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It’s been a bumper year for this year’s Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry development programme of the eThekwini Municipality’s Durban Film Office (DFO) and Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), which ended with an awards ceremony at the Southern Sun Maharani Hotel in Durban, South Africa, on Monday, 23 July.
Speaking at the DFM awards ceremony, Toni Monty, head of the DFO and the Durban FilmMart, said, “As one of the most important, film industry events and film finance platforms on the continent, we are really pleased that we have grown the DFM substantially this year with 877 delegates attending. We had over 40 countries participating this year, of which 19 were from Africa. A total number of 52 projects were pitched to potential partners, financiers, filmmakers, producers, distributors and agents during countless meetings.”
Key to the value that the Durban FilmMart provides filmmakers are the many meetings and networking sessions that are held between delegates over the four days.
“The important work we do to enable filmmakers, would not be possible without our partners and sponsors,” said Monty, “And we would like to thank our partner markets, development organisations and funding bodies with deep gratitude.”
“The work we do at this mart supports the DIFF and DFO’s vision to dynamically grow the industry and bring African cinema to its own people and to global platforms.”
Eighteen official DFM film projects in development were presented at the Finance Forum through the sponsorship of the Industrial Development Corporation and the National Film and Video Foundation.
Supported by Berlinale Talents, the Goethe-Institut and the German Embassy and in cooperation with Fipresci, Durban Talents was able to host 16 young filmmakers, and three Talents Press.
“We hosted a number of scriptwriters’ labs including Jumpstart which is supported by Produire au Sud, France and the Realness Script Writing Residency. Hot Docs Canada, mentored 11 documentary projects in development and six CineFam Africa television series projects were mentored by Caribbean Tales, Canada.”
“We recognise the important role that the eThekwini Municipality, the principal funder of the DFM plays in its success,” continued Monty. “The city’s involvement actively enables the economic growth of the industry, and we thank them for this.”
The DFM hosted a number of delegations this year including the in-bound delegation through the Department of Trade and Industry, the BRICS Film Festival delegation through the Department of Arts and Culture. Special thanks must go to the Canadian High Commission and US Embassy and the French Institute (IFAS), NFVF and KZN Film Commission for their support in bringing in delegates.
- The International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) awarded the most promising documentary project at the DFM, Cheese Girl (South Africa), produced by Batana Vundla, Marion Isaacs and directed by Milisuthando Bongela, with an opportunity to attend the IDFA Forum, one of the top gatherings for documentary filmmakers, producers, commissioning editors, funds, private financiers and other documentary filmmakers in Europe, in November.
- The broadcast stream, Afridocs, that flights African and other international documentaries across 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa on a weekly basis, gave a €2500 award, funded by the Bertha Foundation, to Zinder, The Seeds of Violence (Niger), produced by Clara Vuillermoz, Ousmane Samassekou and directed by Aicha Macky.
- The CineMart Award, sponsored by the co-production market of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, went to the fiction project, Nyanga/The Horn (Zimbabwe), produced by Sue-Ellen Chitunya, Brett Michael Innes and directed by Brett Michael Innes. The project is given an opportunity to attend the Rotterdam Lab, a five-day training and networking event for producers from all over the world.
- Produire au Sud of Festival des 3 Continents (Nantes) awarded the fiction film Porta-Retrato (Mozambique), produced by Aldino Languana, Osvaldo Lupini Bambamba and directed by Orlando Mabasso Jr., an opportunity to attend its developmental workshop programme, PAS, where they will be given tools, expertise, and opportunities to develop European networks.
- Videovision Entertainment awarded the “Best South African Film Project” to Snake (South Africa), produced by Paul Egan, Stanford Gibson and Mustapha Hendricks and directed by Meg Rickards. They receive a prize valued at R75 000, which guarantees its release once it is completed. The prize also includes marketing and distribution support from Videovision Entertainment.
- Versfeld & Associates, publicity consultants awarded Nyanga/The Horn (Zimbabwe), produced by Sue-Ellen Chitunya, Brett Michael Innes and director by Brett Michael Innes, the development of a press kit.
- Sørfond awarded the project How to Steal a Country, produced by Rehad Desai and Zivia Desai and directed by Mark Kaplan, with an opportunity to pitch at the Sørfond Pitching Forum in Oslo later this year.
- CineFAM-Africa Incubator Accelerator Programme award to pitch at the Caribbean Tales Film Festival in Toronto, went to The Summit Club by Layla Swart
New awards this year include:
- Hot Docs Blue Ice Award – a cash prize of 2000 Candian Dollars went to the documentary project The Master’s Plan, produced by Hanne Phlypo and directed by Yuri Ceuninck.
- 11th Talents Durban “Talents Press” Recognition Award went to Cornelia Glele.
- Durban FilmMart Award for the Durban Talents project selected as a project for DFM 2019 went to When Shadows Move by Aliki Saragas.
The DFM ended last night, but the Durban International Film Festival continues until 29 July. There is a free industry programmer – Isiphethu – happening opposite the Southern Sun Garden Court Marine Parade with seminars and workshops for the public and emerging filmmakers, as well as free screenings at various venues.