Weekly Newspaper

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Issue No. 0840
December 13 - 19, 2014

Entertainment

ARTS & CULTURE

By Christine Dachs

Arusha’s Cultural “Fundis” 

In a series of articles the ARUSHA TIMES visits and makes interviews. We came across a vital culture scene in town (3).
At its premises we met Samuel Obae, General Manager of the Kilimanjaro Film Institute, providing professional training in media skills to underprivileged youth to become audio-visual professionals.

We believe the changes start with us

AT: Hello Sam, you are the General Manager of KFI.

Sam:
I have been working with the KFI since 2007 that’s when it started. The idea is to give opportunity to young people coming from Arusha and Tanzania at large learning the skills how to produce films. We provide the highest levels of training; directing, camera, editing, sound, presenting and research. The students will be able to produce their own films, the stories from their own words that will educate the society and we put them onto a career level to be able to make their own income. That has been quite successful.  Out of 64 graduated students 80% are now employed in different production houses like East African Television, Clouds TV and young people producing DalaDala TV and working for companies. Some of them, trained by international trainers, stayed with us as trainers. At the moment we are training 24 students in different groups.

AT: What are your current projects?

Sam:
“TAZAMENI TV”. It will be broadcast on TV1 in January 2015. It is about life and people in Tanzania. Each episode has 2 to 3 stories, related to each other. Our aim is bringing positive reinforcement.  Instead of complaining about the government or the job we are asking what have you done with the means you have to change the situation. We believe that the changes start with us!

 AT: KFI has also a professional production unit.

Sam:
Yes, we have a professional team of writers, directors, producers, camera, sound and editors to provide the highest quality of films for the market. Currently we are producing a documentary for the German SEED-Initiative that gives grants to people with projects that bring an impact to the community. There are two SEED winners in Arusha.  The purpose to run our production unit is to become sustainable instead of depending on grants. It already brings in money to subsidize the training unit. Because our training is free. So in five years to come we should be able to stand on our own.

AT: Who are your donors?

Sam
: Our master classes, called “Moving Tanzania” are funded by the EU. The aim is to build a creative industry in Tanzania. We are targeting people, already active in the industry, but never had a formal training. There are many in the creative industry but they don’t know how to market themselves. We offer courses in Creative Media, in Sound and Music Media and yesterday started a class in Entrepreneurship. In October we launched a sister organization in Zambia, KFI-Zambia, a Franchisee.  This is funded by ACP (African-Caribbean-Pacific Countries)-EU.  There are now 20 Zambians in the training. We are also planning to do this in other countries.

AT: Arusha has a lot to offer?

Sam:
There is a lot happening in Arusha but underground. There is no platform for all these activists to represent their work. Shockingly we have not even a broadcasting company.  We have radio stations but people don’t really use this to the fullest. We need to create awareness for people who are living in Arusha and who are doing positive things and to communicate. I myself am also the Chairperson of Jifundishe Free Library.

AT: Journalism in Tanzania?

Sam:
Journalists have to understand their big role but they get driven by the owners of the media and by political headlines. They forget to give other people a platform. Because they are not paid well they ask for money to feature your story. Then the censorship. If you write anything against the government they always haunt you. So most of the journalists lack that voluntarism spirit. If these grey pillars will be undone we will be able to communicate good information.  And people start feeling good about them. If you always bring horrible stories people feel inferior but we need to energize them, show them they are worth living and they can do something better. They will do it because you have given them trust. And this is what we are lacking.


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