Culture Matters

Spherex's weekly insights into the globalization of entertainment.

Understanding international cultural trends and narratives is critical to the media and entertainment industry’s ability to adapt, evolve and innovate.


Gov’t suspends Mt Kenya tv over sexually explicit content

The Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) Wednesday suspended Mt Kenya TV’s operations for a month for violating programming standards. The Authority took this decision after it received complaints against the vernacular channel over the airing of inappropriate content last week. [Kenya]


Morocco’s Media Watchdog Defends Freedom of Creativity, Ramadan Sitcom

The audiovisual watchdog rejected a complaint against a Ramadan sitcom, saying that censorship with no legitimate reasons restricts creators’ freedom of creativity and actors' freedom of expression. [Morocco]


An African Champion On the Global Stage

Nigeria’s booming film industry, colloquially known as Nollywood, has become one of the most influential in the world, and one of Nigeria’s largest economic sectors. University of Ottawa Professor Dr Chidi Oguamanam, working as part of the Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) network, examines Nollywood as an example of how innovation, openness and entrepreneurship have unfolded in this unique context. Relying on extensive data collection, including in-depth interviews with key players in the industry, Oguamanam traces Nollywood’s origins and demonstrates how its persistent openness—to local popular culture, to myriad modes of marketing, to both formal and informal skills development, to Nigeria’s multiethnic realities, and to various approaches to intellectual property—have all contributed to its success at local, national, continental and global levels. [Nigeria]


Oscar-winning “My Octopus Teacher” is a complicated success for South Africa

There is an argument to be made that the documentary’s win is important for film in South Africa because it has focused attention on a local story and the quality of local productions. It demonstrates that it’s possible—working from home with a relatively low budget and a small crew—to reach a massive global audience from the tip of Africa and win one of the most influential awards in the film world. But there’s also a counter point to this: that the film was only possible because Foster is a well-established and well-resourced filmmaker living on a particularly scenic part of the South African coast. [South Africa]


From Mumbai to Rio, Netflix dominates cultural conversation

With 207 million subscribers across the globe, Netflix is able to monopolise the crowded streaming market, and it is now prioritising emerging Latin American and Asian markets. [Latin America/Asia]


The vibrant spirit of regional filmmakers

Since I became the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chairperson in 2016, I’ve visited numerous regional film festivals and activities to manifest support from the government. Even with my very first regional film festival, I became amazed at how our filmmakers from the regions have made a community of their own, cultivating stories of their local culture and identity, and working together to sustain their own brand of cinema. [Philippines]


Wide Angle: More Bad Days for Indian Filmmakers

Most days are not good days for Indian filmmakers. But the abolition of the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) — a statutory body addressing filmmakers aggrieved by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) decisions — has made bad days worse. Indian film certification comprises three bodies: the Examining Committee, the Revising Committee, and the FCAT. If a director is dissatisfied with the Examining Committee, then she approaches the Revising Committee. If she disagrees with the Revising Committee, then her final recourse is the FCAT — followed by the courts. But the FCAT abolition has removed a crucial link in the process, compelling the filmmakers to approach the judiciary, an expensive and time-consuming procedure. [India]


Film with Gay Sex Scene Dropped From Moscow Film Fest

A film featuring a gay sex scene has been dropped from the Moscow International Film Festival at the last minute with no explanation given. The short, titled The Fans, is about two skinheads who are fans of popular Russian soccer teams and is based on a true story. It follows the two young men as they watch an American Pride parade on television, insult and murder gay men, and have sex with each other. Galkin told Attitude that he thinks there are several reasons behind his film disappearing from the festival lineup. “In addition to the LGBT theme, the film raises questions of masculinity crisis, social division, conservative ideology, and political disinformation in Russia.” [Russia]


Sovereign nations tell their own stories. The Broadcasting Act must prioritize Canadian creators and culture

As a country of creators, we have shared the stories and history of our people with the world, showcasing our unique regional distinction and the wide diversity of Canadians while building a lasting legacy for generations to come. It is what sovereign nations do. They tell their own stories. They don’t sell their culture away to the highest bidder; they promote it, celebrate it and ensure it is both supported and accessible. While amendments to the Broadcasting Act are debated in Ottawa, the risk we face in our efforts to include foreign services in our broadcasting system is a failure to recognize the success of Canadian content by diluting the definition of what makes a cultural product Canadian.  [Canada]


Don’t Get Lost in Translation

Spherex transforms how media and entertainment companies create, adapt, and deliver film and television to audiences worldwide.

Learn more at Spherex.com