SAA to screen African films on long haul flights

16 July 2015

South African Airways (SAA) this week launches the African Choices Film Festival on board its wide-body fleet’s in-flight entertainment systems.

The festival was aimed at exposing African filmmaking to a potential global audience of approximately two million annual travellers on all SAA’s international routes, the airline said on 14 July. The festival comes in the wake of an African Choices test phase that delivered encouraging feedback from passengers.

Features will be screened by filmmakers from Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Kenya.

“There is a myriad of talent in Africa,” said SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali, “and as a carrier with global reach and a platform to showcase the continental film industry, SAA is well positioned to support Africa’s immense cultural wealth.”

The national carrier would sustain African Choices throughout the year and seek out titles from all the African destinations to which it flies.

Big benefits

Showcasing African filmmaking would bring benefits well beyond attracting new audiences.

“More than just showcasing the talent we hold on the continent, African Choices will serve as a photobook of African location potential for international filmmakers as well as indicating that the necessary support services are available, indirectly creating new opportunities both for skills development and sharing as well as commercially,” Tlali said.

The potential of sectors such as filmmaking and other cultural activities to contribute to local economies has been well documented, and can be seen in Cape Town, the centre of the film industry in South Africa.

Over three years to the middle of June 2014, the film industry had created more than 35 000 jobs and contributed approximately R5-billion to the economy, according to Garreth Bloor, the Cape Town mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development.

“The film production sector adds value to a wide range of additional sectors in the local economy by creating a demand for products and services – with particularly strong links to the tourism sector,” he said.

The industry also showcased Cape Town, its diversity of locations, technical film capacity and talent. Cape Town was a popular filming location, which provided value-added marketing and investment collateral for the city and the country.

Tlali added: “The importance of developing audiences while also propagating the attraction of producing titles in Africa holds widespread benefit. Sectors such as tourism, catering, logistics and hospitality benefit particularly small to medium enterprises, while a well-developed industry affords several employment opportunities.”

SAA’s African Choices will screen on its in-flight entertainment service on all wide- bodied flights in- and outbound on its international network from this week.

During July, passengers can watch Die Windpomp, Elelwani, Traitors, Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux and Die Spook van Uniondale from South Africa, as well as Des Etoiles from Senegal; Mke Mchafu from Tanzania; and B for Boy and The Entrapped from Nigeria.

Other movies to be screened are the US Nollywood films When One Door Closes and Shameful Deceit, which are American and Nigerian collaborations, as well as the South African television series Ashes to Ashes and The Mating Game.

SAinfo reporter