MTV Networks Africa is hoping to boost the standards of Africa's music-video industry with a new multi-country competition called "MTV Making The Video Challenge."

The competition expands on a 2007 initiative, "MTV Making The Video" which saw Johannesburg-based MTV Networks Africa running workshops putting young African film-makers and music-video directors in touch with their international counterparts.

Sponsored by Shell, this year's project is an official competition with production teams from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana going up against each other to create the best video under the mentorship of international directors.

The first production will be a South African one, guided by Canadian director Little X who has helmed videos for Rihanna, Jay-Z and Sean Paul.

The finalist for South Africa, chosen by Little X, is a team headed by documentary and music-video director Chloe Coetsee. It is to create the music video for "Thula Uzoyiboma" -- a new collaboration between South African kwaito star Bleksem and Mozambican hip hop star Dama do Bling. The recording is produced by Johannesburg-based DJ Cleo.

Under Little X' guidance, Coetsee's team had just six days and a limited budget to produce the video. The completed video will be premiered at an MTV launch party held Sept. 6 in Johannesburg.

It will then go up against competing videos from Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana, which are due to be filmed this month using the mentoring skills of international video directors like Melina and Anthony Mandler (who have worked with Snoop Dogg, Rihanna and Ne-Yo).

The winning music videos from the four countries will premiere on MTV Newtorks Africa's premier channel MTV Base in October 2008 as part of "seven-ep," a TV series covering the competition. MTVN Africa has yet to say when the overall winner will be announced.

The 2007 initiative produced videos for HHP (South Africa), Movaizhaleine Gabon), Tinny (Ghana), Uchie the African Rockstar (Nigeria) and Nikki (Kenya) which have already aired on MTV Base.

Alex Okosi, senior VP & managing director, MTV Networks Africa, said in a statement: "The MTV Making the Video Challenge with Shell aims to uplift and energize the African music industry by sharing best practice and forging collaborations between home-grown music-video talent and top international video directors."

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