RX Africa in association with RX France launch MIP Africa and appoints Sisanda Henna as Chairman of the Advisory Board

Following the successful addition of MIP China and MIP Cancun to the MIP Markets portfolio in recent years, organisers RX Africa in association with RX France have launched MIP Africa – the business-to-business market for film, television, digital content distribution and co-production business in Africa. The event will take centerstage at FAME Week Africa in the Host City of Cape Town from 24 to 26 August 2022.

FAME Week Africa, headlined by MIP Africa, the Cape Town International Animation Festival & Muziki Africa, is the cornerstone of business development for the creative and cultural industries on the continent.

Africa accounts for only 5% of the global market of cultural and creative industries, which according to the UN generates annual revenues of $2.25 trillion and accounts for 30 million jobs worldwide. The situation is changing as African players in the sector are working on initiatives to turn the continent’s potential into growth and jobs. 

FAME Week Africa aims to be the platform to highlight these initiatives and bring African content to the mainstream market. For FAME Week Africa, recently appointed Chairman of the Advisory Board Sisanda Henna, the creative industries are powerful drivers for sustainable and inclusive growth for African economies. “I want to ensure that Africans are players in the market than mere consumers”.

Why MIP Africa

UNESCO published the first complete mapping of Africa’s film and audio-visual industries in 2021, the UN International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development. These industries currently employ an estimated 5 million people and account for US$ 5 billion in GDP across the continent.

The report argues that this potential remains largely untapped despite the significant growth in production across the continent, with Nigeria, for example, producing some 2 500 films a year.

Many aspects of the film and audio-visual industries in Africa remain informal, with only 44 per cent of countries having an established film commission and 55 per cent having a film policy. There is a great potential to grow this sector into a global player.

According to an article which appeared in the 12 January edition of The Hollywood Reporter magazine, “The global investment in African content is part of a broader strategy by studios and streamers to copy the successful Netflix model by producing local content for local audiences”. 

Quoted in the article, Nigerian TV pioneer Mo Abudu, says, “There’s been a shift in audience appetite and a shift, a recognition, by the studios and the screeners, that everyone isn’t your typical white, blond-haired viewer. If streamers want those global subscribers, if they want our money, they must provide the content that this changing world wants.”

And this is what MIP Africa is about –growing the industry and providing platforms for African content to not only to be consumed on the continent but the world.

Who is Sisanda Henna

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, working across a variety of genres in different pillars of the value chain, on the continent and in the United States, celebrated South African filmmaker and international movie star,  Sisanda Henna brings a wealth of knowledge to FAME Week Africa. 

Having served on several industry bodies including being the chairperson for the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO), a board member of the South African Guild of Actors, serving on the Exco of the South African Screen Federation (SASFED), Henna is the perfect person to strategically profile MIP Africa into the leading film and television marketplace for African content.

As a director, Henna has been behind the lens on some of the most celebrated shows in South Africa. Credits include Intersexions II (SABC), Isono (BET Africa), Greed & Desire (Mzansi Magic), Gauteng Maboneng II (as series producer and director, SABC) and he starred and directed the Septimius Awards nominated One Night Kwa Mxolisi (Showmax 2021). 

His peers are united in their praise of Henna’s accomplishments in the industry, hailing him as an innovator who will bring a wealth of experience to FAME Week Africa. Thandi Davids Co-Chair: Independent Producers Organisation | Board Member: Durban Film Mart Institute | Executive Producer: StoryScope says, “Sisanda’s commitment to not only honing his craft as an actor and producer but in actively working in industry structures and organisations to ensure the growth and profile of the film sector is laudable, his clear understanding of the importance of both the creative and business imperatives of our sector sets him up perfectly to undertake this new position”.

Chairman of the South African Guild of Actors, Jack Devnarain agrees, “Sisanda is one of the few industry leaders who has served all the critical links in the production value chain, and SAGA is eager to see him showcase his full potential as an industry ambassador on the African continent and beyond. We look to him to ensure that the growth of this sector includes a fair recognition of performers’ contractual rights so that vulnerable freelance creatives can earn their just rewards.”

His Excellency Wamkele Mene from AfCFTA states, “In a continent with an extraordinary wealth of talent, the creative economy and its industries are strategic sectors with a potential impact on economic growth.  The AfCFTA Agreement will positively contribute to the dynamism of the industry, through the protection of intellectual property rights and a more fluid circulation of artists, therefore promoting the industry and increasing its export potential and the creation of much-desired jobs. Growth in the film and television business across borders is important for the continent and MIP Africa, led by Sisanda Henna, is a key player in this arena”.

For FAME Week Africa’s Event Director, Judy Goddard, the inclusion of MIP Africa as a headline event for FAME Week Africa made perfect sense. “Film and television are a major part of the creative and cultural industries and MIP Africa will bring everything from blockbuster programming to ground-breaking partnerships. We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Sisanda Henna as the driving force behind the success of the first MIP Africa,” says Goddard.

Newly appointed Henna says, “Africa’s big potential lies in a unified Africa as one market. MIP Africa and FAME Week Africa unleashes this potential as the continents cornerstone business and trade event of the year in music, arts, film, television and entertainment businesses. We (Africa) are the powerhouse we and the world has been waiting to experience. Our coming together allows for the greatness the global platforms seek to invest in. This annual event is the ultimate place to close new business, co-productions, collaborations, celebrate new works and discover the best talent on the continent.” 

He adds, “We look forward to partnerships with film commissions, arts ministries and global platforms in welcoming all the players, buyers, producers, creators, distributors, musicians, artists and exhibitors to MIP Africa and Fame Week Africa 2022.”

The Stage is Yours

Whether you’re involved in producing, distributing, financing, or buying film and television content for African audiences, MIP Africa is the content marketplace that will put you face-to-face with people, content and ideas to give your business a new doorway to opportunity.

Africa is brimming with talent. With the influence and reach of African artists and creatives now global due to social media and digital streaming services, the continent’s creative and cultural sector is gaining momentum and interest. FAME Week Africa provides a platform to tap into the continent.

The marketplace is changing. Be part of that change. Be part of FAME Week Africa from the 24 to 26 August at the CTICC in the Host City of Cape Town.