DFM raises African film profile


Twenty African projects (10 feature films and 10 documentaries) will be pitched to
leading international financiers, sales agents, co-producers and funding organisations
from Africa, Asia, Europe, and north America, at the Finance Forum of the 2nd Durban
FilmMart (DFM), which takes place in Durban, South Africa from 22 to 25 July.

DFM is a joint venture between the Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Durban
International Film Festival (DIFF) created to raise the visibility of projects from the
African continent and to create networking opportunities with potential co-producers
and other industry players.

Some 126 qualifying projects were submitted for 2011, a significant increase from
2010’s figure of 76 qualifying projects, 12 of which were selected to participate in the
Finance Forum.

DFO CEO Toni Monty stresses that while the DFM partners are keen on growth, the
initiative was designed to maintain easy access to financiers and experts. “Feedback
from last year indicated that delegates were most pleased with the intimacy and
openness of the market and their ability to have productive meetings with special guests
and filmmakers alike. We would not want to see the co-production market get too big
too soon as it’s important to ensure that the first few years enable the careful building
of strong relationships and business networks.’

This year’s submissions came from 22 African countries including Algeria, Benin,
Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Morocco,
Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia and Uganda.

Monty notes that DFM 2011 sees a strengthened documentary filmmakers’ programme,
thanks to the partnership with IDFA (International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam)
and a team led by its Head of Industry Office, Adriek van Nieuwenhuyzen
“DFM will present a pitching forum specifically for documentary projects, where local and
international commissioning editors are invited to engage with pitches by selected
documentary projects, in addition to closed one-on-one pitching sessions. An additional
package of seminars, panels and workshops aimed at addressing the particular
challenges of documentaries will feature this year. IDFA will play a key role in
coordinating the pitching forum and workshops,’ explains Monty.

South African Don Edkins (STEPS for the Future; Why Democracy?; Why Poverty?),
who has vast experience in local and international sectors, is to engage with all the
documentary projects in the month prior to DFM and will, together with IDFA and other
selected experts, help prepare projects for the pitching sessions.

A pitch and packaging mentoring programme will be offered to all DFM official projects
prior to the investor meetings on Sunday 24 and Monday 25 July.

Three Talent Campus Durban participants who have projects in the Doc Station Durban,
will be given the opportunity to participate in much of the DFM Producers’ Forum
programme. Similarly, Talent Campus Durban Master classes are open to DFM delegates.
Leonard Retel Helmrich, winner of Sundance 2011 and IDFA 2010 prizes for his film,
Position Among The Stars, will give one of these master classes.

“The Hubert Bals Fund will, as in 2010, offer an award to the most promising DFM
project. We are also excited that this year will include the PUMA.Creative Catalyst
Awards and PUMA.Creative Mobility Awards, which will be adjudicated by Channel 4
BRITDOC Foundation, PUMA.Creative and Creative Africa Network,’ comments Peter
Rorvik, DIFF Director. “Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation producers Beadie Finzi and Elise
McCave, supported by the PUMA.Creative Catalyst Programme, are also going to take
part in the mentoring sessions and in panels at the Co-production Forum. In addition,
IDFA and the Jan Vrijman Fund will offer accreditation and accommodation at IDFA 2011
for two selected documentary projects.

“The DFM is heartened by the success of our 2010 projects such as Egyptian producer
Hossan Elouan, whose film Hawi directed by Ibrahim El-Batout, scooped an award at the
Doha Tribeca Film Festival. Hawi was also presented at International Film Festival
Rotterdam 2011 and will showcase at this year’s DIFF.’

Three official projects from last year – Jenna Scott Bass (winner of the Hubert Bals Fund
Award at DFM), Tahir Aliyev, and Tom Rowlands-Rees – were also invited to attend the
Rotterdam Lab during International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Cinemart earlier this year,
courtesy of the DFM / CineMart partnership established in 2010.


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