The IRON List - October 5, 2017

1. Industry: Until the Lion Writes His Stories...

The film industry - surely though slowly - is acknowledging the value of credible experts for authentic storytelling of the African experience. Recently researchers at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London became chief consults for the remaking of “Roots”, one of the world’s most famous tales of an African figurehead (Kunta Kinte).

According to SOAS instructor Kadialy Kouyate, these are great steps forward that still leave the industry several steps back. “It would have been easier in a way to [also] use actors who actually speak these languages,” says Koyate, “but the industry is the way it is and so actors will obviously be hired from Hollywood and places like that.” There is no dearth of African movie superstars or rising talent, so what are the remaining barriers that keep production studios from tapping into these resources?

“Our audience is also very critical. They want good stories told at a high production value. But it’s not just about budget. You don’t need a lot of money to make your ideas happen...” --BeautifulNews, “The South African director beating Hollywood with local stories”

“[T]he commission set up the African Audio Visual and Cinema Commission. The commission will now help Africa's filmmakers create jobs, grow economies and tell the African story through African eyes.” --SABC, “Africa aims to grow its film industry.”

“Despite being the second-largest film industry by volume behind India's Bollywood, Nigerian movies are not as popular as Hollywood productions. Parish believes being featured alongside [the Toronto International Film Festival] can help propel their industry to another level.” --Toronto Metro, “Nollywood -- the world's second largest film industry -- lands in Toronto.”

"Certainly, Hollywood films built on black lead characters rarely have been runaway hits...But this has less to do with the race of the actors than with the expectations of the studios." --Washington Post, "Why Africa is Hollywood’s biggest missed opportunity." 

2. Research: To Whom Much is Given…

Almaz Negash, Founder of the African Diaspora Network & Member of the United Nations Economic Council for Africa High Level Panel, wrote the following paper on the responsibilities of the African diaspora in revitalizing the continent (e.g. harnessing “the intellectual capacity of members of the African diaspora in order to promote economic development”).

Some recommendations include:  partnerships between governments and individuals to capitalize on the collective knowledge base of migrants, stimulating entrepreneurship in targeted areas, and building an online community for collaboration and networking.

3. Opportunities: Paid, Volunteer & Competitive

2018 Fellows Program for the Council of Urban Professionals

Junior Account Manager at Hagler & Associates

Social Media Marketing Intern at World Education Services

Product Support Manager at Panorama Education

4. Networking:  The Other Festival & Avant-Garde Network's Pop-up Rooftop Mixer

From the organizers: “The Other Festival is a two-day all female festival that brings together and celebrates makers, creators, founders, disrupters and dreamers. Hosted in partnership with GLAM4GOOD, it features powerful music, extraordinary speakers, demos, workshops and a unique marketplace for female founders.”

Register for the event here, scheduled for October 14th and 15th at City Point BKLYN.

Today, the Avant-Garde Network is hosting a Pop-up Rooftop Mixer at the The Attic Rooftop Bar and Lounge, beginning at 6pm. RSVP here ($10 entry fee).