By Paul Ndiho
Tanzania filmmakers may only have limited production skills and equipment, but they are determined to develop the industry until it can rival Nigeria’s Nollywood.
Known as ‘ bongo movies’, the film industry in Tanzania is striving to compete with Nigeria’s Nollywood and other more established film industries in Africa. Paul Mashauri is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and actor. He’s also among a group of creative movie-makers in Tanzania’s growing film industry.
“We’re getting into movies. In Tanzania, movies are becoming favorable to many people. So we are producing movies, which are transformational — movies focusing on different areas of life including entrepreneurial, career, marriage and so on and so forth.
Mr. Mashauri says the Tanzanian film industry has lots of potential, when you consider that Tanzania has a beautiful landscape for filming, plenty of creative people and good talented actors and actresses.
“The movie industry for instance now, there is a growing demand for the local content through cable network TV’s and online platforms, which means that if you can develop or produce a good movie here, and be able capture the attention of the market in east Africa which is more than 100 million people, definitely it is a very huge business.”
The Tanzanian film industry has grown significantly over the last few years, inspired by the success of Nollywood in Nigeria. While quality has been a problem in the past, it has improved dramatically with the establishment of high-quality, professional production houses and the development of filmmaking skills in the country.
However, despite these strides, the young movie industry still has a lot of challenges. For example, the overall quality of the scripts, editing and production are areas that need a lot of improvement. Mashauri also says that the issue of copyright infringement and protection is long overdue.
“The challenge which we have is piracy which I think the government should act upon.
Just a few films are released each year in Tanzania, compared to hundreds produced every week in Nigeria’s Nollywood. Government investment in Tanzania’s film is still lacking and most movies are shot on digital cameras with tight budgets.
Until Tanzanians started producing their own films, many citizens watched Nigerian movies. Local productions are popular partly because viewers can easily relate to them.
Paul Ndiho is a Ugandan – American video journalist/ executive producer, Africa Innovations & Technology based in Washington D.C with interests in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Africa. He is passionate about mentorship and developing the next generation of Africa’s young leaders. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook: Paul Ndiho and Twitter: @pndiho