Africa adopts a new tool to boost the film industry
The Digital Platform Mokolo is officially available in Beta version for professionals and lovers of African cinema and of the Diaspora. The launch took place in Dakar, Senegal in the Djoudj hall of the Hotel Ngor Diarama May 31, 2016, before a throng of personalities from the world of African cinema and of the diaspora.
MOKOLO. TV is the information platform for film lovers with a special interest on film and television in Africa and the Diaspora. This platform is a web portal that integrates multiple information sources and video on demand (VoD) platforms with the African content. The temporary address for this platform is tv.mokolo.net and offers databases of movies, series, video on demand platforms and on the professionals themselves. In terms of social features, the Mokolo TV platform allows Mokolo users, called “Mokolizers” to create a profile on Mokolo TV and have opportunities to love, to comment and share information on Mokolo.TV. There is also the opportunity to post a review or a review of a film or write a profile of a actor or a professional while having the opportunity to follow a movie or a professional. Which enables automatic updating of information on the film or the professional. In terms of moderation and in order to give credibility to the information found on Mokolo TV, the platform provides users the possibility to defer or to report an information to the attention of the moderators of the platform. The “Mokolizer” also has the opportunity to apply to become moderator and help clean out the contents on the platform.
The Mokolo Pro platform in addition to the same features of social networks as Mokolo TV in the same proportions, aims to become the most comprehensive database of festivals, film schools, organisations, projects and opportunities in the cinema sector in Africa and of the Diaspora. Mokolo Pro also helps professionals create their CV and a professional profile on their expertise. With internal messaging functionality Mokolo Pro, professionals can get in touch directly without going through the moderation of Mokolo team and engage with each other on issues and projects of common interest.
The platform is based primarily on the fact that technology and innovation can contribute significantly to the development of the film ecosystem of Africa. To this end, the project operates on three platforms namely Mokolo TV, Mokolo Pro and Mokolo.labs, and whose characteristics intersect in some way to the point where the difference between the three appears as complementary to satisfy the information, distribution, training and networking needs in the African and the Diaspora audio-visual sector.
The Mokolo Project has another dimension of semantic web that centralises content on cinema to Mokolo and allows the users to have a total satisfaction of the answers to their searches. This is the first in the history of a portal on African cinema that such technology is in place to strengthen the content and improve research on African cinema in a natural language and with a detailed semantic description of the different descriptive aspects of cinema.
Self-training and gain knowledge
At the training, the Mokolo project has established a third platform that aims to make accessible training materials through courses, seminars, papers in form of text and video. This platform called Mokolo OER (Free Education Resources) allows users to self-educate and acquire specific knowledge in the field of cinema. This educational platform will also permit the holding of physical courses (schools and workshops). This platform includes the understanding of the film and visual media as multimodal content, i.e. audio, video and text. The acquisition of such skills could be done in the traditional conditions of classroom face to face and self-training in an open learning system. Therefore, Mokolo OER emphasises self-learners and multipliers such as teachers or leaders of workshops.
This project, funded by the ACP-EU and the Goethe-Institut, target film professionals and those working in the industry, consumers and retailers, festivals, policies, libraries, researchers, institutions and research centres, civil societies, lobbyists and interested organisations. This is what justifies the diversity of professionals present at the launching ceremony in Dakar.
The project was developed and implemented by a team of 22 people distributed in five countries, namely Senegal, Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and Germany. A team driven for 24 months by the Beninese cultural administrator and head of Mokolo Project, Espera Donouvossi.
The portal is now accessible, the challenge of Mokolo team is to take into account the needs of professionals working on the content and convince as many professionals as possible to appropriate this new tool to boost the African film industry through information, training and networking in an innovative and technological perspective.
They think Mokolo
Angèle Diabang, Senegalese filmmaker and producer, president of the Senegal’s Author Rights Management Society explains that “I find this project multifaceted, very important and interesting for us, developped by we African filmmakers. Several countries federating around it to [make it] succeed. We hope that Mokolo will last long in time and make innovations that others could not offer. The most important thing is that all filmmakers gather for appropriating this platform. ”
“Mokolo is an innovative platform that can help to know and network professionals. What impresses me most is the work of data through the semantic web which will allow us to consolidate and strengthen the content of the movie. Mokolo must continue to regroup all know-how on film and which are available on all digital media. My children also do a lot of things and even learn their lessons on a tablet. Mokolo enables the anticipation of the future of content in the world becoming increasingly digital. At my level, I think Mokolo must strengthen the VoD aspect to also allow consumption. The Portuguese-speaking world must be involved in the Mokolo project,” Moussa Sene Absa, Senegalese filmmaker.
Wissem Tlili is a Tunisian young hopeful. He studied script-writing in France and has a feature film in progress. He is also an academic and teaches film at the Advanced School of Audiovisual and Cinema of Tunis. For him, “What I like in Mokolo project is to consolidate the African film industry. Because each person has had enough working as craftsmen in his little corner. Through Mokolo, let there is a visibility of African cinema ”
“What we are doing is to reconnect ourselves because we have a lot of things together. This project will permit the circulation of information on the continent. There are always things to improve. What is important is to put something in place.” Idrissou Mora Kpai, Benin filmmaker living in the United States
Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Malian director, former Minister of Culture in Mali and Secretary General of the Pan-African Federation of Film believes that “Mokolo offers a perspective that will allow us to get out of the absence of our pictures in the universe of images. I think there is a lack of information and Mokolo allows us some information.”
Fibby Kioria, Maisha Film Labs Executive director in Uganda on her part, says: “What I like about this project is its focal point aspect on all that is important in the African film industry. It is a platform that African professionals must take ownership of. It is only the beginning of an initiative that brings a focal point on all other initiatives on African cinema. .. ”
Jacqueline N’siah, a Ghanaian national and Programmer of African Festival in Britain and Brazil reckons that “Mokolo is a very interesting project and it is very important that it happens now when everything is digital and that the world is becoming smaller. The platform is important in that it brings together and unites professionals from across the continent and to have access to information on the film industry. ”
This networking was effective at the launch in Dakar with the effective presence of filmmakers and professionals from 13 countries from all regions of Africa and the Diaspora also including the Secretary General of the Pan African Federation of Film and the president. Also present at the launch were partner countries such as France and Germany through the Embassy of France and Senegal’s French Institute and the Goethe-Institut.