There was an important emphasis on the business side of film as the inaugural Durban FilmMart (DFM) got underway at the Royal Hotel in Durban on Friday, 23 July. At the opening media conference, Toni Monty, acting CEO of the Durban Film Office said that one of the objectives of the first African co-production market was to reveal the world of film finance and how it could be explored.
“This first African co-production market has the potential to act as a key driver in raising the visibility of film content from Africa,’ said Monty. “We envisage that it will provide African film-makers with the opportunity to pitch film projects to leading financiers and meet and network with internationally-reputed directors and producers in order to form alliances for future collaborations. This is one of the most exciting additions to Durban’s film event calendar for many years.’
Peter Rorvik, director of the Centre for Creative Arts and Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) said: “We expect the DFM to be a place for film financiers to locate fundable African projects and encourage project collaboration between African film-makers from different African countries and through this forum redress the current scarcity of film production on this continent. In fact, it is hoped that the Durban FilmMart will become a valuable feeder stage for established co-production markets across the globe,’ says.
The programme, packed with local and international speakers and pertinent industry-related issues, is targeted directly at role-players, producers and film-makers in Africa. “Support from a number of key sponsors including Tourism Durban, SABC, Cinemart Rotterdam, the Hubert Bals Fund, Microsoft, IDFA and the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) has made this year’s event possible and bodes well for its long-term success in the future,’ Monty said.
According to Rorvik, the DFM promises to be “a catalyst for growth in the region by becoming one of the key events of the South African and African film industry and a focal point to interface with global parties and stimulate interest and activity in the city and the province.
“We are only too aware of the difficulties faced by the local sector when trying to function in the global marketplace and as such, seek to address the need for targeted development programmes that will enable the sector to participate meaningfully in the marketplace. The DFM provides one such opportunity for networking with international role-players and making “our case’ for the support and development of African film.’
The DFO / DIFF partnership brings an important business component to the existing Durban International Film Festival offering and offers a focal point to interface and engage with international players about global trends affecting and ultimately impacting on how Africa accesses the global marketplace.
“We believe that the City is taking up its place as both a globally competitive film venue and an important contributor to the local economy,’ Monty emphasised.
“We are extremely fortunate to have the support and co-operation of our local role players, without whom we would not be enjoying quite as much success and receiving the accolades of local and foreign film makers and companies alike. We have worked hard at The Durban Film Office to create a well organised, efficient and supportive infrastructure around the industry in the city and the province. The Durban FilmMart provides further impetus to this focus.’