For the first time the Cape Film Commission (CFC) will take a delegation of eight South African filmmakers to the Cannes International Film Festival (16 to 27 May), in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).
This follows on from another first, the CFC’s trade mission to the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April, organised in conjunction with the dti, the South African Consulate General in New York City, the Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Gauteng Film Commission.
Eighteen filmmakers from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban attended Tribeca through the initiative. The aim of the mission was to assist South African filmmakers in promoting local films to a wider international audience.
Says CFC CEO Denis Lillie: “We feel it is important for South African filmmakers to have access to international markets through festivals like Cannes and Tribeca. This forms part of the CFC enterprise and trade development initiative.
“For both Tribeca and Cannes we put out a newsletter to our 3 000 members. Those that responded were given the dti guidelines and those who satisfied them were accepted on the mission. Their air fare, accommodation and delegate passes are funded through our initiative by the dti.’
At Cannes the CFC will be based at the South African Pavilion, which is hosted by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF).
“We are arranging a breakfast reception at Cannes in conjunction with the NFVF and another reception together with Cape Town Film Studios,’ notes Lillie.
He reports that through the positive interactions at Tribeca the CFC has agreed with the South African consulate in New York to make this an annual trade mission.
“On 20 April the South African Consulate General and the Cape and Gauteng Film Commissions hosted a South African reception at the Tribeca Filmmakers Lounge,’ continues Lillie. “The event was attended by over 150 representatives of the New York film industry, including some of the management of Tribeca and the International Emmys.
“We were all a bit overwhelmed by the response to our delegation. Many have reported that they did good business at Tribeca. Actor Joe Pantaliano (The Sopranos; Momento) was a guest speaker at our local film screening and he, like everyone else, was somewhat taken aback by the scope, depth and breadth of our filmmaking capabilities. It’s clear when you view the pantheon of what is currently in production, from animation through features to music videos and documentaries, that South Africa is a force to be reckoned with on the world filmmaking stage.’
Next year Lillie hopes to take 30 filmmakers to Tribeca and develop an expanded programme.
“This fits in well with the relationship we are developing with the International Emmys here in New York, together with the African American Film Festival and The Africa Channel. We are looking to develop a South Africa Day as part of the African American Festival 2013, which will run a few days before Tribeca.
“I urge filmmakers to register as members of the CFC so they receive newsletters in relation to future trade missions through firstname.lastname@example.org,’ concludes Lillie.
Screen Africa magazine – May 2012