As part of activities marking the 26th Carthage International Film Festival, the Mokolo Project and its Foundation brought together about thirty key professionals of the film sector from Africa and the Diaspora from 21 to 23 November 2015 at the Tunisia Palace Hotel in Tunis.
The purpose of this meeting was to present the progress report for the development and implementation of Mokolo project and to seek recommendations going forward.
This project, funded by the Goethe-Institut and ACP Cultures + Program supported by the European Union, aims at developing three thematic platforms as follows: one is dedicated to professionals and networking (Mokolo Pro), another is intended to be a database and to provide general information on films in Africa (Mokolo.net) and the last offers Open Educational Resources (Mokolo OER) amongst others.
The first day was set aside for the founding members of the Mokolo Foundation to assess ongoing work by the Project team in comparison to the vision and objectives outlined from the start of the project.
It was thus observed that there have been some challenges regarding the implementation of the vision mainly due to resistance from some partners who were hesitating to commit technically with Mokolo because of doubts over the technology being used and the fluidity of the various functionalities being developed under Mokolo platforms.
The project team is henceforth authorized to work in consistence with the submitted and approved project plan for the ACP Cultures + Program EU funding while taking into consideration the recommendations which came out of the meeting.
JCC 2015 During the last two days, the technological functionalities of the Mokolo Project and their usefulness to professionals themselves was assessed. In order to have a more comprehensive and representative assessment of the Mokolo Project, the Mokolo Team invited filmmakers such as Gaston Kabore (Burkina Faso), Suleman Ramadan (South Africa), Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya), Angèle Diabang (Senegal), Tundé Kelani (Nigeria), Monique Mbeka Phoba (DRC/Belgium), Véronique Doumbe (Cameroon/USA), Didi Cheeka (Nigeria). The team equally comprised IT experts such as Bobola Oniwura (Afrinolly, Nigeria), Roger Kpikemoi (Buni.Tv, Kenya), Vincent Lagoyete (AfricaFilms.Tv, France/Senegal) and other professionals in charge of various film training and promotion initiatives like Léonce Ngabo, director of film festival in Bujumbura and chair of the East African Filmmakers’ Network; Pedro Pimenta, promoter of film festivals, Victor Okhai, producer and promoter of the Lagos Film School, Marcellin Zannou director and founder of Institut Supérieur des Métiers de l’Audiovisuel (ISMA) [Advanced School of Audiovisual Disciplines] in Cotonou, Benin and Fibby Kioria of Maisha Film Labs (Uganda). And lastly, to make this film sector experts’ panel complete and inclusive, Mokolo also invited journalists and film critics in the likes of Hassouna Mansouri, representative of the biggest African Cinema database www.africine.org, Katarina Hedren (South Africa), Derin Ajao (Nigeria) and Eloi Bela Ndzana (audiovisual producer and TV Journalist, Cameroon), as well as Dayo Ogunyemi, a film production, distribution and broadcasting professional (Kenya/Nigeria).
This diverse and professional panel enabled the Mokolo Project team to conduct a mid-term review of the work being done and to build on feedback and aspirations from the professionals and beneficiaries themselves. One of their recommendations touched on the Mokolo platform contents which need to be thoroughly checked and moderated before publication; a team of editors must be set up and trained for this. All participants agreed on the need to collaborate with other African Film platforms and databases. The information contained in the Mokolo platform must be drawn from various sources in order to make it comprehensive and these sources must be highlighted through the social functionalities of Mokolo. It was also suggested that Mokolo must display its uniqueness while remaining professional, exclusive and honest.
The last item discussed during this colloquium in Tunis was the project’s future after the ACP-EU contract. The way forward is to ensure the sound development of the Mokolo Foundation in order to enable it take over the project starting March 2016. A sustainability and viability strategy must be devised, with specific emphasis on the setting up of an active and functional Executive Committee for the Foundation, a funding plan and a business plan aimed at making the Mokolo Foundation autonomous in the long-term.
In the meantime, two working groups were set up. The first is in charge of monitoring the development of the platforms and the content strategy while the second is tasked with working on the Mokolo Foundation’s viability and sustainability strategies.
The meeting was a resounding success owing to the relevant discussions held and the caliber of participants in attendance as well thanks to the support of the Carthage IFilm Festival coordination team. Mokolo wishes to thank its funding partners, the Goethe-Institut and the ACP Program Cultures+, implemented by the ACP Secretariat and funded by the European Union.