About this project
Africa's youth population (aged between 15 and 30) make up over 20% of the continent's population and around 40% of the continent's workforce. The usual story we hear is how this explosion of youth is tied to unemployment, civil unrest, and crime. But there is another side to this story.
Whether it's a Ugandan engineer teaching robotics to youth in remote villages, or a Malawian who taught himself to build windmills which now power his entire community, or the Kenyans racing to offer the continent's first pan-Africa mobile banking solution - left to their own devices they are coming up with disruptive innovations, creating new business models that not only employ themselves, but their peers, and creating new ecosystems for trade that boost the continent's productivity.
Economist and Writer George Ayittey refers to such millennial go-getters as being hungry for success and as nimble as Cheetah's (in contrast to the stagnant 'Hippos' of previous generations).
THE CHEETAH CODE explores this emerging African creative class and the mindset of these young cheetahs and entrepreneurs who are changing the future of business in the continent.
Why am I raising money?
Having approached a number of film studios and publishers, this film does not fit the traditional stereotypes of Africa their audiences have come to expect. Unfortunately, their perception of Africa does not match my experiences in Africa.
This is not a film about the continent's colonial past, scapegoating foreign corporations, or vilifying charities. It's a story about resilient entrepreneurs, business innovators, and the emerging creative class - a story that has been told a thousand times around the world, but rarely (if ever) in Africa.
What can backing this project help me accomplish?
Accessing a camera and crew who can travel with me to 15 African countries are the primary expenses. A camera, the crew, flights, and lodging are the line items there.
I also plan to hold a screening in Washington, D.C. where a number of the USAs largest non-profits, charities and government organizations are headquartered. This is because they still overwhelmingly approach the continent with outdated views. This film, will serve as a step towards changing their perception about what is occurring in Africa, what's possible, and where the opportunities are to work with the continent, instead of on behalf of it.
The rest of the funds will be used to publish copies of the film and book. Which will be self-published and sold through cheetahcode.com. As backers of this project you'll receive all of these items (and more) prior to release.
No, I have not produced a film before. However, I've been a life long producer of a lot of other things that I'm product of. Two great companies, an accelerator competition for Africa app developers called Apps4Africa, and a great deal of other creative work.
Professionally I worked for a major Director and Actor, Tyler Perry, who I learned a lot from. I've also worked on numerous films as an audio editor/engineer.
Prior to that I attended Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia and University of Georgia where I studied film, audio, and design. I love film and the best way to start doing it is to start doing it. So this is my foray into new territory for most, but it happens to be old to me.
The book is about 60% done. Some of it is rewritten essays and articles from blog.appfrica.com, the rest is new musings and thoughts on the observations I've made and people I've met. I'll be sharing early excerpts as the campaign goes on.
Yes. Actually I've somewhat already been, so I'd be going back! The first time, and where I got the idea for the project, was while working with partners on the Apps4Africa.org project I help run. As part of that project myself and my colleagues went to a total of 15 countries holding our App development competition. It was there that I began to meet entrepreneurs of all types. My goal is to go back and document some of their stories.
Our plan is to visit the 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa I went to last year as part of a project I ran called Apps4Africa (http://apps4africa.org). The reason I want to go back to these countries specifically is because I kept hearing so many amazing stories, and meeting so many incredible individuals, that I felt compelled to go back and document their efforts.
Those countries are: Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Burundi, DRC, and Mali. If there is a country you feel strongly about seeing represented, let us know in the comments!
No, I've already been working and around Africa for the past five years (2008 - 2012) so it's this research, and frame of mind, that's been five years in the making more so than the project itself.
No. However, I've already secured support from another source that covers most the costs of my travel. The money I'm raising is travel for the crew, equipment for filming, and the costs of publishing.
Yes. The camera men and women will all be African. To keep costs down I have to work with different individuals in different regions, and I will edit, and do most of the post-production myself (paying outside firms only for what I absolutely need help with)
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- (30 days)