South African local video content streaming startup Wabona has partnered with Cape Town-based Gravel Road Entertainment to launch the Mayibuye film festival, bringing previously unseen African film content to television, as well as making it available online and mobile via Wabona’s services.
The festival – to start on April 13 and lasting three weeks – will see two unseen African films aired for the first time each Sunday on the SABC1 channel, and two hours later the content will be available for free on Wabona’s platform and its mobile platform Cinemo.
“Wabona and all the people in our family are focused on giving access to Africa’s rich storytelling history,” said Simbarashe Mabasha, chief executive officer (CEO) of Wabona.
“With the Mayibuye Film Festival, Wabona is using its infrastructure to give unprecedented access to these never before seen films for every South African to enjoy on the SABC or on-demand on Wabona and Cinemo.”
The companies said this is the first time new film content is to be released via three media platforms simultaneously.
“We are very much honoured and humbled to be a part of this historical step forward in bringing these stories to audiences via multiple platforms,” Mabasha said.
Gravel Road Entertainment CEO Ben Cowley said the festival pays homage to those who first built the local film industry during the Apartheid era.
“Very few people are aware that there were literally hundreds of movies produced for African audiences during the Apartheid era, the majority of these (films) are pure entertainment and range in genres from Comedy to Westerns in local vernacular,” Cowley said.
“This was the beginnings of our industry and no-one has paid any homage to this.
“This is our way of honouring those who contributed to the development of our industry under the most trying of circumstances, where cast and crew were forced to eat, be transported and accommodated separately because of the colour of their skin.”
To watch the Mayibuye film festival viewers should register on Wabona.com, or by downloading the Cinemo app from the Google Play store or via Mxit.