KIGALI - A famous American media production specialist, Alex Ben Lindsay, has entered into a partnership with the government to start one of the best media production academies in the region.
Lindsay, the founder of Pixel Corps, a US-based digital media firm and a specialist in computer graphics and video production for close to 30 years, has been in the country to explore plans to start the academy whose initial phase will kick off in September.
In an interview with The New Times yesterday, Lindsay who has worked with the largest visual production companies in the US, such as Industrial Light and Magic and LucasFilm on the Box Office hit movie, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, said that he was inspired to bring his expertise to Rwanda by the country’s focused ICT development plans.
“We are constantly going in and out of many countries in Africa, but I think one of the big opportunities in Rwanda is a very keen focus on both the future and technology,” Lindsay said.
“I think that this, combined with a very strong government, when you get here, you have good infrastructure, and you have people who are very focussed on development, you have negligible levels of corruption---all these things are a challenge in most of the continent”.
Lindsay adds that ‘it is unusual and exciting’ to see what is happening in Rwanda in just a few years, and the vision of where it is headed is not happening in other countries.”
“When you look at what not only people are talking about in Rwanda, but what is actually happening--when you look at the optic fibre coming in, the wireless connectivity that is going to happen throughout the country, these are things that are not happening in other countries at this speed,” Lindsay said.
He noted that from a technological perspective, Rwanda has been impressive, adding that the academy will focus on producing professionals with the capacity to come up with quality audio visual content and take advantage of the infrastructure that the government is putting in place.
According to Lindsay, focus will be put on quality video and film production, computer graphics, high speed website technology and several other aspects of digital media production such as podcast technology and online streaming video broadcast.
The end product will be equipping young people with employment skills.
“The products will be immense---not only for the local market, but also the international market. Over the next three years it will grow to become a fully fledged centre of excellence, but the initial tests to figure out how it will really work will take six months beginning in September,” Lindsay said.
According to David Kanamugire, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT in the President’s Office, the partnership will not focus on the numbers produced but the quality of people who can come up with world class content.
“As Government we are happy to have someone like Lindsay on board--if we can partner with people who do this for a living, it’s actually now that we can start benefiting from our ICT. What he brings in is that know-how and a group of people who know how to do things,” Kanamugire said.
He revealed that once in place, the academy will not only be the best in region, but will be producing high end products that can be sourced to the international market.
The centre, which will be housed at the Regional ICT Training Centre at KIST will be a future training facility for content production.
The government will fully fund the academy while Pixel Corp will provide the required software.