A new group of 20 passionate young filmmakers have begun an exciting new phase of their lives – a fully funded year of film and television training at the MultiChoice Talent Factory East Africa Academy in Nairobi.
The MTF East Africa Academy is one of three on the continent, where students spend 12 months gaining skills in screenwriting, editing, producing and directing. These skills are learned through training and study, and practical experience working on TV and film productions. The curriculum includes workshops, lectures, masterclasses and assignments.
MTF students learn alongside industry greats and seasoned professionals from across the globe. The final stage of the course sees students developing feature films for broadcast on MultiChoice local channels and Showmax. The most recent MTF Academy cohort also enjoyed an intensive online training course with the New York Film Academy (NYFA).
In East Africa, MTF Academy curricula are created with MultiChoice Africa partner institution Kenyatta University in Nairobi, which confers the course qualifications upon completion of the academy programme.
This year’s students were chosen after a rigorous six-week selection process of interviews and adjudication by film and television experts, as well as regional academy directors.
At the MTF East Africa Academy, the 2024 cohorts consist of a mixture of male and female students from Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya.
Since its establishment in 2018, the Africa-wide MTF Academy programme has produced more than 300 graduates, qualified young filmmakers who are now taking African stories to the world.
“The East Africa film and television sector thrives on new energy and new ideas from young professionals entering our industry,” says MTF East Africa Director Victoria Nzale Goro. “The MTF East Africa Academy is designed to maintain this pipeline of fresh talent. It benefits our business, our industry, and ultimately East African audiences, who get to enjoy vibrant African content that reflects their lives and their interests.”
The training that the MTF Academy provides is geared to broadening the skillsets of aspirant filmmakers, and to empowering them to work in various creative disciplines – not only the film industry.
An MTF survey has found that around 92% of MTF Academy graduates go on to work in the creative sector.
“The MTF Academy is an investment in our business and the future of our industry,” says Goro. “Many MTF graduates go on to work on MultiChoice productions, while others start their own businesses and become our partners and suppliers in the industry. It’s all about African people telling African stories.”
This year’s MTF Academy intake follows in the footsteps of several highly successful cohorts of students, who have won awards, had their work shown on major platforms and gone on to even greater career success. Two years ago, MTF East Africa Academy graduates won Best MTF Film at the AMVCA awards for Engaito. Egna won the Best International award at the Kalasha International Film Festival and Wavamizi won the Chairman’s Award at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. Cheza, East Africa’s first musical comedy was produced by the class of 2022 and went on to win the Best Student Film at the Kalasha Film and Television awards 2023. MTF graduate Habtamu Mekonen of Ethiopia won the International Emmys 2023 JCS International Young Creatives award for his film Stop War. Six companies established by East Africa alumni from the class of 2023 have also been commissioned by Maisha Magic East and Showmax.
“This year’s MTF students will become a precious asset to the African film and television industry,” says Goro. “They will be the next generation of creatives taking African stories to the world, and producing hyperlocal content that captures the imagination of audiences across our continent.”