At the beginning of this month some of the Pressure Cooker Studios team left the comfort of our Sacred Space and attended FAME Week Africa, the go-to event for African creatives to come together on film, television, animation, music and entertainment technology. 

Read more about it here.

James, Brian, Astrid and Sarah recap on their experience:

James Matthes - creative executive officer

We decided to host two panels at FAME Week to bring music and sound to the forefront of the industry’s mind and share our experience and learnings with the industry at large.

It was amazing to experience the incredible amount of positive energy around the industry, especially around African focused content.

I really enjoyed being at the Twende presentation, seeing Greig Cameron in his element and sharing the pure joy and passion he has for making entertaining high quality cartoons and sharing them with the world is always inspiring. It was also great listening to the very human stories the Director’s panel on the Cape Town International Animation Film Festival stage had to share. It’s really insightful when professionals share vulnerably about their challenges so we can learn from them.

I wish we’d seen more of an International presence at the festival. I feel Africa has so much potential and it would be great to see more of the big players from the world coming here to connect with our local storytellers.

I think FAME Week is a great platform for connecting various players in our industry, whether you are trying to push a project or secure work, it doesn’t matter. It’s more about connecting with people in person for me and realising you are all working towards common goals of pushing the industry forward.

Astrid Iverson - head of production

I really wanted to soak up the energy FAME week brings. It’s always bursting with talent and creativity, and there is so much I get to learn by just speaking to people, listening to panel discussions and pitches, and just being present supporting our creative community. 

Plus, it gives me the opportunity to see our collaborators, old and present, and meet new people. For me, it’s not about hunting down a deal, it’s about meeting like-minded people and getting into deep discussions around challenges, problem-solving and exciting new things going on in our industry.

It was not my first time at FAME Week so it was exactly how I remember it from the previous year and I pretty much knew what to expect from the get-go. The familiar vibes from the previous year welcomed me, and it felt like I was stepping right back into the groove but with more confidence than last year.

I feel the same trend for every event for me, NETWORKING IS EVERYTHING. Whether it is supporting fellow creatives, listening to people, connecting with old relationships and building new ones. Connecting with people is where the magic happens.
Another is that this year in particular, it’s so apparent Africa is really on its way to seriously making a global impact. Regardless of the challenges we are constantly facing as an industry, our resilience and passion to keep moving forward continuously amazes me.

By spotlighting African talent to nurturing collaborations, sharing industry insights, and increasing global recognition, this contributes to the success of our industry. The more time, energy and passion we put into something and each other, the outcome will be increasingly more successful.

There is a lot going on during the week with MIP, CTIAF, Muziki all happening in one place at the same time so its so tricky deciding on what to be in as there are so many great panel discussions, pitches, events. To solve this, James, Brian and I kind of three musketeered it and went to what we felt would be best suited to our roles and strengths.

Reflecting on it, I do wish I had more time to fully be there. I found myself dashing back and forth between the studio and CTICC throughout the day. You know how it goes – no rest for the wicked! But on the bright side, it is a blessing that our Sacred Space (our studio)  is so close.

Brian little - general manager

This was the first FAME Week I have attended, and from the get-go it was about immersing myself in all that the event had to offer and using the opportunity to learn as much about the various components of the industry as possible.

The event itself was great and professionally run. I definitely was exposed to aspects of the industry that I needed to gain a deeper understanding of. As well as meeting many people, making new contacts and reconnecting with existing industry colleagues. 

The biggest takeaway for me was how well positioned we are to benefit from the increased interest in Africa. The demand for African content, authentic African Creative and the clear intention for global players to leverage this market from a business perspective and gain a foothold here. Africa most definitely has a bright future and a place in the global industry. Exciting times.

The panels and talks I attended were very insightful. I thoroughly enjoyed those where Pressure Cooker Studios had involvement, the ‘Spinners’ panels, James Matthes working his magic facilitating ‘Behind the Sound of Spinners’ discussing the creation of an authentic sonic landscape with Ready D, Kyle Koekemoer and Joshua Yon. I also really enjoyed Cracking the Code: Understanding the African Market for International Television and Film Content, I particularly enjoyed Brian Nitzkin of Myriad Pictures and Delon Bakker of Mannequin Films insights. Pascal Schmitz gave a crash course on the film industry value chain from the perspective of a seasoned producer and distributor,  which I found really valuable. And then finally Harmonising Narratives: Unleashing the Power of Music in Storytelling and the Business of Music Synchronisation, I unfortunately was not able to attend the full session, and it would have been great to see this on one of the MIP stages and given music a more prominent platform, however Marc Algranti, Thando Makhunga and Thembi Mpungose-Niklas all have really interesting insights and experiences to share.

Without a doubt, FAME Week has a positive impact. This was evident in the companies and individuals who showcased and exhibited, as well as attended. This industry is about networking, forming new relationships and solidifying existing ones. An event like FAME week, also showcases the quality of our local industry and what we can offer on a global level. I do however think that based on where we sit within the industry it would have been good to have more exposure to the music and sound side of the business. And to see this component feature more prominently, afterall, what’s a picture without music and sound?

Sarah van der Spuy - digital marketing

My intention in attending FAME Week Africa was to capture it, to snap the essence!

I aimed my lens at Pressure Cooker Studios in two electrifying panels: 1. Behind the sound: creating the authentic sonic landscape of Spinners and 2. Behind the Sound of Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire with composer Kay Faith. Through my photographs, I aimed to capture the essence and depth of these discussions, thereby preserving and sharing the valuable knowledge and artistic insights presented at the event.

As I strolled into Fame week, my initial thought was how impressively everything was put together. The stands were solidly constructed, the stages and display setups were top-notch, and the accreditation booths were running smoothly. The whole atmosphere was buzzing with creativity, and it had me feeling pretty excited.

What struck me most during the event was the remarkable momentum behind the creation of content that puts Africa front and center, using our country as a backdrop for the next wave of feature Productions. What’s even more noteworthy is the growing recognition of local producers and directors as key players in this movement. 
The surge in creative talent and content emerging from Africa is undeniably thrilling, but what truly sets my heart racing is the spotlight shining brightly on female producers and directors, taking a prominent role in shaping the industry’s future. 
Witnessing this forward march and the spotlight on Africa’s creative landscape is a source of genuine excitement, as it underscores the immense potential and vibrant cultural tapestry that our continent has to offer.

Although I couldn’t make it to many panel discussions, I made sure not to miss the ones featuring Pressure Cooker Studios. Watching the team unravel the essence of Spinners’ authentic sound was a true delight.
Their conversation flowed effortlessly, and I was genuinely impressed by their natural eloquence. James, Kyle, Dj Ready D, and Josh had this remarkable synergy that made the discussion thoroughly engrossing. Learning about Josh’s ingenious car microphone setup and their collective experiences working on Spinners was a highlight.
Then, on the second day, I settled in to listen to James converse with Kay Faith about her remarkable journey in the music industry and her pivotal role as a composer on the Kazazi Moto series. Her story was nothing short of captivating and struck a chord with me on a personal level. 

Growing up in a family with little connection to the creative world and pursuing fine arts myself, I found her growth and unwavering determination in pursuing a career in the arts profoundly inspiring. She stands as a shining example of following one’s dreams. Her ascent as a female Afrikaans artist, leaving an indelible mark on the South African Hip Hop scene, and now composing for a Disney series, is genuinely awe-inspiring. Her narrative has etched itself into my memory, and I’ll carry it with me as a lasting source of inspiration.

FAME Week is a vital hub for industry creatives to come together and spotlight Africa’s creative strides. It’s a melting pot of talent, fostering connections and camaraderie among those dedicated to showcasing our creative prowess.
Networking thrives, allowing professionals, visionaries, and enthusiasts to forge meaningful connections. It’s a space where knowledge flows freely, wisdom is shared, and creative insights are refined.
This event deepens our understanding of our roles in Africa’s creative boom, emphasizing our duty to nurture and sustain it. 
FAME Week showcases Africa’s diverse talents in music, art, film, fashion, and more, revealing our continent’s immense reservoir of creativity.