An Entertaining and Educational Children’s DVD Series
ITS/ABENI films was formed n 2001, an independent UK film and television production company set up to finance and produce a series of very positive Black feature films and television programmes. They focused on redressing the issues on the lack of positive media representation where the global African community is concerned. “Setting up a production company like this would be a total financial risk for many Black people, especially in the UK as they're not really for supporting each other like a lot of other communities do and that those who benefit from distorting and degrading our image will definitely have no incentives to help push any of our productions to the mass market”. The team marketed and promoted a series of children’s educational DVDs titled ‘Ma-aT’, originating from an ancient African language of Egyptian origin, its translation meaning balance, right and truth.
‘Monument Ancient African Truth’ dictates that the fundamental foundation of knowledge and wisdom, the true knowledge and acceptance of self. The key development idea behind Ma-aT covers the celebration of the inherent genius within the ‘African child’ (Black children globally) - a reminder of the greatness of African people’s history and culture. The aim is to help the African child get rid of the negative myths and limitations that the society in which we live try to reinforce in their minds through its institutions. Children are encouraged to reach for the stars and, if along the way they pick up a few moons, it has not been a bad day. Ma-aT is primarily targeted at young people between the ages of 5-14 years but, is suitable for audiences of all ages. The content includes a lot of positive Black history and things that both very young and older audiences can benefit from. Our youngest cast member is six years old and the oldest is thirteen. The documentary was screened before a group of Black pre-schoolers and they were captivated by it, happy to see children who looked like themselves on the screen.
The Educational series of African inspired drama is based around history, science, maths, storytelling and technology This step allowed further recognition of creative talents to have a platform, to show not only a new generation of young people that they can act in positive roles but, facilitate the development of more media related production opportunities to showcase their work on a satellite network. Instead of being shut out of the BBCs and ITVs of this world. Using very strong and positive Black images this ‘edutaining’ (education balanced with entertainment) drama takes the young and older viewer through a time line of Black achievements, culture and heritage combined with music, science and technology - all viewed from an African-centred perspective.