The eThekwini Municipality’s film industry unit, the Durban Film Office (DFO) will be attending this year’s European Film Market (EFM) to further strengthen African and international networks, partnerships and communication links for local filmmakers during this year’s iconic Berlinale International Film Festival, which begins this week.
The EFM, has for three years now, hosted the Berlinale Africa Hub, an initiative described as providing an “international forum for communication and networking for African filmmakers and creatives, as well as for filmmakers who are active on the continent, in particular in its sub-Saharan regions.”
Head of the DFO, Toni Monty explains, that the introduction of the Berlinale Africa Hub, has provided focussed opportunities for African filmmakers to gather, share ideas and links globally and across the Diaspora cementing relationships and connections vital for the development of film ideas and projects.
The DFO is a co-partner with the Durban International Film Festival, of the Durban FilmMart, a co-production market focussing on African content for film, which takes place in the City during July.
Monty will be representing the DFO and the DFM at the market, and besides showcasing of the City as a potential location for film production, will be taking meetings with filmmakers, as well as current and potential partners, funders and investors.
“Film markets are THE place where the business of film is actioned,” explains Monty. “It’s all about making connections, examining opportunities, being exposed to potential funders, investors, broadcasters, agents, distributors and the like, which play a vital role in ensuring a film goes from its initial idea to its end product.”
Significantly the DFO and DFM will be represented on an important panel: “The African Film Market of the Future” at the Hub. South African filmmaker and producer of the STEPS Generation Africa Project, Tiny Mungwe will moderate this session which features Toni Monty (DFO and DFM), SA producer Elias Ribeiro, who heads up the Cape Town FilmMart, Marc Berry, exhibition relations manager from Discop and Matthijs Wouter Knol, EFM Market Director.
The panelists will reflect on current trends in cinema, television and new media in their own experiences as conveners of key African gatherings as well as showcase their events as film markets, providing an understanding of each platform’s niche, foreseeable strategy and vision with a view to encourage industry attendance. They will get an opportunity to unpack how international gatherings like the Africa Hub can galvanise the continent, allowing for film professionals to connect despite historical restrictions within the continent, and discuss synergies, innovations and new opportunities in Africa, and its place in the Global Cinema space.
This is one of many important panels and events planned for the Hub which includes pop-up offices, various delegation presentations, networking sessions and meetings.
“The DFO is pleased to be attending the EFM, as it plays a key role in connecting African filmmakers to their peers and to the international film arena,” says Monty. “While our focus is on developing local filmmakers and African content, there is still a vital need to ensure that we continue to develop co-production opportunities, global distribution networks and attracts investors – and that is where these markets play a pivotal role in ensuring viable connections are made.”