SA’s fruitful Tribeca experience
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Tue, 24 Apr 2012 10:49
Denis Lillie

CEO of the Cape Film Commission (CFC) Denis Lillie reports a successful trade mission by South African filmmakers to the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs in New York until 29 April. The mission was organised by the CFC in conjunction with the South African Consulate in New York, the Department of Trade & Industry (the dti), the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) and the Durban Film Office (DFO).

The 22 South African filmmakers, who come from all over the country, are joined by the Gauteng MEC for Arts and Culture, Lebogang Maile, his head of Department, the GFC CEO and representatives of the dti.

The mission opened with a briefing session at the South African Consulate hosted by George Monyemangene, whose staff have put together a comprehensive programme for the mission.

Lillie comments: “The welcome afforded us by the Consulate and the New York film community, including representatives of Tribeca and the International Emmys, has exceeded expectations. Our filmmakers have echoed this view and are in the process of developing solid relationships and some are in the process of concluding deals.

“Formalities commenced with a presentation of our filmmakers work at a special session at the consulate chaired by myself. The introduction was made by the South African Consular General with a welcome by actor Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos)). This was followed by an introduction to each filmmaker who then screened a two-minute trailer of their work. In total 16 pieces of work were screened, including work from film schools, the Animation School, Big Fish and AFDA.”

Lillie notes that the New York audience was particularly taken aback by the quality of animation currently being produced in Cape Town, including a trailer for Triggerfish's upcoming feature length 3D animated film, Adventures in Zambezia and local student film Die Wind Pomp, which has now been optioned by Cape Town-based Zen HQ.”

The filmmakers were also given access to interactions with the Africa Channel, a cable TV station in the USA which specialises in broadcasting African content, as well as with the executive director of the New York African Film Festival. Both showed great interest in the content being created, submissions have already been requested.

The following days included a networking reception at the Tribeca filmmakers lounge which was hosted by the Consular General, GFC and CFC. This was attended by over 200 local producers, distributors and filmmakers.

Other items on the agenda include a visit to the New York Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment where the GFC and CFC will discuss many issues including their film permit process.

Lillie concludes: “This mission has been so successful that we have agreed with the Consul General, the dti and the GFC that we will establish it as an annual event. Next year we hope to attract 30 filmmakers to the mission."

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