The Export Success of Black Cast Films from Africa
Why are so many black cast films from Africa travelling so well and going top 10 in so many majority white audience markets? This panel aims to unpack how global storytellers and producers can take advantage of this recently discovered opportunity in the region and the global demand for diversity in film and television content, both in front of and behind the camera.
Pascal Schmitz, Head of Development, AAA Entertainment
Mayenzeke Baza, Head of Distribution, AAA Entertainment
Sunni Faba, Script Writer
Nnegest Likké, Writer, Director, “Phat Girlz,” “Everything But A Man,” “Ben & Ara,”
Tracey-Lee Rainers, Story Consultant, Stiletto Entertainment
Mayenzeke BazaHead of Distribution, AAA Entertainment
Mayenzeke Baza is the Head Of Distribution & Financing at AAA Entertainment a film and television sales, distribution and financing company based out of Johannesburg, Hangzhou, and Lagos. Mayenzeke was selected as one of Mzansi’s 100 by The Young Independents as an Innovator as well as being nominated and selected as on of the Top 40 under 40 young business people in Mandela Bay, the city he previously lived in. Through AAA Entertainment and Mandela Bay Pictures, his work pushes innovation in both production, sales and distribution across South Africa, the continent, and the world, from TV and cinema to new mobile content.
Nnegest Likké is an internationally based, multi-award-winning writer-directorproducerwith over 15 years working in Hollywood.
She got her start in the entertainment industry after one of her screenplays gained
the attention of a top Hollywood Producer who helped launch her career. She sold
her first script to Sony Studios and her career blossomed from there into writing
for both film and television, in Hollywood and abroad.
She’s worked with Oscar winning actors and producers, in Europe and Africa,
creating and producing content and also consulting.
Her directorial debut, Phat Girlz, starring Academy Award winner, Mo’Nique was
distributed by Fox Searchlight and instantly became a cult classic with international
audiences. Phat Girlz was followed by the award-winning feature drama, Ben & Ara, an interracial love story between a Cameroonian woman and a white American
man, and the record breaking, cross-cultural romantic dramedy, Everything But A
Man which rose to #1 on NETFLIX Africa, and ALLBLK streaming service.
Fueled by an insatiable drive to continually be creating content, Nnegest works on
projects of all budgets and sizes. Her special niche is African-themed, cross-cultural
stories with commercial appeal that blend African culture with black American
culture. Her specialty genres are comedy, romance, provocative drama, social
issue, and bio-pic.
Though born in America, Nnegest is proudly of tri-cultural heritage, African-
American, Ethiopian and Nigerian. These influences enrich her work as a storyteller
and make her an ideal candidate to work on Africa-based productions.
Whether writing, directing, producing or consulting, Nnegest brings to the table a
mix of craft, culture and creativity. Her voice is distinct and her long-time industry
experience has equipped her with the skills of how to tell a story from a unique and universal perspective.
Nnegest is currently in post-production on a feature length documentary shot in
Ethiopia and in development on several, exciting new projects to be shot in Africa.
Pascal SchmitzHead of Development, AAA Entertainment
Pascal Schmitz is the co-founder, executive producer and head of development and production at AAA Entertainment, a film and television sales and financing company based out of Johannesburg, Lagos and Hangzou. AAA Entertainment is the only African sales company with a stand at the Cannes Film Festivals Marche du Film representing African films for the past three years. Pascal has produced several feature films, documentaries and television series for the local and international markets. He has served as a board member of the Documentary Filmmakers Association (DFA) for three years from 2008 to 2010, including one year as treasurer. He also served one year on the SASFED council.
Sunni FabaScript Writer
Sunni Faba is a SAFTA nominated writer and director. She is a passionate storyteller with an impressive body of work as a writer and director. Sunni has been at the helm of highly rated and popular TV shows and Head Writer for The Herd II (Mzansi Magic); The Imposter II (Mzansi Magic) and medical drama Vutha (SABC).
Her scriptwriting and story lining credits include the romantic comedy How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding on Netflix; Nqobile (Mzansi Magic); cult-classic Ayeye (Vuzu) and breakthrough telenovela Isibaya (Mzansi Magic) among others. She was Creative Producer and Story Editor for eTV’s hit telenovela Broken Vows (eTV). Sunni was also the lead scriptwriter for the 22nd South African Music Awards (SAMA’s) showing her diverse range in storytelling.
As a director, Sunni’s latest film Ebumnyameni debuted on SABC and has been selected for the Jozi Film Festival 2021. Her foundation comes from theatre roots that inform her performance and character driven directing style. Sunni has directed over a dozen short drama films for Mzansi Magic’s Lokshin Bioskop format grossing high ratings for the films like Mogudu Wars, Houseband and S’khwama. She has also successfully directed for the popular e-TV eKasi format films while fine-tuning her craft as a filmmaker.
Tracey-Lee RainersStory Consultant, Stiletto Entertainment
Tracey-Lee Rainers is the Owner and Head of Story at South African based story development, hub, Stiletto Entertainment. As a story development consultant, she works with a variety of partners including Netflix Africa, AAA Entertainment and various South African Film Funds namely the National Film and Video Foundation and Kwazulu Natal Film Commission.