Two Batswana creatives join MTF Academy

Refilwe Podi
Refilwe Podi

Batswana creatives, Larona Dichaba and Refilwe Kathleen Onana Podi are the next generation of passionate young film creatives to the (MultiChoice Talent Factory) MTF Academy hubs in Lusaka as part of the Class of 2022.

After a 6-week selection process across 13 African countries, the duo is now part of the 60 aspiring filmmakers representing East Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa. They will begin their 12-month training program at the MTF Academies in October this year. The final candidates were selected after a rigorous interview and adjudication process by film and television experts, as well as regional Academy Directors.

Now in its third year, the MultiChoice Talent Factory has honed the skills of 120 emerging filmmakers in 13 countries across the continents, which are now part of the growing MTF alumni network, taking African stories to the world.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, MTF looked for ways to ensure that the curriculum is still delivered with the expected impact. Critical to this was leveraging relationships with strategic partners when identifying solutions for students. This led to even greater opportunities as the last MTF Academy cohort benefited from an intensive 3-week New York Film Academy (NYFA) online training course. Formulated in partnership with NYFA, this course is now part of the MTF curriculum where the new cohort will learn how to produce micro documentaries, public service announcements, television commercials and music videos.

This type of training broadens their skillset and allows them to be economically active in various sectors, not only the film industry.

“As Africa’s most loved storyteller, our commitment is not only to tell authentic African stories but to also invest in them, that is why some of our alumni are working on M-Net and Showmax productions.

Currently we have alumni in seven countries working on M-Net and Showmax productions and the list keeps growing. They are helping us to realise the vision of taking African stories to the world with a “hyper-local” approach, producing relevant content within the respective regions of our continent, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all strategy,” says CEO of General Entertainment & Connected Video, Yolisa Phahle.

The academy’s curriculum was tailored alongside MultiChoice Africa partner institutions Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos, Kenyatta University in Nairobi, and the University of Zambia in Lusaka, which will respectively confer the course qualification upon completion of the academy programme. In addition, The Henley Business School offers an orientation intervention to the students at the beginning and end of the 12-month programme as well workshops on Business for Creatives focusing on entrepreneurship.

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