Kiesha-Ann Smith, a filmmaker from Jamaica’s TVJ, visited the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) after being awarded a CBA travel bursary. She was hosted by SABC’s International Affairs office and assigned to the production team for Generations, a popular South African soap opera.
The key objective for her trip was to observe the production process of a local South African drama in order to create a production model for TVJ’s own drama series. Kiesha-Ann wanted to meet SABC producers to learn about how they source local TV content and also establish a link between the SABC and TVJ to provide a platform for future content exchange and co-production.
On the question of why SABC, Kiesha-Ann said: “South Africa has a long history of filmmaking… the government has stressed the importance of film in building the country’s heritage by telling its own stories, and has set about providing an enabling regulatory framework to encourage the production of local content.”
At SABC she joined the team’s production meetings, scriptwriters’ brainstorm sessions, observed filming sessions and sat in the director’s box – where she was able to observe the culture of the control room.
As a result Kiesha-Ann is now working with TVJ’s programmes department to creating a commissioning brief for drama modelled on SABC’s which goes into detail about duration, target market, intention and cost range. The trip also brought about opportunities for co-production – Kiesha-Ann has talked to the Generations production team about filming scenes for future episodes in Jamaica. This is based on the strong affinity which South Africans have for Jamaica, and stories that Kiesha-Ann believes are “rooted both in the South African and Jamaican culture, which if ‘told’ correctly, I believe can help move [both countries] closer towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.”