SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE…South Africa’s National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) aims to increase the number of feature films it funds to between six and 15 per year.
So said head of Development & Production Clarence Hamilton at a presentation at the Durban FilmMart on 22 July. “We have received increased funding for the next three years from Treasury and need to use this money in a way that will show government that the local industry is growing. The NFVF plans to secure another funding partner, preferably a broadcaster, and then we can develop a business plan for films with budgets of R6m.’
Hamilton noted that this year sees a change in focus of the Sediba Masters Programme. “We have put out a call for pitches to develop projects through our Masters programme for a period of 12 months. Writers must pitch three concepts to us and we will select the best pitch. At the end of the Masters Programme writers will have produced a third draft polished script.
“The NFVF is also calling for script editor trainees with a bias on indigenous languages, as well as relaunching its Short Film contest. This is for first time filmmakers who want a calling card. We will shortlist eight projects for development and will chose the best four for production. One of the big successes from our previous Short Film Contest was Father Christmas Doesn’t Come Here. Later this year we hope to announce another short film initiative.’
Another major NFVF project is to set up digital screens in townships, community centres and rural areas. An example is the Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre in KwaMashu, which provides a real cinematic experience. The NFVF aims to create 150 screens in rural areas and townships over the next 10 years.
Other news is that the NFVF is finalising the criteria to support the packaging of international television concepts developed by local filmmakers. The NFVF has also commissioned a book of reviews of South African films. This is to be an annual publication, with the first edition likely to be published in April next year.
A call for entries into the 2011 South African Film & Television Awards will go out on the 1 August, with the awards event to take place in February next year. The NFVF, gearing up to the establishment of the South African Film & Television Academy, has made a change in the judging process; only SAFTA winners and nominees are eligible to be judges.
“We’ve also embarked on a process to take the NFVF to the public. This entails going into townships and engaging with people so as to promote local films and documentaries. We will ensure that townships will have access to information about the film industry on an on-going basis,’ noted Azania Muendane, head of Marketing & Public Affairs.
NFVF executive Thandeka Zwane talked about the NFVF’s development of a distribution model for filmmakers. “We have been involved in the distribution of Skin and Retribution, both films that were supported by the NFVF. However, our distribution model is open to all South African films. We look at all levels of distribution – theatrical, TV, DVD and online as we want local production companies to be sustainable. It’s important to note that we are not in competition to local independent distributors – it’s our role to develop a distribution model. The NFVF is in discussions with the Department of Trade & Industry about a rebate for P&A (prints and advertising) costs.’
(Report by Joanna Sterkowicz)