The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.

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Director/Directrice, Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema | Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinéma

19 October 2017

Angela Aquereburu : Producing realistic, original, universal African stories | Produire des histories africaines authentiques, originales, universelles

Image: YouTube - Africa Salons
Angela Aquereburu : Producing realistic, original, universal African stories | Produire des histories africaines authentiques, originales, universelles 

English [Français ci-après]

Angela Aquereburu and her partner Jean-Luc Rabatel, who are based in Lomé, Togo, wear many hats: scriptwriting, directing, producing, distributing… They founded the audio-visual production company, Yobo Studios (originally Caring International) in 2009, which specialises in fiction with a focus on short-format mini-series. It was Angela’s father, an older-timer of Togolese television, who suggested to the couple to bring their content to the local scene, in order to give a much-needed change from the telenovelas and American sitcoms that inundated the Togolese channels. Moreover, she stresses the importance of audiovisual programming as a vital tool to transmit strong messages regarding health, ecology and democracy to the general public. 

As an objective of Yobo Studios is to provide original and exportable programmes and bring a different perspective regarding Africa, Angela and Jean-Luc have worked with DISCOP Africa, whose platform has become an integral part of Yobo Studios’ goals. As its website indicates, “DISCOP markets help entertainment content producers, sellers and buyers connect, build relationships, pitch projects and make deals in Africa and the Middle East.” In an interview with Africa Salons at the closing of DISCOP Abidjan 2016, Angela recalls that around ten years ago the audio-visual sector in African was hard hit and to have content visibility was difficult. She notes for instance, that because of the high cost of transportation, to meet people from South Africa, Cameroon and elsewhere was a bit difficult. Hence, with DISCOP there was an opportunity to bring together professionals—audio-visual producer, cable operator, television distributor—to network throughout Africa.

Yobo Studios’ early success, the fiction mini-series Zem, has led to others, notably, the recently produced Hospital IT, a medical dramedy produced in 2017. There are several projects on the horizon: a television programme devoted to women, a feature film with a woman protagonist, an English-language film, among others.

In addition to an interest in producing realistic stories about everyday African experiences to present to the African public, Angela wants also to distribute her films more broadly in order to make them visible on the international scene. She explains in ForbesAfrica: "To make content exportable, you need a universal story, good actors, beautiful images, good music and to respect international broadcast codes.”

English text is drawn from French-language sources below.

Français : Cet article s’est appuyé sur les sources suivants :

Interview Angela Aquereburu (Yobo Studios) lors du salon Discop - par Africa Salons

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