Seychellois film makers meet with Pan African Film Institute executive secretary in Seychelles |12 June 2023
• Focus on having a creative economy
Seychellois film makers had the chance to meet, discuss and learn from the executive secretary of the Pan African Film Institute, Terry Jerry A'Wase, during a two-day workshop held recently at the International Conference Centre (ICCS).
The workshop focused on film making and creative economy and diplomacy and creative economy.
Mr A’Wase works with the division of Culture at the African Union which is based in Addis Ababa. “My visit to your beautiful islands is to target cultural innovation and development, diplomacy and promoting the African Union agenda 2063 among the member states. The purpose of my visit is to discuss possible cooperation between relevant agencies, organisations in Seychelles and the African Film Institute and to look at the potential of setting up an office in Seychelles. The priority should be placed on having a creative economy,” shared Mr A’Wase.
During his visit, he had meetings with the director of the Cultural Institute and other people in the department of Culture to first have a road map.
“We want to evaluate if Seychelles needs a creative economy, what the needs are and have action plans that we will follow. I am seizing the opportunity to hold two master classes with the people in the industry as well as representatives of the government linked to creativity. We want to have an African talk on what is Seychelles missing out on the global front, what can be done, how we can move from the creation, production and marketing of the product,” he shared.
Mr A’Wase was able to analyse the film industry in Seychelles and noted that “Seychelles has the most beautiful environment but we have not done as much as we could have. The biggest movies on environment should have come from here by now. We have 50% of the work done by God the amazing nature/environment and now we need to do the rest.”
The AU has made the decisions and this year in February 2023 they have signed the Host Agreement for the operationalisation of the Temporary Secretariat of the African Audio-visual and Cinema Commission (AACC) at the African Union Commission headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The African Audio-visual and Cinema Commission (AACC) is a specialised agency of the African Union aimed at developing and strengthening Africa’s audio-visual and cinema industry and encouraging the development of appropriate structures at the national, regional and continental levels, enhancing cooperation between African States, providing African wide opportunities for the industry and promoting creativity, innovation, integration, solidarity, respect for shared values, mutual understanding, foster peace and promote a positive image of Africa.
The functions of AACC are the following: the promotion of research on African Audio-visual and Cinema industries; promotion and distribution of African films throughout the continent and internationally; fast tracking the establishment of the African Audio-visual and Cinema Fund as well as providing technical support and advisory services to member states for the formulation and implementation of audio-visual and cinema policies. The AACC is also expected to promote the protection of indigenous knowledge and African oral and written folklore both at the national and continental levels.
The main role of the AACC temporary secretariat will be to advocate for the ratification of the AACC Statute. In order for the Statute to enter into force and for the Commission’s organs to be fully operational it requires fifteen (15) ratifications by member states. To date no member state has ratified this instrument.
What is expected to follow?
Mr A’Wase shared that he believes in making things happen. “Now we believe there will be a collaboration between the African Film Institute and the department responsible for this kind of activity within the government of Seychelles. We will do production movies, songs etc and market on larger markets. Depending on who is driving the project, and after meeting some capable people already we are sure we will be moving forward soon.”
Do we have enough professional equipment to launch on such an international level? From what I have been told, said Mr A’Wase, we are short on that and that’s where the African Institute comes along. To be frank they already exist on the continent and as long as we are working together we will be able to bring them along.”
Do young people get grants from African Union to pursue their ventures in the creative economy? Mr A’Wase categorically clarified that “AU does not fund directly for projects, it deals with policies. AU knows the PAN- African organisations who have been vetted and approved and they send them on ground to fund these partnerships. The division of culture harmonises and coordinates activities and policies across the continent, in order to build further structure and opportunities for using culture for integration and African renaissance, cultural development, promotion of creative and cultural industries. The division works with the member states and development to ensure the implementation of cultural policies that create jobs, promote the continent’s enormous resources and skills, and changes lives. This is why I am here. The aim is to tell our stories ourselves!”
Text & photos by Vidya Gappy