The board of the resurrected Sithengi Film & TV Market is hoping to achieve a mini Sithengi in September this year, in Johannesburg. This will be the first edition of Sithengi since November 2006, when it ran into debt.
Sithengi spokesperson and board member Firdoze Bulbulia says that the most important issue since then has been to raise bail-out funding. “We have a commitment from the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC) for R5m, R4m of which will clear the debt with the remainder left to run the 2009 market. The board is currently looking for sponsorship and support and has approached various government and NGOs including the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) and public broadcaster SABC. We hope to get buy-in from the other broadcasters as well. The Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) has also been very supportive.”
Board member Judy Nokwedi has been to the MIP markets in Cannes, France and FESPACO in Burkina Faso, to spread the word that Sithengi will be back. The general response has reportedly been positive.
“Although there were fears that people would forget Sithengi because of the gap, that hasn’t been the case at all,”continues Bulbulia. “Sithengi has traditionally been a Cape Town event but we’ve decided to hold the first edition of the new market in Johannesburg for logistical reasons. The entire Sithengi board is based in Johannesburg and none of us are being paid. We have travelled to some of the provinces and invited them to pitch for next year’s Sithengi. Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Free State have expressed interest”
Read more in the June 2009 issue of Screen Africa