Senegal: IFCD supports film access through MobiCiné

“MobiCiné: transforming film distribution and access” was one of the 7 projects selected among the 227 projects submitted during the 8th Call for funding of the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) of UNESCO in 2017

On 28 June 2018, the Senegalese association Culture Waw organized a press conference to present its upcoming activities. Guiomar Alonso Cano, Head of the Culture Sector at the UNESCO Dakar Office underlined the importance of this project whose pilot phase will run from June 2018 to November 2019: “This project which addresses regional film access in Senegal is innovative and it works on one of the most complicated issues of the film industry, that of distribution.”

60 young people trained in six major cities

MobiCiné has been active in Dakar since November 2011 with 7 mobile units screening in cultural centers, schools and outdoor areas. The project aims now to extend this model to other regions. "We recorded on average 1,750 screenings per year in Dakar. Before, mobile units based in Dakar moved inland as needed. But, we received a growing demand, particularly from the regions, so it became essential to set up different poles, particularly in the six major cities of the country." With the support of the IFCD, MobiCiné will be able to open mobile units in Saint-Louis, Matam, Kedougou, Ziguinchor, Kaolack and Thies with a repertoire of more than 50 films, of which 87% are African.

A call for recruitment has been launched for young entrepreneurs to manage these units. Some 60 young people will undergo training, notably in project management,  fundraising, communication and tricycle dissemination technology. The training will be provided by the association Culture Waw but also by experts already identified.

By supporting this project, the IFCD aims to strengthen the value chain of the film industry in Africa. The project benefits from a financing of 89,989 USD, which represents 44% of the global budget of the project.

Innovative business model

MobiCiné stands out by its economic model, as explained by Thiam Ousseynou, President of Culture Waw, "We have a fully secure distribution system that allows African copyright holders and producers to make a living from their art. We do not use DVDs but encrypted files with a distribution system negotiated with all copyright holders. The idea is that every time we screen their film, they will automatically be informed and they will be able to levy their rights."

This innovative model is the first of its kind in Senegal. "Distribution and exploitation are the weak elements of the audiovisual and film sector. We produce enough films but unfortunately, we cannot make them profitable and accessible to the population. With projects like MobiCiné, we not only safeguard the related rights, but at the same time we create a market that has deteriorated after the closing of movie theaters," explains Hugues Diaz, Director of Cinematography in the Ministry of Culture of Senegal.

This project also benefits from the support of Senegalese public institutions such as the City of Dakar and the Fund for Promotion of Film and Audiovisual Industry (FOPICA).