Artists build businesses at Disrupt!/Media! Tunis

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Audiovisual, tech, and culture lovers and professionals working together over the weekend. (Images via Mideast Creatives)

Is three days enough to create quality pitches and projects?

Disrupt!/Media!/ Tunis 2016 seems to prove that it is.

After tackling digital storytelling and video games, Disrupt!/ dedicated its third edition in Tunisia to the audio, visual, and audiovisual sector. Twenty-four participants, age 17 to 41 came from all over the country to develop creative ideas over the weekend February 5-7.

“We had people from Siliana, Sfax, Kairouan, Nabeul, and Djerba. I’m really proud of that,” said Kevin Coyne, one of the organizers from Wasabi.tn.

Disrupt!/ was an entrepreneurial training session for the cultural and creative sector organized by Mideast Creatives, in collaboration with local partners art center Maison de l'Image, event agency Wasabi and Cogite coworking space.

In the last few years, Mideast Creatives has organized events in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

“The amazing aspect of this project is encouraging artists by showing them how to turn their passion into business,” said Samia Chelbi, president of Createc (the Tunisian Association of Creative Technologies), and judge of Disrupt!/Media!.

“We chose the audiovisual sector this time around because we felt there was a great opportunity there and in conversation with our local partners, a gap in business thinking which could use such a training event,” added Coyne.

Getting a project ready in three days

During the three days of pitching, the teams took part in training, coaching and ideation workshops with expert mentors led by CEO of Boost Accelerator Adel Beznine, a third time trainer at Disrupt!/ in Tunisia.

Even if the judges found that there was an overall absence of business models and little consideration for scalability, sustainability and making money, they were still impressed with the quality of the projects.

“[The jury was] impressed about how the participants were open to the feedback from the mentors and other participants. Some of the participants had never pitched before and were able to, in a short amount of time, present their ideas in such a way that showed an amazing progress,” said Coyne.

At the end of the weekend, the teams pitched in front of a jury made up of Shelbi, Walid Sultan Midani, CEO of independent gaming studio Digitalmania, Awatef Mosbeh, cofounder and director of Morbiket, an audiovisual agency, and Wassim Ghozlani, cofounder of Maison de l'Image.


Adel Beznine presentating the project. 

This program doesn’t stop after those three days. Participants will join followup meetings, organized by Hivos’ local partners “to really sustain and support their local ecosystem to help them further, said Hivos project officer Andra Iacob.

It’s hard to stop at three projects

The first prize of 2,000 euros was awarded to Amine Lamine, for his ‘Wall Project’ the creation of interesting and conceptual cultural content.

Lamine, passionate about art, heard about the previous two sessions of Disrupt!/ in Tunisia and wanted to be part of it to launch his project. He told Wamda he would use his prize to create the video pilot of his project that would be released in two months.

The second prize of 1,500 euros was awarded to Mohamed Ayari and Mohamed Ali Tabii for their project MyHouma. The dream of these two rappers is to help their peers from the underserved neighborhood they grew up in showcase their talent and work on their own projects.

The third prize of 1,000 euros was awarded to Malek Maazoun for his project ASF (Artistes sans frontières). His goal is to build a coworking space for artists in the city of Sfax while hosting artists come from all over the world in some sort of exchange program to perform in Tunisia.

The jury decided to add a fourth prize to for Raed Ghanja and Yasmine Hendili and their manga project. This they said would help them produce their first 1,000 copies.

This article was cowritten with Aline Mayard.

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