalentfactory.com to be part of the various expressions. The application for the academy just closed a few days ago, so for now anyone interested should apply next year.

Online/physical platforms

Both are impactful. Some trainings are online while others are physical. During the pandemic, we were forced to go online only, but now we’ve started having physical MasterClasses again. At the academy, while some courses are purely online, all students will receive hands-on training as part of the program.

Challenges

The main challenges especially in the academy which is a 12 month course is letting people know that when you come into the academy there are certain things that need to be unlearned so you can get to the basics and learn the right thing the right way. So we have experts from all over the world guiding them through the courses. Most students find it difficult to adapt to the new method, but over time they improve.

Partnership

All students receive an enhanced educational experience through the Academy’s partnerships, which include the New York Film Academy (NYFA), Henley Business School, Dolby and Canon. Canon is a camera company, which does most of the cinematography, while Dolby is a sound company. Locally, we partner with Pan-Atlantic University, they accredit student certificates, and we have the support of most industry players and guilds.

Curriculum

For the new academic year, we are improving the program. We bring new courses like effects, animation and others. We will also remove some courses. Following the current trend, we are intensifying our partnership with stakeholders both locally and internationally to make the academy stronger.

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