Archives For film

Join Appfrica/D8A and the OpenGov Hub on August 6th for a special Happy Hour to share the 30-minute THE CHEETAH CODE short and to announce D8A. The event will be held at 1889 F Street, Northwest, Washington, DC 20006 on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

The Cheetah Code chronicles young African entrepreneurs who are coming up with disruptive innovations and creating new business models in the technology sector that not employ themselves, but their peers, creating new ecosystems for trade that boost the continent’s productivity.

Cheetah Code: Inside DEMO Africa 2012 [Trailer] from Jon Gos on Vimeo.

The footage was taken at the first annual DEMO Africa 2012, a global trade show highlighting the most promising techpreneurs. Appfrica will also unveil its new parent company, D8A, a full service digital design firm that uses mostly African staff to serve its clients globally.

Please join us from 5-8pm on August 6th and enjoy beer, wine and snacks!

Click here to to RSVP for free!

Apps4Africa and 2012 A4A Winner ProWork are featured prominently in this new mini-documentary “Inside DEMO Africa 2012”.

The inaugural DEMO Africa event took place last October 24-26, 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. It provided a platform for 40 of the most innovative technology products from companies across the African continent with the opportunity to launch before a global audience of investors, media, strategic buyers, C-level executives and other entrepreneurs. This was the first time ever that a DEMO event was hosted on the African soil.

The DEMO conferences have earned their reputation for consistently identifying tomorrow’s cutting-edge technologies, and have served as launchpad events for companies such as Palm, E*Trade, Salesforce, Webex, Tivo, VMware and Fusion-io and thousands of others, helping them to secure venture funding, establish critical business relationships, and influence early adopters.

The second annual DEMO Africa conference will be held October 24 & 25th, 2013.

The film is part of the ongoing “Cheetah Code” web TV series chronicling Africa’s young entrepreneurs and emerging technology sector and can be found at or @cheetahcode on Twitter.

“Inside DEMO Africa 2012” can be found on Vimeo at Runtime 00:23:54

This quote from acclaimed film Director and Producer Steven Soderbergh struck me as immensely applicable to the fields of entrepreneurship and social impact.

The quote recalls another, by John Galsworthy, “Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.”

Passion without pragmatism is often ineffective…at worse reckless. We may all have our ideas on how things should work, but those who do successfully change things do work do so by embracing things that an idealist cannot, because by definition to an idealist compromise represents a form of defeat.

The lesson here for entrepreneurs (social or otherwise) is that it’s important to check your own ego when attempting to confront the challenges before you. Deconstruct your assumptions, validate your own opinions, and be willing to consider that at some point on your journey you’ve been wrong and that you’ll likely be wrong again.

Cheetah Trailer 45 from Jon Gos on Vimeo.

Why aren’t there more of a focus in books or film, about African innovations in business?

Not about its colonial history, its artists and musicians, its Dictators and tribes, its poverty and wars, its animals and wildlife…but work simply about doing business in Africa?

That was the question I asked myself before undertaking THE CHEETAH CODE. After spending several years living and working in the continent, it dawned on me that there were few resources available to those interested in doing business in, or with, the continent.

THE CHEETAH CODE is the culmination of several years of research in my time as a technologist, small investor, and activist. The book is about Africa’s young creative class, its expanding technical capacity, and entrepreneurs.

It is not a about philanthropy, poverty, or scapegoating foreign corporations. It is about contemporary business, economics, societal trends, and technology that happens to be told from the African perspective. It will be made available as a documentary film, and book.


If you find the above concept compelling, you can help make this project a reality by backing it on! Those of you interested in the project who live abroad, email me privately at


James Cameron’s latest epic AVATAR arguably represents the greatest shift in filmmaking since 1999’s THE MATRIX. While it won’t break any grounds on story or character development (it’s been compared to Disney’s POCAHONTAS and FERNGULLY: The Last Rainforest), visually it truly represents a leap forward that’s pushed the film genre to the limits of technical possibility. Not since the early-80’s have grown men and women been so excited about a 3D movie (Jaws 3D anyone?). The comparisons to Pochahontas are inevitable: stranger from a faraway land comes with company to abolish the natives and profit from minerals, only to change his mind when he falls in love with one and instead fights to save them.

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District 9 Storms Hollywood

Jon Gosier —  August 20, 2009 — 1 Comment

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The South African sci-fi film Disctrict 9 is a certifiable smash hit. This is unquestionably great for Neill Blomkamp (ka-CHING!) but could potentially be a huge step forward for South Africa’s emerging film industry. Already the film is ranked among the Top 100 films of all time as ranked by’s userbase. A critic at The NewYork Observer writes “District 9 is the most exciting science fiction movie to come along in ages; definitely the most thrilling film of the summer; and quite possibly the best film I’ve seen all year.”

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What Are They Doing Here?

Jon Gosier —  April 29, 2009 — 4 Comments


What Are We Doing Here, the documentary film by a lot of brothers and one of their cousins is interesting. While it’s nothing new that people are beginning to question the effectiveness of developmental aid, it’s a subject that hasn’t been explored much on film. A least not until somone makes Dead Aid or White Man’s Burden….THE MOVIE (little joke =).

From the film’s website…

Daring to ask the questions no one else will, the filmmakers invite the world to rethink the fight against poverty in Africa. Could our good intentions be causing more harm than good? Have humanitarian interventions prolonged suffering? Who is actually benefiting from our good intentions? These questions and many more are addressed for the first time ever in this groundbreaking feature length film. If you ever wanted to know what happened to the $10 dollars you donated to charity last year, look no further. This film will change the way you look at charity in Africa forever.

Are the Klien brothers the would-be Micheal Moore’s of developmental aid? Judge for yourself here. One thing’s for sure, the World Food Program can’t be too happy about all the free advertising they get on this site.

South Africa is already the leader of the African tech sector but it’s well on it’s way to becoming the film center of the continent as well. Black Box Office posted this today…

2009 is turning out to be an incredible year for science fiction news, and it’s only April. The latest movie news to have us super-excited is a very secret project called “District 9″. Peter Jackson is producing it, and Neill Blomkamp, who is directing the “Halo” movie, is directing. Neill is from South Africa, and D-9 is apparently based on his short film “Alive in Joburg” (short for Johannesburg), which you can see here. Now, if this all sounds familiar to you, you were probably at Comic-Con last year and scratched your head at the posters and signs scattered everywhere.

While the story seems to have some pretty derivative elements, stuff from from Alien Nation, to “V”, and a host of other stories, it’s VERY original in its execution. Most alien visitors come to Southern California or a desert region…but what would happen if they landed in Southern Africa? And instead of aggressively blowing up capital cities all over and invading, what if they allowed themselves to be treated like second class citizens? Yeah, we’re feeling this. The unofficial word for release is August of this year.

CurrentTV just debuted Mariana Zeller’s documentary “Cinatown Africa”.

In “Chinatown, Africa”, Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to Angola to investigate China’s rapidly growing presence in Africa. While many welcome China’s investment, others see reason for concern. Chinatown, Africa is revealing look at a growing superpower’s adventures abroad.

Via Twitter

Ancestral land belonging to the Khoi-San of South Africa was valued at $14 million dollars by Desert Star Studios, a movie studio interested in turning the very rural (and very poor area) of Pella, Northern Cape, South Africa into a bustling Hollywood style lot featuring film sets, production offices, stunt tracks, workshops, a luxury resort, golf course, and a private landing strip. According to Rudolf Markgraaff CEO of Charis Productions, the deal would have created 18,000 jobs and generated another $14 million in revenue for the local population over the next decade. Apparently the biggest problem came from how the deal was orchestrated:

The Rev. Cyril Smith, whose cathedral would have been made into a Mexican village film set, says the consortium miscalculated the level of opposition and the legal status of the land. “They should have consulted the residents first but they didn’t, which made them very angry,” he says. “The government, as trustees, aren’t allowed to sell this land without their consent, so the film studios will not happen.”

He adds…

“Residents want to be involved in the process from the start and be consulted…There’s a saying that ‘land is the currency of Africa’ and people who have fought hard to get it back from colonial times are loathe to give it up.”

Desert Star Studios, a joint venture between the African film companies Film Afrika and Charis Productions and US film groups Promenade and Camel Eye Productions was surprised by the protests. Rudolf Markgraaff commented…

“We had hundreds of meetings with local people, the Northern Cape provisional government, and local council but there’s been misinformation and a lack of political will. We thought we did have a deal…We had letters of support from the [African National Congress] Youth League, the ANC Women’s League, and another group begging us to make it happen.”

“This area is desperately poor with 70 percent unemployment, high rates of AIDS, and limited facilities like hospitals and schools…You only have to look at Quarzazate in Morocco to see the potential. There was nothing there before they built production facilities – now they’ve produced 42 films in the past 10 years attracting investment of $1.2 billion.”

Still, despite their disappointment, Desert Star Studios have respected the land owner’s wishes and instead made a similar deal across the border in the neighboring country of Namibia.

Read the full article at the CSMonitor