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The South African Film Summit took place on the 4th – 5th February at Skyrink Studios, Johannesburg. Representatives from Known Associates Entertainment (KAE) were in attendance with fellow local and African filmmakers, audio-visual professionals and key stakeholders to discuss the “critical factors that will distinctly position and brand the South African Film and Television industry within the global context”. The 2-day programme allowed for robust conversations on how we can better prepare, adapt and understand global digital changes affecting the local film and television industry. These changes affect us all and KAE sees itself at the forefront of this transformation.

When we started Known Associates Entertainment in 2018, we set out to build a production company with a difference. One that is open to the digital revolution of SVOD platforms and responsive to the international film and television market demands. Our development slate is geared towards meeting these demands by producing content made in South Africa that speaks to far reaching audiences within the African diaspora and global market.

For example, our drama series, Desert Run is representative of this objective. Developed over the past six months, we are excited to see on which platform it will eventually find distribution. The six-part series about four young immigrant American gamers whose lives are turned upside down when they are recruited as trainee pilots for a counter-terrorism program operating out of the world’s largest military drone base in Niger, Central Africa is one of the many stories we have developed to be shot in South Africa yet has diverse appeal for international and African audiences.

From left to right: Joel Phiri (Chairman, Known Associates Entertainment), Dan Jawitz (CEO, Known Associates Entertainment), Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda (Filmmaker). Seated: Tshepiso Sello (Director of Marketing and Communications, Known Associates Entertainment).

It is an integral part of the KAE ethos to have Africa represented in our story building and recruitment process. So, when the Film Summit took place last week, we were privileged to engage with Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda a renowned filmmaker from the DRC who had been invited to South Africa to the Summit by the Department of Arts and Culture and who is producing an SA-Kenya-Nigerian-France co-production this year entitled Matigari. Soon after the summit, we met with Balufu and embarked on a marathon creative session where we brainstormed innovative ways to tell stories in the new age of African Rom-com.

We had  great fun and an exciting exchange of wisdom. We look forward to a possible collaboration with Balufu and hope to engage with more local, African and global creatives and key stakeholders on future projects. As the year goes into full swing, we are convinced more than ever that our local industry’s digital transformation will not happen in isolation but in step with developments across the globe.

Till next time,

The Known Associates Entertainment team.

Are you a distributor? You can request for the Desert Run pitch deck and bible here:

Are you keen on getting involved in any of our projects? You are welcome to send us your CV or say a simple hello here:

Header Picture courtesy of OTT Professional

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