IDC, NFVF and DTI announce new fund to promote black filmmakers


At a press conference called at the Durban Film Mart (DFM) at the Tsogo Sun
Elangeni Hotel on 21 July, Basil Ford, head of the Industrial Development
Corporation’s (IDC) media and motion picture business units; Clarence Hamilton,
head of production and development at the National Film and Video Foundation
(NFVF) and Nelly Molokoane, director of film incentives at the Department of
Trade and Industry (DTI), jointly announced the launch of a new filmmaking
finance mechanism called the Emerging Black Filmmakers Transformation Fund

The fund will enable the production of at least six films per year (with the
potential to go up to ten films annually) for the next three years. Each film will
be allotted a budget of R4.5 million for production, as well as R500 000 for

Ford explained that the fund developed after the failure of the previous funding
operation that the three organisations attempted – the Low Budget Pilot
Project. This project required the partnership of a broadcaster in order to work
and since no broadcaster was willing or able to come on board, it stalled before
it ever got moving. So Ford, together with Zama Mkosi of the NFVF, Molokoane
and their respective teams, sat down and tried to create a new solution.

“We sat down together and we thought – how do we do this? How do we get
something innovative that will help to transform the industry? We also wanted
to make sure that we promote the production of feature films by black
filmmakers. We wanted to make sure that films that tell local stories were made
for local consumption. And ultimately we wanted to develop a sustainable
funding model. So this is what we have. The important thing about this is that
we want to promote the funding of films by black directors. And these black
directors are to be supported by black producers who hold at least 51 percent of
the film rights,’ Ford explained.

Ford went on to name three major benefits of the fund for emerging filmmakers.
Firstly, filmmakers will not be required to raise a cent towards their budgets –
the fund will finance the selected projects completely. Secondly, the legal
structure will be set in place and templates will be created, saving applicants the
trouble of drawing up contracts and paying for legal advice and so on. Thirdly,
Ford said, “The three institutions combined have got expertise, particularly the
NFVF. So what we will do is put a support system in place and that will go
towards making sure that the script is ready for production. Then where the
production needs supervision the NFVF will assist in making sure that there is
supervision and mentorship.’

Ford concluded by saying that the three institutions are looking to set up a
system where the filmmaker can simply “focus on making the film’.

Speaking to Screen Africa at a later stage, the IDC’s Trishana Thevnarain, who is
charged with running the operation of the fund, summed up the ethos behind it
when she referred to the current tendency toward segmentation in the industry
and said: “The whole intention is to strengthen the local film industry and it’s
not just looking at the local filmmakers, it is also for the local talent. We want to
promote them too, giving them the opportunity to be promoted locally as well as
the potential to actually get international roles. So we are looking at the entire
industry in this country. We want to continue making a difference to the film
industry and in particular now, the emerging black filmmakers, by helping them
to turn their visions into reality. We can only make this happen if we all work


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