Joel PHIRI - COMPANY DIRECTOR & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Joel Chikapa Phiri is one of Africa's leading entrepreneurs in the film and television business. Joel has been at the forefront of some of the most innovative film and television ventures over the past fifteen years. He started his film career in 1986 as an actor, (shortlived) and for the following six years he worked in various production postions, combining experience in the production office, (, PA, Production Co-ordinator, Production Manager/ Production Supervisor) and the production floor (3rd Assistant, 2nd Assistant Director, and 1st Assistant Director) working in Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom on a multitude of both local and international feature films.
In 1992 he was intrustmental in the production of the first Independently produced and financed black feature film "Welcome to the Terrordome" directed by Ngozi Onwurah, which he line produced.
He returned to Southern Africa in 1993 and teamed up with Simon Bright to create The Black and White Film Company, which produced Ingrid Sinclair's Flame, which was part of the official selection for the Cannes Film Festivals (Quinzaine Des Réalisateurs) Director's Fortnight in 1996.
At the same time, Phiri also teamed up with two other Zimbabwean producers, Jeremy Brickhill and Edwin Angless to create Framework International, which produced feature films, television series, commercials and documentaries with a wide variety of broadcasters and production partners including the BBC, CIBY 2000, BRTN Belgium, China Central Television and many more.
Features films produced by Framework include Ramadan Suleman's Fools and Jean Pierre Bekolo's Aristotle's Plot. Kini & Adams, Framework's co-production with Noe Productions, shot entirely in Zimbabwe and directed by renowned African director Idrissa Ouedraego, was selected for Official Competition of the Cannes Film Festival in 1997. Phiri also helped initiate and co-produced the groundbreaking short film series'Africa Dreaming and Mama Africa, which toured the festival circuit to wide praise.
In 1997 Phiri teamed up with Dan Jawitz to create Ice Media, a film production and distribution company which moved its office from Harare to Johannesburg in 2000. Ice Media was one of the first independent small film production companies to be capitalised through support from the Southen African Media Development Fund (SAMDEF) and Hivos. Since then Ice Media has developed and produced numerous ground breaking projects. Ice Media was the first African distribution company to take African product into Asia. Ice Media,s notable production projects include the 13 part documentary series, African Renaissance, , Rehad Desai's My Land My Life, and Francois Vester A Lions, Trail, co funded by the IDC's (Industrial Development Corporation) Media Division. Lions Trail has the distinction of being one of South Africa's most distributed documentaries. Ice Media also produced Uno's World, Bridget Pickering's entry in the Mama Africa Series. Recently Ice Media produced Max & Mona one of the first feature films to be produced out of the Dv8 project. Ice Media also has the distinction of being one of the creators of the Dv8 project, intiated by Phiri and acclaimed South African producer Jeremy Nathan.
DV8 has been formed out of the desire to develop, produce, market and distribute African feature films, not only throughout Africa but also throughout the world. It is an intervention that brings together for the first time in Africa, government support, a national broadcaster, a national distributor/exhibitor and private finance - all South African entities. The intention is to broaden the scope in successive years'firstly South African filmmakers, then filmmakers from the Southern African region and then filmmakers from anywhere on the continent and Diaspora. The Dv8 features are produced for a budget of about US$1 million each. Dv8 plans to produce 12 feature films over the next three years. Two feature films, Forgiveness directed by Ian Gabriel and Max and Mona directed by Teddy Mattera have been completed.
In 2002 Phiri created IMG Productions aimed at co-producing international feature films. Through IMG, Phiri has developed and natured various relationships with both local and international film financiers including the Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) (a division of the First Rand Group). In 2002 he co-produced IMG'and RMB's first co-production Monsieur N directed by Antoine de Caunes and produced by Lomanasha Productions of France, which was selected for the Berlin Film Festival's Panorama Section in 2003. A significant portion of Monsieur N�s US$15 million budget was secured through IMG. In 2003 Phiri & Nathan consolidated their partneship to encompass all their companies. Currently IMG is involved in Richard E Grant's directorial debut Wah Wah (currently in post production) (with Gabriel Bryne, Miranda Richardson, Emily Watson, Julie Walters). Recently IMG has teamed up with local IT entrepeneur Ronnie Apteker to produce "The Flyer" in collaboration with Mnet (currently in post-production) and Crazy Monkey (currently in pre-production). IMG continues in its quest to develop realtionships with liked minded film financiers in both the local and international market. Over the next 12 months IMG intends to produce at least two other feature films in collaboration with both its local and international partners. (Visit www.imgfilms.com).
Phiri has served as a board member on numerous industry boards, including The Southern African, Film Festival, (SAFF), The Federation of Pan African Film Makers (FEPACI), The African Script Development Trust, (ASDF), The Idependent Producers Organisation of South Africa (IPO) which and he served as Vice Chairperson, and Sithengi, which Phiri has over the past two years served as its Chairperson.