Ecobank Foundation Supports African Film Industry

The 2019 Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision Ougadougou (FESPACO) festival runs from 23rd February until 2nd March in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso

The Ecobank Foundation ( is delighted to honour the African film portraying the most positive image of the continent, at the prestigious 2019 Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision Ougadougou (FESPACO).

The 2019 FESPACO festival runs from 23rd February until 2nd March in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso. The festival is held every two years and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Organised by the Government of Burkina Faso, FESPACO is regarded as the most important film and cultural event on the African continent.

“It is a real honour for the Ecobank Foundation to sponsor such an important prize at this stellar film festival in Ougadougou,” says Carl Manlan, Chief Operating Officer of the Ecobank Foundation. “Africa’s film industry is enjoying ever increasing global attention and acclaim, and we place great importance in providing public recognition to the film which best portrays the positivity of Africa. The Sembène Ousmane special prize will be awarded to the film which most reflects Ecobank’s value of dignity, honour and good governance.”

Named after one of French-speaking luminary African creative writers, the Ecobank Foundation has been sponsoring the Sembène Ousmane special prize since 2007. This year the following industry experts will select the winning film: Denise Epoté (Chair of the jury and Regional Director Africa of TV5 Monde), Clarence Delgado (filmmaker and former assistant of Sembène Ousmane), Cheick Oumar Cissoko (filmmaker and former Minister of Culture of Mali), and Issa Soma (journalist). The winner of the prize will receive XOF 5,000,000 and a bronze trophy, representing the bust of Sembène Ousmane.

This year, over 400 movies will be screened at the festival of which 20 are taking part in the official competition. The special prize awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 28 February. The overall winner of the festival will be announced during the closing ceremony on Saturday 2 March.

About the Ecobank Foundation

The Ecobank Foundation ( was created to positively impact the lives of people across Africa. Established by the Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African bank, the Foundation is positioned to contribute towards the continent’s transformation, particularly in the communities in which the bank operates.

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)

Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1988, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) ( is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.

Ecobank Foundation



How Two Isibaya And Isithembiso SAFTA Nominees Got Their Break

Corporate social investment rarely delivers, right? These Isibaya and Isithembiso SAFTA nominees would argue otherwise

Corporate social investment programmes are often treated with a healthy dose of cynicism. It’s the kind of thing that looks good in a company’s annual report, but how often do these schemes deliver real-world benefits? The recent announcement of the SAFTA nominations shows in the entertainment industry at least, corporate social investment does indeed have a role to play.

Mbali Zulu and Charleen Ntsane are both writers on popular TV shows, and both were members of teams nominated for South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA). They’ve also got another thing in common – both are graduates of a corporate-sponsored development programme. Mbali’s and Charleen’s stories are interesting case studies into how corporate social investment (CSI) can genuinely help individuals and at the same time pay dividends to the companies that sponsor them.

Charleen Ntsane has been a core member of the youth telenovela Isithembiso writing team since the show began in 2017. Prior to her storyliner and scriptwriting position at the film and television production company Bomb Shelter, Charleen took part in MultiChoice’s M-Net Magic in Motion Academy.

The Academy, which has been running since 2015, gives participants experience in key areas of TV and film creation including commissioning, scriptwriting, concept creation, producing, directing, cinematography, sound, art direction, editing, post-production and broadcasting.

Talking about what the Academy did for her, Charleen said:

“The Magic in Motion Academy seeks out people who’ve studied in the TV and film field but haven’t yet got a full time job in the industry. They gave me exactly what I needed – actual solid working experience – to bridge the gap between studying and employment. I’m over the moon that just a year afterwards I’m part of a team nominated for a SAFTA for best achievement in scriptwriting.”

Mbali Zulu has a similar story. After leaving the Academy, she also went to work for Bomb Shelter as a storyliner and scriptwriter, in this case for Isibaya.

“In my first year writing on Isibaya, I was nominated for a SAFTA. It was a surreal and unexpected experience. But it let me know that I was on the right track in my career. To get this second nomination for my contributions in the writing room – I feel so grateful. So so so grateful. So many creatives are struggling to get into the industry. If it were not for the Magic In Motion Academy, I know for certain that I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

After leaving the Academy, Mbali has worked on eight films, two of which are currently in post-production. She was also part of a team which successfully pitched for a 13-part series that’s due to air soon on Mzansi Magic.

Speaking about why they decided to start the Magic in Motion Academy, MultiChoice CEO for General Entertainment Yolisa Phahle said:

“The best possible world for CSI is where doing something good for society intersects with helping your own industry – and by supporting promising TV and film students in the transition to meaningful employment we’re doing both. Africa has incredible TV and film talent and I’m a firm believer that there’s world-wide demand for well-told African stories. There’s no question that I get a kick from seeing our graduates up for awards, but I’m probably even more excited that the pool of skilled professionals producing original African content is even larger than before thanks to the Academy.”

To date, more than 1200 episodes of Isibaya and more than 400 episodes of Isithembiso have been filmed. They are available to stream on

The SAFTA awards ceremony takes place on 2 March. MultiChoice was the most-nominated company with its productions receiving more than 150 nominations. For more information on the Magic in Motion Academy, visit


Oscars® Round 4: Eleven Unique Talents Introduce Best Pictures

Chef José Andrés, Dana Carvey, Queen Latifah, Congressman John Lewis, Diego Luna, Tom Morello, Mike Myers, Trevor Noah, Amandla Stenberg, Barbra Streisand and Serena Williams

Highly recognized talents from various walks of life, will introduce the eight Best Picture nominees on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, announced show producer Donna Gigliotti and co-producer and director Glenn Weiss. The Oscars® airs live on the ABC Television Network, and is broadcast in more than 225 countries and territories.

“Movies connect us all,” said Gigliotti and Weiss. “They move us, and they create moments and memories that unite us. We are thrilled to assemble this well-known array of film lovers to introduce and share their reflections on the Best Picture-nominated movies.”

Over 40 award presenters have been previously announced. Amandla Stenberg was among them, and now joins the Best Picture introductions.

The presenters are:

Elsie Fisher, Danai Gurira, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Keaton, Helen Mirren, John Mulaney, Tyler Perry, Pharrell Williams, Krysten Ritter, Paul Rudd and Michelle Yeoh.

Javier Bardem, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Emilia Clarke, Laura Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, Stephan James, Keegan-Michael Key, KiKi Layne, James McAvoy, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Momoa and Sarah Paulson.

Awkwafina, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Tina Fey, Allison Janney, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lopez, Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Amy Poehler, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Charlize Theron, Tessa Thompson and Constance Wu.

The 91st Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.


Nickelodeon And Wimpy Bring The 2019 Kids’ Choice Awards

In an industry first, Nickelodeon Africa and Wimpy have joined forces to bring South African families the 2019 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards (KCA) a little closer to home. This year, one South African family of four will be heading to Los Angeles to get the full Nickelodeon KCA experience on 23 March 2019.

Slime and fun on the Orange Carpet

The Nickelodeon KCA is one of the most iconic events in the Nickelodeon calendar and sees some of the world’s biggest names descending on Los Angeles to get slimed and receive awards from their greatest fans: the children of the world.

Children get to vote for their favourite entertainers in traditional categories like Male Singer and Movie Actress, but also more original categories like Favourite Instagram Pet, Buttkicker, Frenemies and Biggest Slime of the Night. As is tradition, the iconic green slime features in bucket-loads, with names like John Cena, Tina Fey, Pink, Katy Perry, Harrison Ford and David Beckham all having been at the receiving end of the slime.

This year, thanks to Wimpy and Nickelodeon, one family of four will travel to Los Angeles to get the full Nickelodeon and Hollywood experience. This includes attending the fun event in March together with a full day pass to Universal Studios Hollywood, and the Nickelodeon Animation Studios in LA. All the competition details are available on the Nickelodeon Africa website.

“The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards really empowers children because it gives them the chance to say who their favourite stars of the year are, from sports to music and entertainment. It gives kids the vote, and takes them seriously, with fun and laughter filled consequences for the stars themselves,” says Tasania Parsadh, Nickelodeon Africa Channel Director at Viacom International Media Networks Africa.“Our partnership with Wimpy has made this dream possible, and we can’t wait to take one lucky family to the awards this year.”

Entrenched in South Africa’s culture, Wimpy is the best-loved and largest franchised sit-down restaurant in the country. For the past 50 years, the brand has inspired families to create shared moments over meals.

“The Nickelodeon KCA has become an epic and fun-packed awards event that children across the globe look forward to on an annual basis. We are thrilled to join forces with Nickelodeon Africa to give the winning family an opportunity to experience this once-in-a-lifetime fun and festivity filled experience first-hand,” says Jacques Cronje, Marketing Executive at Wimpy.

The 2019 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards campaign with Wimpy creates the opportunity to enter into the heart of South African households with wholesome fun and entertainment.

Partnering together for greater impact

As one of the media powerhouses on the continent, VIMN Africa’s partner-led approach will create an engagement led campaign experience for children and families alike. This particular partnership with Wimpybuilds on the success of similar projects that have been undertaken such as Nickelodeon’s Toy Sprint in conjunction with Toys ‘R Us and the sold-out annual NickFest with Maltina in association with DStv & Indomie, supported by Nunu Milk and Cussons Baby in Nigeria.

This partnership forms part of VIMN Africa’s 360-degree approach to working alongside leading brands. Offering partners value that extends beyond ad space and airtime to develop a client centred joint strategy with a long-term growth path. The key commercial focus for the VIMN Africa brand family comprising Nickelodeon, NickToons, Nick Jr, BET, Comedy Central, MTV and MTV Base are brand strengths and continental reach which create engaging content and experiences for audiences and consumers.


The Return Of The Dashing Detective William Murdoch

Yannick Bisson and Daniel Maslany

Set in Toronto at the dawn of the 20th century, Murdoch Mysteries is a one-hour drama series that explores the intriguing world of William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), a methodical and dashing detective who pioneers innovative forensic techniques to solve some of the city’s most gruesome murders.

Series twelve of this hugely popular ITV CHOICE show premieres on the channel (DStv 123) on Tuesday, March 5 at 20:00. Each week will see two episodes played back to back for nine weeks.

Murdoch’s circle of associates includes Constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris), Murdoch’s eager and often naïve right-hand man; Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig), Murdoch’s sceptical yet reluctantly supportive boss; and the love of his life, pathologist-turned-psychiatrist Dr. Julia Ogden (Hélène Joy), a staunch ally who shares the detective’s fascination with forensic science and innovative ideas. All are valuable allies who help Murdoch solve his varied cases and traverse the many stratums of Victorian-turned-Edwardian society.

In the first episode, called Murdoch Mystery Mansion, Murdoch and Ogden’s new house -designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright – is rocked by an explosion that claims a man’s life. (Guest starring in the episode is Sophie McShera who played Daisy Mason in Downton Abbey.)

This is followed by episode two – My Big Fat Mimico Wedding – in which Murdoch, Ogden, Crabtree and Brackenreid attend Higgins’ and Ruth Newsome’s wedding where a guest repeatedly tries to kill the groom!

There really is never a dull moment in Murdoch Mysteries!