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Catherine Meyburgh and Richard Pakleppa’s Dying for Gold premieres at Hot Docs in Canada


On Friday, 26 April, Screen Africa shared a press release online titled ‘NFVF-funded documentaries make their debut at Hot Docs in Canada’. The press release was sent to us by the National Film & Video Foundation’s (NFVF) media agency. We have since been informed by the directors and producers of Dying for Gold that the information contained in that release – regarding their film – was incorrect.

We’d like to sincerely apologise to Catherine Meyburgh and Richard Pakleppa, the co-directors and co-producers of Dying for Gold, as well as every other person involved in the production of the film, for this misunderstanding. We have recommended that the NFVF recall the inaccurate press release.

Dying for Gold has not received production funding from the NFVF, only a small amount to attend Hotdocs Film Festival. Which has yet to be paid,” said Meyburgh. She additionally informed us that contrary to what the press release said, Lee Selleck is in no way involved with the production.

A Breathe Films production

Today, gold miner communities across Southern Africa have nothing to show for the wealth they produced except extreme rural underdevelopment and the world’s worst epidemic of TB and silicosis. Over 500 000 gold miners returned home from the mines suffering from tuberculosis and silicosis. Through the lives of miners and their families from Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa, and extensive use of contrasting archive materials, Dying for Gold tells the story of South Africa’s biggest class action lawsuit.

South Africa’s biggest gold mining companies have been accused of knowingly exposing miners to harmful dust causing the terminal disease, silicosis and makes them more susceptible to TB. The class action has been settled out of court – which means the real cost of gold will not be known. Dying for Gold exposes the century of deplorable practices by gold mines and ensures that miners and their families are justly compensated. The film also aims to promote discussion on mining – especially profit-based harmful practices.

“We have started a campaign which will be running concurrently with the film,” Meyburgh adds. “We also will be rolling out a massive impact campaign using the film to raise consciousness about silicosis and TB and the related class action (the biggest class action South Africa has ever seen). The film has already been translated into six languages which will allow for it to be shown across the sub-continent. I hope the situation can lead to something positive and help with the Justice for Miners campaign.”

To learn more about the film or to sign the petition and join the movement for just compensation, visit the Dying for Gold website.

Follow Dying for Gold on Twitter (@DyingforGold) and Facebook (Dying for Gold) for regular updates.

SAB launches short film on social media to raise awareness about underage drinking

The holiday season is upon us and SAB is intensifying its efforts to help reduce the harm caused by the misuse of alcohol with the launch of a short film focusing on preventing underage drinking in the latest instalment of the organisation’s 18+ Be The Mentor programme.

Since June 2017, SAB has encouraged young adults to ‘Be Part of the Change’ with the relaunch of its ‘Be the Mentor’ campaign, the objective of which is to curb underage drinking. More than 9 000 participants have joined the online community of everyday heroes by taking a pledge to help someone in their life.

“The purpose of the short film is to showcase how poor decisions affect the lives of teenagers, and to encourage more people to become a mentor and make a positive impact on the lives of our youth,” says Zoleka Lisa, corporate affairs director, SAB and AB InBev Africa.

“18+ is based on the thinking that youngsters relate better to someone closer to them in age, such as a neighbour or a cousin, as opposed to a parent, and are therefore able to more effectively bring about change.”

The film depicts boys auditioning for the role of “Tebogo”, a young man with a drinking problem. The fictional character starts out as a young boy who witnesses his mother being intimate whilst he is supposed to be asleep. Later, he is depicted getting caught stealing, hitting a pedestrian while drinking and driving and other social misdemeanours. After the audition, the audience watch as the director tells the boys that none of them will be casted, because it was not really an audition. They watch in disbelief as the director explains that he was Tebogo, and the roles they were acting out were his past, and that he hopes they choose a better future.

While the characters are fictional, it depicts some of the real social challenges encountered across South African communities, many of them as a result of underage or abusive alcohol consumption.

The short film encourages the audience to join in the journey to help rewrite the future of South Africa’s youth and #BePartOfTheChange.

“SAB has a hard-hitting intervention based strategy aimed at tackling the effects of underage consumption and alcohol abuse in South Africa, and this is one of several initiatives especially designed in collaboration with multiple, relevant and expert stakeholders to address the challenge,” says Lisa. This multi-shareholder approach, working with leaders in the industry and experts on alcohol harm, is taken as a means of yielding the most effective results. Through initiatives like 18+, SAB is committed to helping foster a global culture of smart drinking to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.”

The seven-minute film is available online via YouTube on the SAB 18+ Be The Mentor Facebook page. The pledge can be taken via www.bethementor.sab.co.za . We urge all adults to take the pledge and join the 18+ Be The Mentor movement and be part of the change.

Robe lights up South African television show In Die Kollig

In Die Kollig (Afrikaans for ‘In the Spotlight’) is a new music-focused South African television show produced by one of the country’s most famous TV personalities, singer and entertainer Johan Stemmet, recently broadcast on SABC2.

The first series’ episodes were produced by Stemburg TV and recorded at Urban Brew Studios at Randburg Waterfront, with the show creatively lit by Ryan Lombard, HOD of Lighting at Blond Productions. Lombard utilised around 100 Robe moving lights and other fixtures. All the lighting and video equipment was supplied by Blond Productions.

Each show featured a local music artist whose story was revealed thorough a series of 12 songs, which included a tribute, a ‘legend’ song, a duo, and other variants. There were also plenty of guest spots and surprise appearances to keep it interesting!

The intense 7-day shoot schedule entailed recording two episodes per day, so Lombard had to light 24 songs – each one looking different and unique! That was the challenge, and the reason he chose Robe moving lights to assist.

The initial set design was a collaboration with Dream Sets, after which Ryan and Christiaan Ballot – owner and founder of Blond Productions, now one of the leading South African TV lighting and production specialists – were asked for their input. They also specified the video screens at this stage.

Once the set details were finalised, they started working out the lighting positions. Lombard had plenty of creative freedom as director Anne Williams and he have worked together before, and she knew he would deliver the required atmospherics and mood.

Three U-shaped trusses were installed in the roof of the studios to provide most of the lighting positions. The upstage one was the widest, with the other two reduced in size proportionately to give a shrinking perspective effect.

One of the briefs from the producers was that they wanted it to look huge on camera, yet also capture the intimate, cabaret style vibe, with guests sitting at tables around the performance space, rather than on traditional tribune seating.

Other lighting positions were provided by truss totem towers positioned around the stage at floor level.

Rigged on these were 36 x Robe LEDBeam 100s, 12 x miniPointes, 12 x MMX Spots, 18 x LEDWash 300s, 12 x 600E Beams and eight PATT 2013s, plus a selection of LED PARs, and battens.

The little LEDBeam 100s were the main effects lights of the show and provided the most spectacular eye candy looks. Ryan mostly ran them at only 10 – 20% brightness to be subtler with the effects, a ploy that worked better for all the low angle camera shots.

The miniPointes were a key fixture together with the MMX Spots and 600E Beams. They were used extensively throughout all the songs, sometimes in static scenes to create mood and ambience, and other times strobing and flashing to ramp up the excitement and razzamatazz!

Lombard has used Robe products on numerous projects in the last 10 years since he’s been working for Blond, and the miniPointe is currently one of his favourite fixtures. “It’s plenty bright for the camera and you can almost do a whole show just using prisms and three or four colours.”

The MMX Spots were perfect for washing the main set and floor area, for defined beams and nice simple zoomed-in gobo looks, while the LEDWash 300s were a major source of back-light and great for washing and augmenting the performance area.

The lighting console was a grandMA2 light with a grandMA2 NPU, also running an MA VPU with all the video content that Blonde compiled specially for the production.

Lombard programmed furiously during each available two-hour session, creating all the effects lighting and major looks, while Alistair Richards took care of the ‘classic’ television lighting elements like key lighting, perfecting flesh tones and eliminating shadows, for which he used a different system comprising 40 x 2K fresnels, 12 x ETC Source Fours and two Robert Juliat Topaze follow spots.

The programming slots were at the end of the day before for the next morning’s episode, and in the break after the first recording of the day for the second show, so it was tight, although Lombard admits that he loved meeting the challenges! Rehearsals were also recorded for potential inclusion in the show, adding more pressure for all on the production side.

The camera session for recording the artist close-ups was the only ‘rehearsal’ Lombard and Richards had for what was to come so they needed to get every cue bang-on as the first time they saw the actual show was when it was on camera!

The set featured seven separate screens, five built using 48 x 6mm LED panels which were more abstract in shape, so the graphics were scaled exactly to fit. The two high def 7 x 4 metre side screens were built from 56 x panels of 2.9 mm LED – also from Blond.

Lombard enjoyed lighting all the stars taking part for different reasons, however Afrikaans singer Jannie Moolman possibly stood out the most.

“The overall tempo of his show was relaxed,” he explained “it wasn’t packed with of whiz-bang moments but seeing it on camera for the first time I realised just how dynamic the design looked and how it worked in so many different contexts.”

Aperi using software to present a new approach to live production

A brand new stand at IBC 2018 will see Aperi – a pioneer of software-driven live remote production – demonstrate the technology that content producers and distributors all over the world are using for faster, more efficient live productions.

Aperi will demonstrate a live 4K production chain that relies on Aperi’s production platform to achieve true remote production. Visitors to the show will see firsthand how deploying a software-based workflow, instead of traditional hardware-only or hybrid architectures, enable broadcast functions that can be turned on or off, as needed. Demos of Aperi’s latest ACIPS high QoS source-timed clean switching products enabling significant bandwidth savings will also take place.

Underpinning Aperi’s technology is V-Stack, an innovative FPGA-powered software platform that provides much more compute power than CPU- or GPU-based processing. Optimised for live production, it provides a much faster and more agile remote production with lower latency.

With the V-Stack at its core, Aperi is the only low-latency platform in the broadcast industry that enables the start and stop of broadcast functions through apps with flexible licenses. The platform is also the industry’s first to be built with container-based technology fully integrated, with automatic discovery and registration proven in the data center software world, removing the need for manual processes and administration or field engineers.

During the show, visitors will be able to see how Aperi’s V-Stack reduces seconds of latency to just milliseconds. V-Stack’s RESTful API structure underlies an easy but resourceful integration with any orchestration system.

“The Aperi team is returning to IBC after a very busy summer of new and extended customer deployments, ready to show visitors how they can benefit from a shift in their approach to live production,” said Joop Janssen, Aperi’s CEO. “The newest updates to our platform will only increase our customers’ ability to output the highest-quality live programming faster and more effectively. Our dynamic licensing, for example, is an industry first and allows operators to achieve simple workflow management through the spinning up and down of broadcast functions and floating them around network edges and core locations.”

The stand will also feature the latest IP security and monitoring solutions for SMPTE-2110 and 2022 production and delivery networks to ensure valuable programming is kept safe throughout the production chain. These include software-integrated NAT & Firewall, hitless, FEC, A/B and auto-microserver failover and self-healing mechanisms.

An Aperi remote production network can either be deployed on generic FPGA-powered servers or Aperi’s dedicated edge servers. A new addition to Aperi’s product range, the A1101, an intelligent new one-blade microserver with an integrated IP switch, will also be on the stand. Demonstrations of the unit will show how users with more limited signal service needs can deploy smaller edges on their networks.

Aperi will be exhibiting at the RAI Amsterdam as part of IBC 2018, the show that takes place between 14 to 18 September.


We caught up with Egg Films’ newest young director Robin Adams…


Cape Town, born and raised. I’ve always had a strong passion for drawing, art and photography. I went on to study writing and directing at AFDA. I was then given the opportunity to work at Velocity Films, where I spent a good few years working alongside Keith Rose, one of the greatest directors our country’s ever seen.

This gave me an immense understanding of how big budget productions operate, through all phases of production. Each and every job has its own unique set of obstacles and challenges. Having gone through many of these in my time at Velocity, I feel I now have the confidence not only in my understanding as a creative but also in being able to trust my gut.


Not at all! Where I come from, this was always maybe a stretch too far outside of what’s possible. I mean I always knew that I was NOT going to end up in some corporate 9 to 5. I imagined myself possibly doing graphic design or art direction; I even did a few short courses at AAA but quickly realised as much as I love advertising, that side of the business wasn’t for me. I found out about AFDA in Cape Town, and after visiting their campus I was sold and directing was what I had to do.


As a filmmaker today, this is starting to feel like quite a loaded question. Are you into making features or commercials? TV or webisodes? Do you vlog? Are you a music video guy? Mainstream or arthouse? Action, comedy, or drama?  With the amount of content accessible to us – whether you’re on your couch, in the cinema, taking a cab or even on the loo – I feel that it’s all starting to feel a little same-y. To me content is content is content and I enjoy creating it.


The real world! People. Drama. Family and cooking. Lighting, lensing, camerawork. Music. Movies, music videos and art. Content… Photography, architecture and colour.  Clothing and shoes. Instagram – THE INTERNET. Inspiration for me is all around.


I just wrapped up my first job with Egg for Protex and now I’m back to pitching on the next one.


Right now I’m very happy to have signed with Egg and I’m fully focused on developing my commercials reel. It’s quite difficult to juggle film and commercials simultaneously, especially when you’re just starting out, as they’re both full-time commitments. I like features, and with films like The Wound, Five Fingers for Marseiles and Nommer 37 doing so well on the international festival grid, it’s definitely an exciting time for local filmmakers and something to think about for the future.


I’ve had two great mentors so far in my career. The most recent and obvious being Keith Rose. The other more longstanding mentor has been Argus photographer Willie De Klerk, my grandfather. He taught me how to use a camera when I was a kid and was a guiding voice throughout my studies and even into my time with Keith.


Alejandro Inarritu.

Quentin Tarantino.

Martin Scorcese, in no particular order.


These two questions are very much the same to me; I could swap my answers around and they would be true for either. As most industry folk will tell you, working for Keith is no easy feat. Keith is possibly the most hardworking person I’ve ever met. His attention to every minute detail and drive to constantly push the boundaries – his own and those of everyone involved on his projects- is relentless. It’s safe to say that this has to be right up there as both a challenge and a highlight.

I also think that the industry is inundated with a certain type of director, in Cape Town at least. You’re going to have to look quite long and hard to find an exception to that. There aren’t many black or more specifically, coloured directors here. Across the mass of directors in Cape Town, I’d say there’s one or two. Now that I’ve signed with Egg, I feel that’s been broken somewhat and I’m very proud to say it.


There are so many to choose from… Having travelled there recently on my honeymoon, I have to say New York City. There’s so much magic around, wherever you go. And from what I hear about filming there, it’s no simple task. I would say having free reign to shoot there would be quite the dream.


It’s not for everyone. It’s not simple or easy. I feel that you should know with every part of your being that this is what you truly want to do with your life. I’m not sure of the statistics but of the people in my year at AFDA, if 10 are successfully working in the film industry right now, that’s a lot, and that’s not a criticism of AFDA. However, if you truly are passionate about it, it’s very possible to make a success of it. Have no backup plans and go all the way. Also, “Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen” (Baz Luhrmann).


Probably a chef or Elon Musk.


Launch of new company, Robycam Germany GmbH

Effective immediately Broadcast Solutions GmbH transferred rental and sales of the Robycam cable camera systems to a new company – Robycam Germany GmbH. The newly founded Robycam Germany GmbH will be jointly managed by managing directors Philip von Senden and Stefan Breder.

Managing director Philip von Senden who will be leading the company is a specialist in cable camera systems with more than 25 year’s experience in live TV production. With his most prominent function as managing director at Spidercam GmbH, von Senden previously worked in leading positions at Plazamedia, White Balance, TVN and SAT1, among others.

After establishing the new Robycam business unit at Broadcast Solutions GmbH, the Robycam System has since been used in many high-profile events throughout various fields, including concerts, Live and TV-shows, as well as sports events ranging from biathlon, handball and ice hockey to UEFA Champions League matches.

Stefan Breder, CEO of the Broadcast Solutions Group, comments on the new Robycam Germany GmbH: “Rental business and productions with the Robycam system at major national and international events are booming, and with the new company we can even better meet increasing customer requests. To do this, we will add more systems to our rental stock. I am happy to have Philip von Senden with us. He trusts in the system’s qualities, has excellent knowledge in the business area, and I am sure, as a team, we will successfully establish Robycam Germany in the market.”

Marc Schroeder, former contact at Broadcast Solutions GmbH for rental and sales of Robycam systems, also joins the new company as senior operation manager. He continues to lead the system’s distribution and the realisation of productions.

Manufacture, assembly and production support of all Robycam systems within Robycam Germany is in the hands of the new company. All systems have a DGUV certification (previously BGV-C1) and therefore comply with all essential national and international safety regulations.


The changing face of MAM systems for South African broadcasters

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: From VHS tape libraries with simplistic, but bespoke, in-house cataloguing systems, to digital archives and more comprehensive, but uniform, search and retrieval capabilities, advances in technology have taken Media Asset Management (MAM) systems for South African broadcasters to astounding new heights.


The tapes had some information written on them, but if the broadcaster wanted to know more details as to the footage, they used their custom-built MAM system. It had basic metadata that gave more information, but “these systems were only hard coded – that is, the vendor would define the storage policy in their software,” explains Shaun Kerr, divisional manager of Broadcast and Multimedia at Protea Electronics (which is Ooyala’s partner for MAM systems in South Africa).


With the massive amounts of video media being produced and consumed on a daily basis, broadcasters needed an efficient, quicker system that would enable them to easily find the exact footage they were looking for in their digital archive. Driven by advancements in technology, the current MAM format was born.

“MAM must now mirror and support the complexity associated with delivering highly personalised, effectively ‘segment of one’ style content. All of a sudden, you need to support many more formats, languages, etc. to be able to reach out on a personalised level to an individual user. All of those different renditions must be neatly organised and the complexity associated with managing this has been another factor in the evolution of MAM,” explains Kerr.

“The push toward international interoperability of media deliverables across systems, the need for deeper and wider automation to reduce repetitive manual chores and the growth in OTT, VOD and streaming services requiring hundreds if not thousands of different versions for distribution and playback, have all driven innovation and evolution in MAM technology,” adds Colin Wainer, CEO of Inala Broadcast (which is Tedial’s partner for MAM systems in South Africa).


Quite a lot of automation happens today during the MAM process, from purely human input previously. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) that recognises scene changes is possible. There’s voice to text technology, enabling search based on each word. Facial recognition, combining AI and machine learning, character recognition including signage and graphics, and even landmark and person sentiment recognition technology is also available.


The number of suppliers of MAM systems has also increased. Whereas before, bespoke in-house systems were used by each broadcaster, “now broadcast solutions providers have taken on the MAM system to standardise, and to ensure it complies with metadata models approved by the Society of Music Producers and Television Engineers (SMPTE). Nowadays most people choose the metadata model first and then a solution that goes around it,” says Colin Stoltz, account manager at Jasco Broadcast Solutions.

Major suppliers in South Africa include Avid, and Viz, as well as non-traditional broadcast suppliers including IT giants like Oracle, and IBM. “At NAB this year, there were over 1 700 vendors exhibiting, each trying to sell some product, system or service to support media companies somewhere in the content lifecycle. If we filter this list down to companies that offer ‘media asset management’ solutions, then this list still exceeds 250 companies,” comments Kerr.


Whereas before the MAM system was only linked to the source device, now systems across the broadcasters’ operations are all interconnected.

“Workflow has progressed to full orchestration, where an entire operation is linked to the MAM as the central director of media collection, preparation and distribution: This connects the back-office tools such as traffic and content management solutions with the library of assets and the outputs for monetisation, such as a linear playout channel, VOD pitches or Blue Ray authoring. The key changes supporting these enhancements are the viability of scalable business process workflow engines and Restful APIs to better connect disparate tools,” says Wainer.


While all these changes have taken place, one element has remained constant throughout, the importance of enriching the data in the MAM system.

“Everyone has a pot full of files. But they are only an asset if you can find what you’re looking for in that pot. Otherwise, it’s just a file. If you don’t have enough metadata describing that file, then you may as well just delete them,” emphasises Stoltz. Nowadays this is done via user input and/or automation systems.


Further advances in technology will have the biggest impact on MAM systems going forward. “More cloud storage, more intelligence, more automation,” comments Paul Divall, managing director of the Intelligent Technologies division at Jasco Broadcast Solutions.

“Not AI for the sake of the new, but actual smart functions that take advantage of the new metadata engines to multiply outputs and increase the human capabilities. Cloud systems and innovation to enhance speed of deployment and delivery, with access from anywhere and the ability to manage capacity on a per-project basis,” adds Wainer.


The importance of MAM systems, especially as media companies continue to consolidate, cannot be stressed enough. “The ability to manage operations and workflows across multiple sites and in fact automate functions across geographical boundaries, or even around the globe, lets today’s managers effectively manage costs, bandwidth and capacity as systems migrate to cloud infrastructure,” he concludes.


Unlike some technology, where South Africa lags behind global markets, the MAM systems being sold in the country, and used by most SA broadcasters, are on par with those used in international markets. The implementation by some broadcasters of the advanced MAM system may be lacking, due to funding constraints or the requirements and the desired outcomes of the individual broadcaster, but it is available to them if they choose. A difference though, is that SA broadcasters are not yet making use of the advanced AI and machine learning technologies that are available, which some international broadcasters are already utilising.


Let the credits roll on Africa’s greatest opportunity for growth


SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: On Monday, 29 January 2018, the world of film changed forever with the release of Black Panther, which played its part in making the inevitable happen. Hollywood will never be the same again. And neither will film on our continent.

The global box-office blockbuster that Black Panther became within just the next 30 days is almost as unreal as the idea of a black superhero emanating from Africa. In week five of its release, the South African box-office record of R101 million ($8.5 million) was eclipsed, out of a global $1.4 billion in revenue.

We remain a small, yet vital support actor. But the planet has a new script and Africa is the source for a plethora of storylines.

Ironically, the film industry of South Africa, despite its 123-year history, still finds itself in a malady of fractured inefficiency where a tiny few rule the flow of capital, the means of production and the resultant imagery of reality. This is a reflection of the broader South African context whether in culture or commerce.

But the Black Panther phenomenon heralds an African dawn of both hope and black excellence, and the real chance for South Africa to lose its historical shackles in the form of the current industry leadership over the next decade.

What is needed to reverse our falling share price is an approach that asks: “What box?”. What is needed is an approach that transcends the so-called box entirely. The responsibility rests with black people in the film industry to rise to the occasion of a new horizon across the pond, far beyond the existing, ego-battling turf. The time for such courageous hearts and minds is now.

In a reimagined entertainment and media value-chain the god-like warrior that is Shaka Zulu resonates across ages alongside the unorthodox golfing genius that is Papwa Sewgolum, in the South African pantheon of greats. By taking control of these narratives we are able to rewrite the social and economic injustices of the past through the stories that were never told through our lens. By controlling the narratives and telling our own stories, we are celebrating the African story and immortalising our own ‘Black Panthers’. In this way, we can draw a parallel between the ‘Black Panther’ and these icons. They are our superheroes, our living legends, so let us tell that story.

Transformation, skills development and sustainable job creation are the key drivers of South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030 (NDP2030) and are the local benchmarks for ensuring a globally competitive country in the global space. In the spirit of this vision for 2030, our traditional competence as the service provider to the developed world’s film needs a complete reinvention to reposition our value proposition. The South African film industry must realise its true potential to that of a fully integrated 360 degree participant in the global space – from story to script to film.

Thanks to the Black Panther phenomenon, there is a new narrative unlocking new markets and creating opportunities for everyone to benefit from, empowering the youth and building verticals to drive growth to a real film economy. There is an urgent need for us to focus on the size of the South African share of the global film economy and where we should be over the next five years.

According to the 2017 industry report by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the South African film industry generates R12 billion. With a re-imagined industry the projections are that this could be quadrupled in revenue value.

The disparity between the emerging and established filmmaker remains unresolved, which has always left a huge gap for growth in the middle. But very little has been done to bridge this divide and many generally choose to sit back and wait for someone to champion the cause. A few gallantly take up the challenge. But the perception of policy and provincial borders is the general argument for the barriers for this exponential growth to succeed. With a cautious and conservative approach over time, we will lose even more momentum while other markets are more bullish in their approach.

The time for change is now. We need to adopt a more collaborative spirit to drive opportunities into realities so that big and small operators can all thrive. Our advantage is market access to 1.2 billion people on the continent. The Cape Town International Film Market and Festival is a validation of our commitment to ensuring we build an excellent platform for people to develop the necessary skills and knowledge capital to work and thrive across borders.

This event focuses on the critical value chain of the film industry; the drivers who provide an invaluable transport service to visiting and local talent and crews, the carpenters, set builders and painters, some of the world’s most experienced technical crew, and even the local clothing industry, with more than 200 000 textile workers who can produce awe-inspiring costumes to scale. Then there is the incredible talent in our midst – filmmakers, actors, scriptwriters – an untapped source of home-grown talent ready to be discovered.

We currently find ourselves in a time and place that is plagued with cultural ignorance, intolerance and high rates of unemployment. Big business and the government are scrambling for solutions when the spotlight has been shining on it for years.

Let Africans write the scripts that will tell stories that will challenge these intolerances and also create thousands of jobs – one pixel at a time.

Written by Rafiq Samsodien, executive chairman, Cape Town International Film Market & Festival

Durban International Film Festival gears up for its 2018 edition

This year, the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), the leading event of its kind on the African continent, is once again bringing film-lovers and filmmakers from across the globe to the city of Durban for a feast of the latest and greatest that cinema has to offer, from 19 to 29 July.

“We are in a time of diversity, where women, racial minorities and LGBTI communities who have traditionally been underrepresented in film are having their voices brought to the fore,” says Chipo Zhou, DIFF festival manager. “Referencing this global narrative, the films in this year’s festival will reflect these new voices as much as possible. Having said that, we have had a tough time selecting from the over 2000 submissions received. It is always a bittersweet process for the team, who have had to cut this number to 200.”

“Nelson Mandela once said “Fools multiply when wise men are silent”, and with recent revelations on the exploitation of women in the industry, the DIFF is rallying behind the #itsnotokay movement,” reports Zhou. “We will show public service announcements prior to each screening that have been created by SWIFT (Sisters Working in Film and Television) – the South African based NPO that works to protect and advance the cause of women in South African film and television. This is part of our contribution to the reimaging of the South African film industry. We will also screen a selection of Nelson Mandela films as a special focus, in commemoration of his centenary birthday celebrations.”

“African cinema, including the work of female directors, is exploding with the broadening of themes and cinematic styles. There is a celebration of the development of new thematic, universal and aesthetic interpretive perspectives and our selection this year is testament to this,” enthuses Zhou.

The festival will showcase 100 fiction and documentary feature length films and a wide selection of short films and documentaries. Twenty-five films from the BRICS programme, hosted by the National Department of Arts and Culture in partnership with the National Film and Video Foundation, will run parallel to the DIFF and the Durban FilmMart (DFM).

The Durban FilmMart enters its ninth iteration in 2018 and will yet again offer a robust industry programme that is not only abreast with industry trends but aims to project beyond them. The DFM, taking place from 20 to 23 July, is a premier film industry market platform and continues to attract an extensive global network yet is firmly grounded on the African continent. This year, the DIFF and the Durban FilmMart have worked closely to synergise content with the appointment of well-known curator Russel Hlongwane to bring a joint vision to light.

The DIFF Industry Programme, which is targeted at emerging filmmakers and the general public interested in learning more about film, will provide an overview of the value chain in the film industry. This is a public programme pitched at entry level filmmakers. The programme also assumes its official title, Isiphethu, an isiZulu word meaning springs. The adoption of this title is informed by the need for the industry programme to establish an identity within and alongside the DFM. Both the Durban FilmMart and the Isiphethu Hub will have a strong focus on developing documentary filmmaking with targeted workshops and master classes – by several highly acclaimed international industry practitioners – taking place.

The educational Talents Durban, in partnership with Berlinale Talents, turns 11 this year, having attracted over 250 applications from 30 countries throughout the African continent. This year, a total of nineteen, very promising Talents Durban participants were carefully selected by an independent, international, woman-led Talents Durban alumnae selection committee. After vigilant consideration the committee selected three film critics to join Talent Press, four animation directors, six directors and six screenwriters.

“We look forward to our 39th edition, ahead of what we hope will be a significant 40th celebration in 2019,” says Zhou. “With about 600 filmmakers in attendance the public can look forward to a feast of film and some fascinating insights into the world of cinema.”

9th Durban FilmMart: Creating Networks, Developing Content and Building the Business of Film in Africa

One of Africa’s premier film industry events, the Durban FilmMart (DFM), a joint programme of the eThekwini Municipality’s Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) has ramped up its offerings to delegates for its 9th edition, which takes place from 20 to 23 July.

“The 2018 edition of Durban FilmMart offers some exciting opportunities through a diverse programme of master classes, seminars and events, for African filmmakers to build business networks, explore collaborations, develop content, benchmark their creative and production work in line with international trends, and look for investment and business opportunities,” says Toni Monty, head of the Durban Film Office. “But what underpins the DFM, is the focus on developing the industry in Africa, whilst drawing on local African and international expertise.”

“There are a number of lead speakers presenting at this year’s DFM,” says Russel Hlongwane, curator of the DFM and DIFF industry programme. “This year’s programme promises to stretch the mindsets of industry players, providing them with innovation and new thinking, coupled with opportunities to engage with successful and respected thought-leaders.”

Some of these key speakers include, amongst others, Dayo Ogunyemi, Lagos-based creative entrepreneur, investor and founder of 234 Media, which makes principal and private investments in the media, entertainment and technology sectors in Africa; Stephen Follows, a leading trainer and thought-leader in how storytelling can be used to change hearts and minds, and data researcher in the film industry, whose work has been featured in the New York Times, The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Evening Standard, Newsweek, The News Statesman, AV Club and Indiewire; and LA-based Peter Russell, a screenwriter and a long-time story doctor in Hollywood whose clients include Imagine, HBO, Participant, Viacom, CBS Television and many more.

After a decade of experience in music, finance, law and consulting in New York, Dayo Ogunyemi moved to Lagos to help restructure Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry. Over the past 15 years, Ogunyemi has worked in the media, entertainment and technology spaces in all three regions of sub- Saharan Africa.

Through a 234 Media investment, Ogunyemi built and operated East Africa’s then largest cinema chain and an affiliated film distribution company, through which he acquired and released independent/arthouse films including Djo Munga’s Viva Riva, Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist and Kevin McDonald’s Bob Marley biopic.

Under 234 Media’s Studio Africa banner, Ogunyemi serves as producer for films by leading and emerging African directors and has participated in the Cannes Producers Network and Cinefondation Atelier programmes.

He served as a founding board member of the African Film Academy, organiser of the African Movie Academy Awards; and on the board of the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s Information Society Initiative. At DFM, Ogunyemi will present a session entitled Africa through the Lens.

Stephen Follows, who will present a session entitled A Bird’s-Eye View of Global Industry Trends, has acted as an industry consultant and guest on the BBC Radio 4 series The Business of Film. He has created UK-wide campaigns for major charities including Scope and Unicef, and has taught at the National Film and Television School (NFTS), Met Film School, Filmbase, and on behalf of the BFI, the BBC and the British Council.

Follows’ scriptwriting has, won Virgin Media Shorts, the Reed Film Competition and IVCA awards; been nominated at the British Independent Film Awards, Viral Video Awards, and the LA Movie Awards; been long-listed for a BAFTA; and championed by Mike Newell, James King, Stephen Fry, The Daily Telegraph and Le Monde.

Follows has produced over 100 short films and two features. He has produced corporate video work for a wide variety of clients ranging from computer game giants (Bethesda), technology giants (Nokia Siemens Networks) and sporting giants (Jonny Wilkinson).

UCLA lecturer and screenwriter, Peter Russell is also a long-time story doctor in Hollywood whose clients include Imagine, HBO, Participant, Viacom, CBS Television and many more. Russell is in high demand for his legendary seminars and master classes on film and TV story.  In 2017 he sold two television pilots – a crime procedural and a biographical mini-series.

Russell’s charismatic speaking style won him UCLA Teacher of the Year in 2009. He ghostwrites for both new and established film and television writers and producers. Russell privately consults with producers and writers on film and TV story from treatments to pilots and full story development.  At the DFM he will present a workshop on writing for television series.

Other topics covered include Aesthetics of African Cinema, Matriarchs in Filmmaking led by South African Women in Film and Television (SWIFT), Are there any Sacred Cows in Filmmaking? a discussion led by the South African Screen Federation, Co-Production Treaties – Treat or Trifle?, Copyright vs Copyleft, The Medium is the Message: Animation, Getting to the Heart of your Documentary, BRICS SA Forum: Distribution Strategies within BRICS Countries and Women Led Film.

“Besides these sessions, filmmakers will have plenty of opportunities to network with peers at the various sessions as well as the more casual social functions where often creative ideas and collaborations have their birthplace” says Hlongwane.

Once again this year, the National Film and Video Foundation will present workshops and discussions on policies and local industry trends, and will also host a number of networking sessions.

Filmmakers from 16 pre-selected African film projects will have the opportunity to pitch their film projects to leading financiers, broadcasters as well as other potential funders and investors at the DFM’s finance forum. Eight documentaries and eight feature fiction films in development will be mentored by experts and given an opportunity to pitch to various panels. This gives them an opportunity to craft their projects even further, working towards getting their films made and distributed.

In 2017 CaribbeanTales and the DFM joined forces to produce the CaribbeanTales’ CTI Accelerator: CineFAM – Africa with the aim of supporting projects by African women. This accelerator aims specifically to build capacity and creative leadership among women of colour who are underrepresented in leadership roles. In 2018, the second edition of this hugely successful programme will focus on facilitating productions under the South Africa-Canada official co-production agreement.

Supporting the development of emerging filmmakers, the DFM through Produire au Sud, Nantes, will conduct a writers workshop with script consultants, Sari Turgeman and Jeremie Du bois, for its “Jumpstart” projects. This Jumpstart programme bridges the gap for emerging filmmakers to go from self-funding projects to investment/funded ones.

Running parallel to the DFM, and supported by experts and visiting speakers, is the Durban International Film Festival’s open industry programme, Isiphethu, aimed at introducing entry level, emerging filmmakers, micro-budget filmmakers as well as interested members of the public to the inner-workings  of the world of cinema.

Manager of the DIFF, Chipo Zhou says, “Our strategy for Isiphethu, in terms of industry growth, is to support filmmakers in developing content. But it is also about supporting the development of the quality of content, which may ordinarily be impacted on by smaller budgets… We want to be able to offer these filmmakers opportunities to incubate projects, be mentored by experts, network with seasoned and experienced peers, and be included in the overall vision of the DIFF and DFM, to grow quality African content. In short to include this sector of the industry into the greater industry fold.”

“Central to the objectives of the Durban FilmMart is just how we can encourage African filmmakers to look within to collaborate, finance and develop content,” says Toni Monty. “We are very excited to see so many DFM alumni projects that have come to fruition, doing very well on the various local and international festival and cinema circuits, and many with good distribution deals: these include films like Rafiki, Inexba: The Wound, Alison, Tessa, and Five Fingers for Marseilles to name a few. This is exactly what the strategy was when the DFO and DIFF created the DFM nine years ago, and it is heartening to see the long term value it provides for the African film industry.”

The 9th Durban FilmMart takes place in Durban, at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni from 20 to 23 July 2018, during the 39th edition of the Durban International Film Festival. 14

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