14 January 2020
Renowned film school, the New York Film Academy opened its doors to MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) alumni Mainala Silondwa (Zambia), Gilbert Bassey (Nigeria) and Hillary “Hillax” Lanogwa (Kenya).
The alumni, one from each of MultiChoice Talent Factory’s three campuses in West, East and Southern Africa, were selected as top of their classes for the prestigious full-tuition award. Mainala is a director and screenwriter who co-wrote the screenplay for final-year MTF student film, ‘The Painting’ whilst Hillax is a cinematographer who was a camera operator for MTF student films ‘Ensulo’ and ‘Promises’. Gilbert is a producer, director and editor who was assistant director on MTF student film ‘Dreamchaser’, which he also composed all of the music for.
Part of the inaugural MTF cohort, the Class of 2019 – Mainala and Hillary travelled to the US to participate in the New York Film Academy (NYFA) eight-week filmmaking workshop whilst Gilbert will start the programme at a later date. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity expands on MTF’s mission to empower emerging filmmakers through training, skills and creative development.
“All of us at the New York Film Academy are extremely proud to have MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy’s special award alumni Mainala Silondwa, Hillary Lanogwa and Gilbert Bassey join us in January for their 8-week filmmaking workshops at NYFA’s New York City Campus. These astonishingly talented filmmakers – who each have the passion and commitment to become creative professionals – will certainly excel in our programs, which will immerse them in NYFA’s philosophy of hands-on intensive learning. On behalf of the New York Film Academy I want to welcome Mainala, Hillary and Gilbert to follow your passion and join us here at NYFA,” says Jim Miller, NYFA Vice President.
As the MultiChoice Africa’s flagship Corporate Social Value (CSV) initiative, MTF Academy’s 12-month training programme is distinctly designed to train the next generation of African film and TV creatives in partnership with stakeholders across the continent and globe. One such international partner is the New York Film Academy. “Through strategic partnerships with widely acclaimed institutions such as the New York Film Academy, Africa’s creative industries are enriched through skills sharing and exposure to global best practice. We’re excited for our Alumni and we hope that this opportunity will empower them to tell authentic African stories to a global audience,” says Reatile Tekateka, Executive Head of Corporate Affairs, MultiChoice Africa.
“This is so exciting! New York Film Academy has produced some of the most prolific filmmakers, so this scholarship is an opportunity I cannot wait to take. I am expecting a challenge because at the end of the day, the United States has one of the most established film industries. So, I want to give myself the chance to now start directing more content. This will be a great platform for me to put my best foot forward, as well as to make mistakes. I think that is how I will learn.” – Mainala Silondwa
“I cried tears of joy when I was awarded this scholarship. I feel like I’m living my dream. I major in cinematography, so I want to find out more about the cinematography in Hollywood, as well as wider film practices in the US. We’ve heard so many stories about big production in US, so I am looking forward to experiencing it hands-on, networking with students, and bringing all that I learn back home, so that I can share it with colleagues and friends in Africa.” – Hillary Lanogwa
“It’s the first time that I will travelling out of Nigeria, and it is to do something that I love. I look forward to what this will bring to my career – it’s undoubtedly a big step on the path to mastery. Being a part of Multichoice Talent Factory was a solid experience, so this, I believe, will build on that. I’m looking forward to learning more about production and the business of filmmaking, such as using the little that we have to push us forward. Because, at the end of the day, Hollywood is our competition and as African filmmakers, we have to level up in so many ways. So, I’m hoping the NYFA scholarship will actualize that levelling up.” – Gilbert Bassey
Divided between hands-on instruction in class and production, the workshop at NYFA is designed for creatives who wish to study the craft of filmmaking in an intensive environment, and challenges students to produce five films over a period of two months. During the last four weeks of the programme, each student writes, directs, and edits a final film of up to ten minutes. These films will be showcased at a screening in New York, and students who successfully complete the workshop receive a NYFA certificate and a digital master copy of all their projects
A critical platform for film and TV creatives, the New York Film Academy has lent support to African content creators by hosting workshops across the continent and names African film and TV stars such as Banky Wellington, Kemi Adesoye and Natasha Thahane, among its star-studded list of African alums. Continuing its efforts to fortify film development internationally as well as its ongoing partnership with MultiChoice Africa, NYFA will add these rising video entertainment creatives to their alumni network.