On Wednesday 25th October, H.E Mr Christophe Farnaud, Ambassador of France to South Africa, launched the second edition of Digital Lab Africa at DISCOP Johannesburg.
The Digital Lab Africa call for projects is now open until 25 February 2018
H.E Mr Christophe Farnaud, Ambassador of France to South Africa
(c) Daylin Paul
“Digital Lab Africa is a bet. It’s a bet on the digital projects in Africa and on African young talent”, said H.E Mr Farnaud. He thanked the DLA#2 partners in attendance at the Press Conference such as Olivier Laouchez, CEO of TRACE, Christophe Thoral, CEO of Lagardère Studios, and the new South African partners such as Triggerfish and African Animation Network.
This year, each of the selected projects will have both French and African mentorship, so that they’ll be able to benefit from “the expertise of two different ecosystems,” according to Erika Denis, Regional Head of Media, Film & Music (French Embassy/French Institute in South Africa)
“What we are trying to achieve is to create a real network and allow those projects to get strong visibility internationally —not only in the French market,” added Erika Denis.
Patrick Zuchowicki, CEO of DISCOP and Digital Lab Africa partner, pointed out this “great initiative that has a great future”, and reminded that “there is hope, talent and creativity” in the African continent, despite of the industry’s difficulties.
Two winning incubated projects from DLA#1 have been presented at DISCOP: Area Daddy by Ayodele Elegba was represented by its producer Alexandre Rideau, from Keewu Production (Lagardère Studios). He described Area Daddy as “the African Simpsons”, who shows “the intergenerational struggles inside a family”. Alexandre gave feedback on the residence time of Ayodele in France, where he met a lot of key players in the media & TV industry such as TV5, Gulli, Canal +. The duo was also invited to Annecy International Animation Festival to present their animated web series project.
John DeVries and Greg Kriek, DLA#1 winners of the Transmedia category with their web series Reborn : The Triptych, gave insights on what the support of Digital Lab Africa meant for their project: “In the space of less than 12 months, it’s been an incredible journey for us.” DeVries explained the project’s specificity in terms of digital innovation: “we try to create a degree of interactivity that takes the user experience with digital media to the next level. Interactivity is no longer a gimmick, that’s something inside the narrative”.
Last edition winners John DeVries & Greg Kriek
(c) Daylin Paul
On Thursday 26, Erika Denis presented with Prof. Barry Dwolatzky the new partnership between Digital Lab Africa and the University of Witwatersrand. Inside the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein, this partnership aims to create an incubator dedicated to digital technologies for students, new start-ups or young entrepreneurs. “Johannesburg is at the heart of our economy, and if Africa is going to play a role in the fourth industrial revolution, then we, as Africans, have to become innovators and creators of the technological content that will lie at the heart of digital revolution”, said Professor Barry. The incubator will focus on three main objectives: skills development, entrepreneurship and innovation, and small business acceleration.
Prof. Barry Dwolatzky (Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct)
(c) Daylin Paul