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Bozoma Saint John joins Netflix as Chief Marketing Officer

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Netflix has tapped marketing veteran Bozoma Saint John, a former senior exec at Apple, Uber and most recently Endeavor, as its new CMO, the company announced.

Saint John is Netflix’s third chief marketing officer in less than a year. She replaces Jackie Lee-Joe, the one-time CMO of BBC Studios, who had only been at Netflix for 10 months. According to Netflix, Lee-Joe is exiting the streamer for personal reasons; she has been living in Australia with her family since March since the start of the coronavirus
pandemic. Lee-Joe had been named to succeed former Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett, who announced his retirement from the company last year.Saint John will start at Netflix this August, reporting to chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

“I’m thrilled to join Netflix, especially at a time when storytelling is critical to our global, societal well-being,” Saint John said in a statement. “I feel honored to contribute my experience to an already dynamic legacy, and to continue driving engagement in the future.”

Saint John was born to Rev. Dr. Appianda Arthur and Aba Arthur in the United States but moved to Ghana at 6 months old.The family returned to the United States and settled in Colorado Springs, Colorado when she was 12. Her father was a clarinet player and member of the Ghana Army before emigrating to the United States to attend graduate school

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Bisa Kdei working on a new song with UK rapper Ivorian Doll

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Ghanaian highlife singer, Bisa Kdei has shared photos of himself working in a studio with British rapper Vanessa Mahi, popularly known as Ivorian Doll. (more…)

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Showmax calls for pitches for 10 live action films from first-time African filmmakers

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On the opening day of The Joburg Film Festival, Showmax released an open commissioning brief to the African film industry calling for pitches for a slate of 10 live action films.
The African streamer has won the South African Film and Television Awards’ Made-for-TV Movie Award for two years in a row, first with Loving Thokoza and then with Boxing Day, the first two feature films from Mandla N. In addition, another Showmax film, Kelsey Egan’s debut feature, Glasshouse, was the most awarded feature film overall at the SAFTAs last year, with five Golden Horns.
The new brief, in partnership with the Joburg Film Festival, is aimed at finding new talent and opening up the industry. The proposals must have a first draft screenplay and be set in contemporary Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa, with a first-time director attached who is a resident or citizen in those countries. All official Ghanaian, Kenyan, Nigerian and South African languages are welcome and the final films should be more than 40m, in line with the SAFTAs Best Made-for-TV Movie Award category.
“Showmax’s audience prefers local content, with seven of the ten most streamed titles in South Africa, eight of the top 10 titles in Kenya and Nigeria, and nine of the top 10 in Ghana last year being African,” says Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Showmax and Connected Video at MultiChoice. “Making your first film is a key turning point in any director’s career. So this brief is another way we are trying to empower local filmmakers to tell their own stories for their own communities in their own languages. We’re looking for authentic stories that will resonate with our local audiences. Popular genres like romcoms, family dramas and thrillers are always welcome.”
Submissions are now open on https://submissions.mnetcorporate.co.za/channel/showmax; entries close on 1 April 2023. The selected projects will be announced in the second half of 2023 and screened on Showmax in 50 countries across sub-Saharan Africa in 2024.
Pitches should take the form of a video pitch in English of no more than five minutes. This video pitch should include short bios of the writer, director and producer; a concise summary of the story, including the ending; an introduction to your lead characters; and a discussion of your chosen genre and stylistic approach, with visual references.
For inspiration, watch Mandla N’s Showmax x Actor Spaces directing masterclass here:
For more about Joburg Film Festival, visit www.joburgfilmfestival.co.za.
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Mr Eazi calls out Bad Bunny over song theft

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Mr Eazi has taken to social media to call out Bad Bunny over a song theft. (more…)

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Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu reportedly ‘trapped in rubble’ after earthquake in Turkey

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Ghanaian Footballer Christian Atsu is reportedly among those trapped after an earthquake hit Turkey. (more…)

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South Africa’s Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini & Nomcebo Zikode win Grammy Best Global Music Performance

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South Africa’s Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini & Nomcebo Zikode have  won the 2023 Grammy award for Best Global Music Performance for Bayethe. (more…)

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Idris Elba attends Akwasidae in Asante Kingdom

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Idris Elba attends Akwasidae in Asante Kingdom

British actor of Ghanaian and Senegalese heritage, Idris Elba has paid homage to the Ashanti King, Otumfour Osei Tutu II as he attended Akwasidae at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.

The Akwasidae Festival is celebrated by the Ashanti people and chiefs in Ashanti, as well as the Ashanti diaspora. The festival is celebrated on a Sunday, once every six weeks.

Earlier in the week, Elba revealed that he and his partners have undertaken some groundwork aimed at facilitating the building of a film studio in Ghana and across West Africa.

Speaking to President Akufo-Addo during a visit to the Jubilee House, the actor explained that although so much can be achieved in the film industry in Africa, facilities are lacking.

Hence, Idris Elba is convinced that the project, when completed, will be robust and competitive to attract filmmakers to choose Ghana for their productions.

“Currently, we call it West African Studios, but that’s a working title. We’ve been working on this for three or four years to raise a plan that puts a facility at the centre of African filmmaking. There’s a lot for African filmmaking, but the facilities are lacking.”

Idris Elba added that although their plans are in place, they believe that there needs to be policies that would encourage filmmakers to make the trip to Ghana and other West African countries.

He stated that in their preparations and research, they put together the parameters for the policy, adding that they sought to understand what international filmmakers need from Ghana.

The ‘Beast of No Nation’ actor stated that without the policy framework, the country can have as many film studios as possible, but it will not attract filmmakers.

“We realized that policy is where the actual groundwork needs to be laid. We’ve studied the models of South Africa, incredible incentive packages, Greece, Morocco and these are all places where they realize the value of the filmmaking and they’ve brought that policy into play.”

“National Film Authority has done the work and put together a very comprehensive plan to propel Ghana into the forefront. It needs to be robust and competitive to the rest of the world. We believe for sure that Ghana should step up in terms of attracting those filmmakers. I’ve come and seen you and presented to you essentially, just the parameters of what we need to do.”

President Akufo-Addo assured Idris Elba that the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is developing a policy framework to guide filmmaking in the country.

He advised that the director of the Creative Arts Agency will liaise with the Tourism Minister to look through the proposal presented, in relation to what the Ministry is doing to ensure there are no gaps.

He stated that this will ensure the film industry has a comprehensive document that guides their activities.

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