The Durban FilmMart (DFM), a development initiative created by the Durban International Film Festival and Durban Film Office, which takes place from 18 to 21 July at the Elangeni Tsogo Sun Hotel in Durban, has set up Transmedia Lab workshops for three film and television projects.
Transmedia is a new approach to storytelling where filmmakers use an array of different media platforms to create and develop certain aspects of their story. Using a combination of traditional and new media forms, transmedia helps create a far richer experience that builds a living network of interactive users consuming and generating content without the limitations of being bound to one media form.
The Transmedia Lab workshop takes place from 18 to 20 July from 09h00 to 12h30 each day, and consists of closed sessions conducted by two experts in this area, Marc Schwinges, Digital Content and Broadcast Regulatory Strategist and Consultant, and Ingrid Kopp, Director of Digital Initiatives at the Tribeca Film Institute.
While I attend festivals and markets around the world, the Durban FilmMart provides a friendly and effective space for our industry to learn from and network with some of the finest minds from around the world, who are normally far less accessible at global markets. I have found the local slant and mix of factual and fiction films fascinating over the years, and the recent interest in transmedia truly exciting. As a transmedia and policy consultant my area of expertise has always been much broader than film and television production alone. I have for two decades been producing transmedia in South Africa, and have a bigger portfolio in this area than many of my international colleagues, says Schwinges.
With similar sentiments Ingrid Kopp says, I attended DFM last year for the first time and was immediately impressed with the fact that I was able to meet with filmmakers from all over the world in such a friendly and supportive environment. I also see so much incredible potential for transmedia in South Africa, with its strong cell network and as smartphone proliferation grows steadily; this feels like a great time to really push forward in this area.
Under the guidance of Kopp and Schwinges, the Transmedia Lab will set out to help three existing and developing projects Khumbul ekhaya, an SABC television programme; Hhola Hhola and feature length fiction in development; and Welcome to Slovo Park a documentary project in development.
This intense, one-on-one, three-day programme will entail analysing projects and conceptualising possible transmedia components to incorporate into the existing projects.
The Transmedia Labs will aim to create an environment where people have room to experiment and think about new ways of working. Kopp and Schwinges will give them a solid digital and creative toolset they can take with them into their future work. This brave new world of interactive, transmedia storytelling can feel very overwhelming, the Transmedia Lab will help those attending understand how to approach building a solid strategy for their project and the audience they are trying to reach.
Schwinges further explains that they hope to use the workshop to help the attending three projects form a prototype for a transmedia extension, and to workshop with the teams on the best ways to maximise transmedia audiences for their projects. Additionally, Schwinges suggests that the aim of the Lab is to help begin the process of demystifying transmedia and to bridge the gap into the new world of content producers; ultimately looking at the dynamics of developing and growing audiences in Africa and globally, to find new ways to touch and engage those audiences.
The Durban FilmMart aims to develop African filmmakers through skill development workshops, networking platforms and forums conducted by industry experts. says Tiny Mungwe, head of Industry Programmes at the Durban International Film Festival, Using the Transmedia Lab workshop, the DFM hopes to help content producers find new perspective for their projects, and give them the necessary introductory tools and experience to conduct transmedia storytelling.
It is vital to always have an open mind when it comes to the production of a project, there are so many avenues one can take to tell a story. Through the Transmedia Lab workshops we hope to expose producers to this new age, cross platform way of telling their story, says Durban Film Offices Toni Monty.
At an Africa in Focus panel, which is an open session taking place on 21 July from 15h00 to 16h00, Kopp and Schwinges will share the outcomes of the four day workshop and inform public how they can get involved in the Transmedia Lab.