A catalogue of documentary films, a download platform, regular meetings with African channels for a better circulation of African documentaries


Africa in Doc TV has been conceived as an internet platform for the distribution of African documentary films for African televisions. To achieve this goal, a catalogue of about 60 films has been created each year, regular meetings with broadcasters have been organized as well as the accompaniment of partners in the field in order to support the distribution sector.

The action took place over three years in a dozen countries in West, Central and Indian Ocean Africa. “Every year we have created a new film catalogue, met new TVs, strengthened the link with other broadcasters, adapted our strategy to potential advertisers and TVs,” says project coordinator Chantal Tran. “What we think is important to emphasize is that we have a large, innovative project with strong cultural, political and economic challenges. In fact, we were defending and proposing a market for African auteur documentary, whereas the television broadcasts mainly foreign programmes, little or no documentary and no acquisition policy with regard to the documentary. We have been able to propose an economic model adapted to each television. We proved that it is possible to have an African auteur documentary in Africa and to compete with the big distributors. For three years, we have been responsive and adaptable to our different contacts,” she explains.

The first year was devoted to the creation of the platform, the implementation of the first film catalogue, the launch of the strategy with the broadcasters and advertisers and the communication plan with the film markets.

In the second year, the partners re-adapted their strategies to broadcasters and advertisers. "We realised that advertisers were key partners in moving the project forward,” recalls Chantal Tran. “We have also established the second catalogue of films.”

The positive points

After three years of implementation, it is possible to say that the project partners were able to expand their network in the African audiovisual field and acquire skills in the field of film sales, negotiation and sales strategies for the African audiovisual market.

The target group (televisions) were aware of the need to broadcast quality African programmes and African creative documentaries. They also seized the need to generate an economy for the rights holders and therefore to buy these films.

The project was useful to African independent producers by opening them other paths of diffusion, partnership and acquisition of rights.

A mixed constant

The main result of the project was to sell more documentary films to African televisions. “We can say that we have partially achieved our result,” said Charlotte Tran. “Indeed, during the three years of project implementation, we sold approximately 50 films between Telesud, Kolo TV, and Beach Culture. We were able to recognise the real enthusiasm of broadcasters and producers for the necessity of the presence of African auteur documentary within television channels. But according to the countries, we have been victims of political or economic problems.  Broadcasters were prevented to buy. In addition to the economic commitments, there was also a question of novelty, demanding programmes. We therefore asked the broadcasters to be pioneers, to propose a new programme on cultural, citizen, political, environmental and educational issues. And broadcasters were not always ready to "shake up" television habits, take risks, although aware of the richness and challenges of such a programmes. No chain wanted to be the first, each waiting for the other to do it. So our main enemy was time, three years allowed us to push a step, but we think it would have taken a few more years for broadcasters to play the game of novelty, commitment and so create a real slot within their chain for African auteur documentary.”

The annual catalogue of African creative documentary films

The project has enabled the creation of a new catalogue every year. In 2016 the catalogue counted 108 films. The catalogue is a real reference in terms of documentary of African authors, the only one as complete and offering as many films, on as many African countries.

“Our action by its nature aimed at foster cultural diversity, emancipate populations and improve local audiovisual production. In essence, the author's documentary defends the place of the Man, the citizenship, the ecology ... To work to a greater visibility of these films contributes to the emancipation of the populations, to an opening to the world, to the other” , says Chantal Tran.

The internet platform for consultation and downloading for African televisions

From the first year the project allowed the creation of the Africa web platform in Doc TV.

This platform aims to present the catalogue of films in thematic form, a form appreciated by broadcasters. Thanks to this platform, the managers of the channels were able to both view film clips and proceed with the acquisition if necessary. They could download the movies directly when their internet connection allowed them.

December 20, 2017
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