We provide support and mentorship to digital visual storytellers in Africa. We are also creating platforms for African storytellers to explore their worlds in new ways, for new audiences. We fund and support storytelling across the continent in a variety of creative mediums including Virtual Reality, interactive web documentaries, short and feature non-fiction and other mobile-based content. Our focus is on underrepresented perspectives and daring, timely and urgent stories.
Steven Markovitz has over 20 years’ experience on feature films, documentaries, short films, distribution and festivals. He has an extensive production and distribution network across Africa. Steven co-founded the production company Big World Cinema in 1994 as well as Encounters South African International Documentary Festival in 1999.
Ingrid Kopp has worked in documentaries and interactive media since 2000. In addition to her work with Electric South, Ingrid is a Senior Consultant in the Interactive Department at the Tribeca Film Institute in NYC where she works at the intersection of storytelling, technology, design and social change. She lives in Cape Town and on Twitter.
Stanford Gibson is a South African based Writer/Director/Producer. After completing his University studies in 2003 he worked in an IT Audit and Forensic Analyst capacity before leaving the corporate jungle and becoming a filmmaker. He makes Electric South function with his eye for detail and film experience.
Cornell Dipper studied Game Graphics and Multimedia Entertainment in Cape Town in 2016. He has a background in animation and brings all these skills to his interneship at Electric South.
Lina Srivastava catalyzes and amplifies social impact in human rights and global development through cultural expression. She is a strategist who combines media, technology, art, and storytelling for social transformation. She is the founder of a social innovation strategy group in New York City and has provided project design consultation to a group of social impact organizations, including UNESCO, the World Bank, UNICEF, MobileActive, Apne Aap, Shine Global, BYkids, and Donor Direct Action.
Gbenga Sesan is the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), a social enterprise working on digital inclusion and digital rights in Nigeria. Gbenga originally trained as an Electronic and Electrical Engineer at Obafemi Awolowo University. A Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2014) and former member of the United Nations Committee of eLeaders on Youth and ICT, Gbenga has also been a CyberStewards Fellow, Crans Montana Forum Fellow, Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow, Ashoka Fellow, Our Common Future Fellow and Cordes Fellow.
Zayd Minty has been involved in culture and development professionally since 1993, as a cultural manager, curator and commentator. He has played a key cultural leadership role in Cape Town, South Africa and was recently head of the Arts and Culture Department in the municipality of the City of Cape Town, where he penned the Arts, Culture and Creative Industries Policy 2014. Currently Zayd is developing Creative City South, telling inspiring stories of culture and sustainability in the Global South.
New Dimensions is the first initiative of Electric South. We are working with African storytellers and artists on Virtual Reality, providing funding support and mentorship to them in the development and production of their ideas, and introducing African and international audiences to African-produced VR. New Dimensions is presented by the Goethe-Institut and Big World Cinema with further support from Blue Ice Docs, Bertha Foundation and SDK Digital Lab.
“VR is interesting because it gives me the possibility to create the world that I have in mind and to immerse Senegalese people into that world.” – Selly Raby Kane
Our first workshop kicked off in October 2015 as part of our New Dimensions project. Six creative teams from across Africa (Ivory Coast, Senegal, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa) were invited to a 4-day VR workshop in Johannesburg during the African Futures event at the Goethe-Institut. The workshop was led by Jessica Brillhart from Google and Oscar Raby and Katy Morrison from VRTOV. These teams are now in production on their VR projects. The projects will be completed by the end of 2016 ready for exhibition in early 2017. The teams will then attend the next workshop in 2017 as mentors for the next group of VR producers, alongside other international facilitators.
We created a VR exhibition, New Dimensions, as part of African Futures in Johannesburg in October, 2015. We showed thirteen projects on Samsung Gear VR, Oculus DK2 and Google Cardboard and gave away 400 Google Cardboards to all attendees.
Electric South curated an exhibition of interactive and Virtual Reality work for the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival in June, 2016 called Virtual Encounters.
Electric South supported Selly Raby Kane in her Elsewhen exhibition in Dakar, Senegal, May 2016.
Get in touch, we’re always looking for new partnerships and collaborations. We are in the process of establishing Electric South as a non-profit organisation in South Africa.
Ingrid Kopp: ingrid [at] electricsouth.org Steven Markovitz: steven [at] electricsouth.org