IGF 2020 WS #269 The Challenges of Producing Sustainable Local content


Organizer 1: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Organizer 3: Intergovernmental Organization, African Group
Organizer 4: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Nana Kagga McPherson, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 2: Dzięciōl Piotr, Private Sector, Eastern European Group
Speaker 3: Lanre Malaolu, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

Principally, our workshop will address policy questions 1) and 5. However, achieving sustainable local production sectors through appropriate policies, regulation and incentives also would participate in positive inputs on question 3).

Local content often thrives in enabling environments that have the appropriate policy measures and services and this workshop will explore this topic through filmmakers and small-scale creative entrepreneurs talking about the practical challenges they face in maintaining their creative enterprises and the ways in which they have seized on opportunities to nurture and develop creative concepts, attract funding and build audiences at home, their region and the diaspora communities with whom their content has found cultural resonance. The filmmakers will also discuss the role that local enabling policies may have played in encouraging the economic risk taking involved in local content creation, production and distribution. In particular, they will underline how measures to support local content do not have to be restrictive: there exist numerous example s of public sector interventions and policies that have proven their efficacy in incentivizing the production of quality content and supporting the growth of the local creative infrastructure alongside the development of the Internet’s communication infrastructure and services . This workshop will explore the following questions: • What are challenges with creating local content? • What impact has the local content you have created had on your communities? • What type of policy environment is needed to best support locally relevant content? • Are there any examples of successful programmes and initiatives that helped support your productions? • For those panelists who rely on open platforms such as YouTube, can you discuss how supporting local content can help drive Internet connectivity and adoption? • How can we ensure the sustainable growth of local content?


GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities


This workshop will provide an insider’s perspective on how sustainable local content can be developed by having filmmakers from different regions of the world (Africa, Latin America and Europe) share their own experiences with producing culturally relevant local content expressing or dramatizing local narratives, concerns and aspirations. The goal of our panel is to demonstrate, through different case studies, how local content is developed and supported in different regions of the world and the importance of local broadband Internet development as a technology that can be harnessed to support effective, affordable access to such content and contribute to making local content creators and producers economically sustainable. Over the past few years at IGF, the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) has showcased how locally relevant content can facilitate Internet adoption and digital inclusion by creating meaningful online spaces for communities. FIAPF has held successful discussions with policymakers, multilateral organizations, and filmmakers about how locally relevant content and the creative entrepreneurs that develop and produce it, can best be supported through a wide array of various creative programmes, initiatives, and incentives. These discussions helped impart important knowledge of the parameters under which sustainable local content production can thrive and what type of policy environment is needed to best support such content and encourage the integration of sustainable local content strategies with those regarding the development of Internet services. This year’s session will build on the learning that local content often thrives in enabling environments that have the appropriate policy measures and services in place and where the increasing dynamism of the local audiovisual community is creating the demand for such measures. The session will explore the concrete reality of local content creation, its challenges and its social and economic impact, via a panel made up of with filmmakers and content producers who have successfully created local content for their communities and markets and are increasingly partnering Internet services as an integral part of their distribution strategies. The panelists will highlight how they are contributing to the local content ecosystems in their respective regions/countries by showcasing specific productions that they have created and walking audience members through the development journey of their works across the complex and risk-intensive stages of creative development, production funding, and pathways to markets, both offline and online. Additionally, the panelists will share their insights and suggestions regarding the forms of Internet regulation that can best help deliver a diverse, affordable, and sustainable availability of local content which in turn will boost local citizens and consumers’ demand for affordable Internet connection. Through specific local case studies, our panel speakers,from different regions of the world will articulate why they believe local content is important and take participants through the complex creative, legal and economic process they go through in local content creation. They will each show short excerpts of their creative works and take participants through the narratives of how those came to be developed, funded, produced and disseminated to audiences, including through legitimate Internet services. The case studies we plan to present during the panel include: - From Latin America: One of the panelists will be one of the young producers of Enchufe TV, an Ecuadorian success story. Enchufe TV was created in 2011 by local Ecuadorian youth who began by uploading short comedic skits for direct-to-internet consumption . The sketches were full of practical jokes and a light satirical take on everyday life in Ecuador. By 2019, the young creative team had aggregated 18 million views on hosting sites . Having built their brand in this original way, they were also licensing the shows successful to local broadcast channels, with good schedule positioning. Additionally, in 2019, they produced a theatrical feature film which attracted record audiences in the cinemas in Ecuador, an all too-rare phenomenon. The creators of Enchufe TV will discuss how they used broadband Internet technology to leverage access to a local and regional youth audience and to create audiovisual content under professional standards Additionally, they will explore how having effective intellectual property protection and other appropriate regulatory constructs can encourage the development of local talent and creative enterprise , which will in turn contribute to the growth of local creative industries. - From Africa: Ms Nana Kagga is a prominent TV producer, show-runner and screen actress from Uganda, whose first career was as an engineer. Amongst other, Nana wrote and executive-produced Mela, a TV series about being young and a woman in contemporary urban Uganda and her struggles for identity in the tension between family tradition and modernity. The show achieves professional broadcast quality and seriousness in a market where locally-made content is not prevalent and is often displaced by discounted foreign imports. Nana Kagga founded the company Savannah Moon, which she runs with sister Meme Kagga and an exclusively female core creative and managerial team. Savannah Moon makes content for both the web and broadcasters in Uganda and the East African region with an appeal to the Diaspora and international audiences. Nana will share with workshop participants the significant economic and technical challenges of developing and successfully marketing local content for various platforms in a developing country brimming with talent and in need of appropriate training and other incentives to help achieve local creative sectors’ sustainability and growth. Nana is Director and Executive Director for Savannah MOON’s latest offering, a feature film called Empaabi (The Turning Point.) - Europe: Since the IGF is being hosted in Poland, the panel will also include a film producer who will talk about the Polish film and TV as a dynamic vehicle reflecting Polish society, culture and history, and the importance of cooperation between creative producers and film talent to sustain quality, culturally-relevant production in Eastern Europe. Director Pawel Pawlikowski can use his films Ida (2013) and Cold War (2018) to exemplify the complexities involved in European co-productions to produce a film that is entirely Polish in its content and cultural tenor, yet with an international appeal. Additionally, he can discuss the value of the value of IP rights as development assets that can be used to raise finance through pre-sales. From Europe also, the panel will hear the fledgling young choreographer and film director Malaolu, whose short film The Circle was awarded one of the top prizes for the UK's nationwide competition Film The House. Lanre will describe his progression as a young artist and film director committed to finding the financial means to make cutting edge local content about the experience of youth in London and other British urban millieus. From the case studies, attendees will learn through concrete examples about the complexities and economic challenges involved in the production of quality content of cultural and social relevance to local or regional (or diasporic) audiences. Amongst other topics, they will discuss how they go about discovering and nurturing local talent, promoting skills, developing local stories (or locally relevant educational content), and making use of their country’s or region’s locations. The panelists will also engage in substantive policy discussions by highlighting the ways in which a “virtuous cycle” can be engineered to make local content production socially and economically sustainable, i.e., increasing locally relevant content of a good quality standard in turn leads to increased investment in the local creative economy as a whole, which also drives investment in the Internet delivery infrastructure and services. A moderator will facilitate discussions during the panel and will ensure that all speakers share their case studies and diverse experiences, and give specific recommendations that the audience can learn from regarding creative programmes and policies that support the local creative economy. There will be a 30-minute Q&A session following the hour-long panel and the presentation of local case studies.

Expected Outcomes

The outcome of this panel will be that attendees will learn from a diverse group of filmmakers and audiovisual entrepreneurs why local content matters, and how it can best be economically and creatively supported through well-conceived policies and projects . Additionally, attendees, especially policymakers and government stakeholders, will learn from individuals who create content for a living about what types of regulatory/incentive apparatuses make it easier for local content producers and platforms to attain economic sustainability in the face of global competition for Internet users’ attention and use. This part of the discussion is all the more strategically relevant as a result of the new challenges from the consequences of COVID pandemic on the sustainability of local content sectors everywhere. In terms of specific outputs and follow-up events, during IGF (potentially on the same evening of the day in which the workshop is to be held), the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) will hold a reception and film event showcasing one of the works discussed on the panel. At IGF 2018 in Paris, to highlight importance of local content, FIAPF held an event that showcased the low-budget independent Nigerian film, Kasala. Its director, Ms. Ema Edosio presented the film and talked about her experience in developing the original screenplay and creating a film that authentically reflects the experience of many urban youth in Lagos, Nigeria’s teeming capital. Over 150 IGF attendees, including about 40 IGF Youth, attended the film event and reception. Additionally, at IGF 2019 in Berlin, FIAPF held a reception and showcased The Mercy of the Jungle (2018) by the young Rwandan film maker Joel Karekezi, which won the major prize at Fespaco - one of Africa’s most respected film festivals. Joel Karekezi spoke to the audience about the importance of having Rwandan’s tell their own story regarding the Second Congo War. Nearly 200 IGF attendees attended the reception/film screening in which an award-winning animated short film from South Africa was also presented by its producer Ms Vanessa Sinden . Given the success the past two film events, FIAPF is planning to hold a similar event for IGF 2020 in Katowice and will showcase one of the films from the directors/producers on the panel. The discussion on the panel will prepare attendees for the film presentation by highlighting both the importance of locally relevant content and the obstacles (economic, legal, regulatory, infrastructural, etc.) that must be overcome in order to secure its ongoing growth and to achieve long-term sustainability.

As stated above, we are hoping to make this an opportunity for non-practitioners to hear practical insights from local content creators and producers Our preference for a panel format as the most appropriate will integrate as much interaction and discussion as there is demand for throughout the session; however, to make absolutely sure there is sufficient exchange and interaction, will also make cordon off time reserved specifically for such interaction over and above the spontaneous questions and contributions that may arise in a format we intend to keep flexible at all times. Our onsite moderator will invite questions and contributions from participants after each speaker's case study presentation and will also consult with the online moderator to the same effect. In this, the first year of COVID crisis management, we are acutely aware of the fact that the online presence may be greater than in previous IGFs and will consequently be very focused on ensuring that this interaction tool is used to its full potential, so people chosing to stay at home will have a chance to fully participate.

Relevance to Internet Governance: One of the goals of effective Internet governance is to help ensure that the Internet flourishes and has value to those who use it. As the IGF Best Practice Forum on Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in 2015 and 2016 highlights, there is a two-way relation between local content and the growth and development of IXPs and the local Internet Infrastructure, which ultimately contributes to a higher quality and more affordable local Internet. It would be unrealistic to discuss digital inclusion and Internet growth without also discussing local content. Consequently, there is a strategic imperative for Internet governance that favors the emergence and development of cultural and linguistic diversity through policies that enable the growth of sustainable local creative enterprise and talent. The production and the dissemination of local content is tied to the development of the Internet. Quality online content, and video content in particular, drives the adoption of Internet connection by consumers. This in turn supports greater investment in infrastructure. An environment that encourages investment in content and in the services that make it widely available will also drive investment in broadband infrastructure. Thus, the Internet and content makers/distributors need each other for mutual growth, and policies that encourage content creation, production and distribution are critical to the continued expansion of the Internet.

Relevance to Theme: Fostering digital inclusion requires considering how locally relevant content can help develop the demand side of Internet adoption. As the IGF’s Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion - Phase II (CENB II) highlights, meaningful access to the Internet requires ensuring that people can both consume and produce content, and that “access inequalities and barriers like content availability not only affect those in developing countries more profoundly, but also those in rural areas as well as cultural minorities, women, refugees, and disadvantaged groups.” Often times when the topic of Internet governance arises, there is a large focus on the topics of access and cost. However, as this panel will showcase, access and cost are only two of three factors affecting Internet growth – the third one is the availability of locally relevant content and services. It’s necessary to have content that addresses matters of local interest and is also in a language that is understood by the local population; such content can help lead to Internet growth, especially in developing countries. If we want do ensure inclusion on the internet and drive new Internet uptake and demand by individuals and communities alike, we need to support the creation of content that is both relevant and appealing.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.