From Saint-Louis to Tamatave, a training and support programme for producers of African documentary films

“Tënk” is a Wolof word meaning “summary”, equivalent to “pitch” practiced in the cinema: African directors present their film project, accompanied by their African producer and the trainer who followed them during their writing residency. Tënk was at the heart of the Africadoc Production project, set up by Ardèche Images, in association with Endémika Films (Madagascar), Dakar Images (Senegal), Les Films de l'Atelier (Senegal) and Lumière du Monde (France).

A first activity of the project consisted in carrying out trainings for professionals in production. From February 2014 to December 2016, Ardèche Images and its Senegalese and Malagasy partners organised 6 training sessions of 5 weeks each, aimed at young producers from West, Central and Eastern Africa. These training sessions were held each year in April-May in Tamatave (Madagascar), and in November-December in Saint-Louis (Senegal), and also benefited the authors of the film projects intended to be produced by the producers in training.

“The impact of the training is visible. The trained producers are now able to develop other projects in parallel. Thus, a more constant production of documentary films should gradually be born. As films are made more regularly, the result is the development of a sustainable environment for technicians (sound, image, editing) of documentaries in West, Central and Eastern Africa. In addition to this aspect of capacity development and networking, we have had concrete cases of business creation, such as in Comoros and Mali, where two producers created their production company after the training”, explains Dominique Olier, the coordinator of the project.

Each training session started 4 weeks before one of the “Tënk Coproduction Meetings” of Tamatave (Madagascar), then of Saint-Louis (Senegal). These meetings allowed the authors, accompanied by the producers in training, to present their project of documentary films in front of a panel of African and European professionals (producers, broadcasters, institutional).

“The results and the impact of these meetings go beyond our expectations,” says Dominique Olier. Out of the 18 projects that were presented at the Tënk Tamatave Co-production Meetings, 16 found a co-producer, 12 of which also have a broadcaster. Out of these 16 projects, 5 projects are in co-production with trainees of the Africadoc Production training, out of a total of 6 trainees. Four of these projects obtained a co-production agreement from one of the TV partners (TV Fil 78, TV Rennes or Réunion Première).

Out of the 21 projects that were presented at the Tënk Co-production Meeting in Saint-Louis, 14 projects are now in co-production, including 9 documentary film projects with trainees from the Africadoc Production course, out of a total of 11 trainees in training. Six co-production agreements have been developed with 8 producers in training.

The second activity consisted of the setting up of a nursery of audiovisual production companies in Saint-Louis of Senegal. After a long search for suitable premises in Saint-Louis, in April 2017 the nursery gradually welcomed the 5 beneficiary structures.

This collective structure aims to accompany each year six production companies in creation and / or professionalization. The young producers will be able to develop film projects on which they worked in training and / or that they presented at the Tënk Co-production Meeting of Saint-Louis. A place will also be reserved for a Senegalese associative structure involved in audiovisual production, education or diffusion of documentary films.

For reasons of budget and artistic and intellectual coherence, the choice of the venue was “Le Château”, a research, training and multidisciplinary residency, as well as a place of diffusion with open programming at intercultural and inter-artistic debate: the Contemporary Dance Company Diagn'Art manages this cultural centre.

“Originally, we imagined that a Senegalese production professional would be in charge of coordinating and administering the nursery to support young producers,” explains Dominique Olier. “Unfortunately, none of those approached was sufficiently available in Saint-Louis to provide this coordination function. Finally, in view of the experience of the Diagn'Art team in cultural project management, we decided to entrust the administrative support part to a member of their team: Maguette Dieye”.

On the more specific level of educational support to audiovisual production, the cohabitation, within the nursery of St. Louis, of more experienced producers with young producers will allow a kind of companionship between production companies.

Finally, the existence of the “Production” option within the “Creative Documentary” Master 2 of the Gaston Berger University led to the regular attendance in Saint-Louis of trainers in audiovisual production. These will ensure regular contact between the nursery and the associations Ardèche Images / Docmonde6. These external interventions will be opportunities for personalised professional exchanges with the producers of the nursery.

To finish, the project allowed the publication of a professional repertoire. After compilation of all the data over 3 years, the publication of the producers’ directory was done in February 2017. This directory was notably presented and distributed during the stocktaking press conference of the Africadoc Production project which was held during FESPACO on March 2, 2017 (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso). This directory is a tool that collects data on all 47 producers of the training programme and on more experienced producers. It brings together and makes more accessible the network of independent producers of creative documentary films in Africa.


For more "best practices" of the ACPCultures+ Programme, visit THIS PAGE 

November 30, 2017
© copyright 2012 : ECO3 S.P.R.L. -