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Durban FilmMart Press

Durban FilmMart Press
The co-production market for African filmmakers, a joint programme of the Durban Film Office & the Durban International Film Festival.

DFM2019: ‘The Working Writer’ masterclass with Sean Drummond

At the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), running concurrently with the 40th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel in Durban, writer and producer Sean Drummond helmed a masterclass titled ‘The Working Writer’.

Drummond, who wrote and produced the award-winning feature film Five Fingers for Marseilles – which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival – is the co-founder of production company Be Phat Motel and the founding manager of the Cape Town leg of the well-respected shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival. An early lover of the written word, Drummond graduated from the University of Cape Town with Honours in Screenwriting. Additionally, he is a 2011 Talents Durban alumnus – a 5-day intensive development programme for emerging African filmmakers that runs during DIFF in collaboration with Berlinale Talents – making him a fitting host for this masterclass.

During the masterclass, Drummond discussed his 15-year journey as a screenwriter, encompassing many challenges, failures, wins and most importantly what he’s learned through it all. Drummond says that for him, in order to succeed in the industry, relationships are key as “filmmaking is the most collaborative art form – no film is made by just one person”. He continues: “It’s all relationships…because it’s about who you want to work with, who you want to go on a journey with, who do you know that’s going to open that first door, who do you know that’s going to keep opening those doors but most importantly, who do you want to work with for potentially 10 years on a project… If you don’t like each other, you have to at least respect each other.”

Drummond also shared some key insights on screenwriting through his personal process:

  1. Research: Think and learn about the world of your story as much as you can. Travel if you can, talk to people who know more than you do.
  2. Fill your story bank with all that you’ve learned during your research phase.
  3. Outline your script as much as possible: Outline the perspectives of all your characters. Outline character arcs – including each character’s hopes, dreams, desires and wants.
  4. Think on a logline. This will help you to talk about/pitch your film to people. It also acts as a beacon to come back to when you lose your way while writing.
  5. At this point, send what you have written to people you trust.
  6. Think seriously on their feedback and how to incorporate it if you agree.
  7. Write your first draft.
  8. Rewrite until you are happy: Be prepared to cut. Ask yourself “how can I make this better”.

DFM 2019 is currently running until 22 July, while DIFF will run until 28 July.




Celebrated director Mandlakayise Walter Dube announces Black Samurai One: Legend of Yasuke at DFM2019

Celebrated director/producer Mandlakayise Walter Dube (Rivonia Trial and the 2017 award-winning feature film Kalushi) presented his new film in development Black Samurai One: Legend of Yasuke to media and filmmakers at this year’s Durban FilmMart (DFM).

The film is the fourth instalment from the Legends of Freedom series, which includes the upcoming Silverton Siege shooting later this year.

The Yasuke screenplay is being written by novelist and screenwriter Sabelo Mgidi, who is currently on the second collaboration with Dube. The screenplay is being developed in partnership with the Kwa-Zulu Natal Film Commission, with the support of the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC).

“The project is another opportunity for the film commission to achieve its vision of positioning KwaZulu-Natal as a globally competitive, diverse and sustainable industry and choice film destination. It is also the objective of the film fund to invest in development of content which has commercial viability and content that will showcase local KZN content locally and internationally,” says analyst Teboho Petersen who is overlooking the script development process for KZNFC.

“Yasuke will not be like Kalushi, a rather historical drama. Yasuke is going to grab the youth like no other South African movie has before. The movie is meant to feed the hunger of our country that has so longed for a hometown hero to be celebrated in full view and accepted internationally,” says Walter Ayres who co-produced Kalushi.

The script is being edited by veteran filmmaker Ntshcavheni Waluruli of The Wooden Camera, Elelwani, and Chikin Biznis.

Professor Hiraku Kaneko is the history consultant on the screenplay and is based at the Historio-graphical Institute at the University of Tokyo specializing in the Sengoku era and historical materials of the time of Oda Nobunaga and Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Yasuke will be the first time that South African filmmakers co-produce a project with Japanese filmmakers.

“We are pleased that Mandla Dube has selected to attend the DFM to use this industry platform to showcase his new film in development, and to use the networking opportunities that the Mart affords delegates,” says Toni Monty, Head of the Durban Film Office and Durban FilmMart.

South African based Pambili Media is producing the film and seeking international sales representation and distribution. Locally the film is with Indigenous Film Distribution.

DFM2019: KZNFC talks micro-budget filmmaking – challenges and solutions

On day-one of the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM) – currently running until 22 July at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel in Durban, South Africa – the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZNFC) presented a session on micro-budget filmmaking in KwaZulu-Natal and the challenges that local filmmakers face when making these films.

The major outcome of the session was the announcement of the KZNFC’s ‘Made for TV’ or micro-budget film programme. The initiative was launched after the commission conducted research on micro-budget filmmaking in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

The KZNFC’s research found that the made-for-TV/micro-budget film industry in KwaZulu-Natal faces the following challenges:

  • Poor story quality
  • Lack of reliable skills
  • Development and production delivery turnaround times
  • Lack of administrative capacity
  • Slow improvement in quality
  • Informal production process
  • Unreliable distribution methods
  • Flooding by Tier 5 practitioners

These findings led to the birth of the Made for TV initiative which is the brainchild of the KZNFC’s Film Fund. The objective of the Film Fund is to stimulate the growth of the film industry in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, solely targeting KwaZulu-Natal-based companies and companies producing films in the province. The Film Fund provides, Development Funding, Production Funding, Marketing and Distribution Funding, and Markets and Festival Funding.

KZNFC Production Development manager, Simphiwe Ngcobo said that the Made for TV programme is a “quality boost” initiative – on behalf of the KZNFC and its Film Fund – specifically targeting micro-budget films. With this in mind, the KZNFC has reserved an impressive 40% of its funding budget this year for made for TV/micro-budget films.

Scope of the Made for TV programme:

  • The initiative aims to empower KwaZulu-Natal-based filmmakers to create TV films of competitive quality.
  • The programme will address the issue of low-quality films produced through financial, structural, mentorship and resource support.
  • The programme will encompass a specific call for Made for TV film proposals.
  • Over a period of 12 months, successful applicants will refine their proposals, develop scripts, and produce and deliver TV films of 60min in length. This process will be guided by industry professionals, practitioners and the KZNFC’s production and development team.

Ngcobo said that all this couldn’t be done without the programme’s vital industry partners, namely the SABC, KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF), and the Durban Film Office (DFO).

For more information visit the KZNFC website.

The DFM is the industry arm of the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), currently taking place at various venues in and around Durban until 28 July.

Canadian Country Focus at DIFF and DFM

Supported by Telefilm Canada and the High Commission of Canada in South Africa, Canada’s film scene will present itself from a variety of perspectives at the 2019 Durban International Film Festival (18-28 July) and Durban FilmMart (19 – 22 July).

This “Country in Focus” initiative during the DIFF and DFM gives Canada’s film industry and filmmakers the opportunity to introduce themselves in greater depth and highlight certain aspects to their peers within the African and South African context.

A delegation of Canadian producers and other film professionals will be present in Durban to represent films in the festival and to participate in the industry programme. The aim of this initiative is to foster exchange between the Canadian and African FilmMakers and help grow South to North networks. Canada’s participation in the Durban FilmMart industry programme includes the CineFam Africa Incubator, the inaugural Durban Does Docs one-day conference with HotDocs Canada, and meetings with official projects in the Finance Forum.

Collaborations between South African and Canadian producers, unpacking the successes of the official co-production treaty between the two countries, and exploring future opportunities to enhance these collaborations, will be the special focus of this delegation.

Now in its third year the CineFAM-South Africa Co-Production Accelerator at the DFM  aims to develop films and television content  by African women and women of colour from the global Diaspora. The Programme takes the form of a series of workshops, in Canada and South Africa, that aims to kickstart original co-productions led by experienced and seasoned female producers, writers and directors from both countries.

The programme is co-led by Frances-Anne Solomon, Founder and Executive Director of CineFAM, and CEO of the CaribbeanTales Media Group, and South African Producer Zikethiwe Ngcobo of Johannesburg-based Fuzebox Entertainment. Solomon also has the African Premiere of her film Hero, in the DIFF programme, and will be in attendance at the festival and mart.

“We are honoured to have the spotlight on Canada this year. This provides a vital opportunity for filmmakers to cultivate and develop international relationships, and lead to co-productions between Canada and South Africa,” said Christa Dickenson, Executive Director at Telefilm Canada. “Partnerships like this allow us both to reach audiences on a greater international scale and help to ensure the sustainability of our creative industries. We are very proud of the diversity and talent represented by the films selected in the ‘Country in Focus’ programme as well.”

“The High Commission of Canada in South Africa is proud to support DIFF for its 40th edition and DFM on its 10th anniversary. DIFF and DFM are important events for both Canadians and South Africans today because South Africa and Canada’s relationship is based on the common shared values of equality, democracy, peace, security and prosperity. The union between South Africa and Canada continues to grow and form new partnerships while cementing and enhancing old ones.” – High Commission of Canada in South Africa.

“One of the primary objectives of the DFM and DIFF is to create business and creative opportunities for South African and African filmmakers to develop their own continental and global networks, and to review their own business and film-making processes,” says Toni Monty Head of the Durban Film Office and Durban FilmMart. “So we are particularly pleased that Telefilm Canada, the High Commission of Canada in SA, CineFAM and HotDocs are partnering with us in facilitating this coming together of industry peers to collaborate, connect and reflect.”

Manager of the DIFF Chipo Zhou says, “Canadian films are globally renowned for having strong scripts and unique narratives with high production values, and so we are delighted that we are able to present these diverse and powerful films to complement the overall Canadian presence at the DIFF this year.”

The Canadian films at the DIFF include:

Hero directed by Frances-Anne Solomon: 20 July 18:30 Musgrave, 24 July 10:00 Suncoast, 24 July 16:00 Gateway (Director will be in attendance).

Shot in Trinidad, Ghana, the UK, and Canada, Hero tells the story of Ulric Cross, who left his small island home in 1941 to seek his fortune, and became the RAF’s most decorated West Indian member. However, his life took a dramatically different course when he followed the call of history and joined the independence movements sweeping the world in the 1950s and ’60s. In the process, Cross became part of the fabric of history, his long life spanning key moments in the 20th century, including independence in Africa and the Caribbean.

Honey Bee directed by Rama Rau: 21 July 14:30 Suncoast & 25 July 20:00 Gateway

In Honey Bee, a teenage sex worker has to adjust to life with a new foster family. Natalie is a slightly built but forceful young woman who works as a truck stop prostitute for her boyfriend/pimp Ryan, who has given her the nickname Honey Bee and who clearly views her as a piece of property. When Natalie is arrested by an undercover detective, she is sent to live in foster care on a farm. Sensitively directed, Honey Bee is a nuanced and insightful character study of a young woman at the crossroads of her life.

Diane directed by Kent Jones: 20 July 16:30 Gateway &  23 July 20:30 Gateway

For Diane, everyone else comes first. Generous but with little patience for self-pity, she spends her days checking in on sick friends, volunteering at her local soup kitchen, and trying valiantly to save her troubled, drug-addicted adult son from himself. But beneath her relentless routine of self-sacrifice, Diane is fighting a desperate internal battle, haunted by a past she can’t forget. Built around an extraordinary, fearless performance by Mary Kay Place, this narrative debut from Kent Jones is a profound, beautifully human portrait of a woman rifling through the wreckage of her life in search of redemption.

Everything Outside directed by David Findlay: 20 July 12:00 Gateway & 24 July 19:15 Suncoast

Every autumn, Louise, an established Quebec painter in her sixties, moves into her friend Charlotte’s remote lake house to work in the peace and quiet and temporarily enjoy the life of a recluse. This year, however, unbeknown to her, one of Charlotte’s grandchildren has offered the house to his friend Ahmed, an aspiring Lebanese actor from Toronto, to rehearse for his first major role in a film. In a space belonging to neither party, the two strangers, initially startled by each other’s presence, develop an odd yet sincere bond that becomes highly vulnerable when exposed to exterior forces.

nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up directed by Tasha Hubbard: 22 July 20:30 Musgrave  &  25 July 18:15 Suncoast

In 2016 Colten Boushie, a young indigenous Canadian, died from a gunshot wound after entering Gerald Stanley’s rural property with his friends. The jury’s subsequent acquittal of Stanley captured international attention, raising questions about the racism embedded within Canada’s legal system and propelling Colten’s family to national and international stages in their pursuit of justice. Sensitively directed by Tasha Hubbard, nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up weaves a profound narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own adoption, the stark history of colonialism on the prairies, and a vision of a future where Indigenous children can live safely on their homelands.

The Grizzlies directed by Miranda de Pencier: 22 July 16:00 Gateway & 26 July 18:00 Gateway

The Grizzlies is based on a true story about a group of Inuit students in the small Arctic town of Kugluktuk. When Russ Sheppard, yet another ignorant and unprepared white rookie teacher, arrives, the students are naturally sceptical.  With much to learn, Russ introduces his class to the sport of lacrosse in an effort to help lift the dangerous fog of trauma and apathy. Driven by remarkable performances and unassailable authenticity, this is an inspiring and deeply felt film about rising above adversity in Africa and the Caribbean.

The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers & Kathleen Hepburn: 20 July 14:00 Gateway & 28 July 17:15 Suncoast 7

When Áila encounters a young Indigenous woman, barefoot and crying in the rain, she soon discovers that the young woman, Rosie, has just escaped a violent assault at the hands of her boyfriend. Áila, who is also of Indigenous descent but lives a more privileged life, decides to bring Rosie home with her. Over the course of the evening, the two navigate the aftermath of this traumatic event. Inspired by a transformative moment in the life of co-director Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, The Body Remembers is not content to provide simple answers but acknowledges the complexity of abuse.

We Have Forever directed by Paul Barbeau:  21 July 19:00  Musgrave & 27 July 16:30 Musgrave

At the start of adulthood, Antoine has many options: to work in his mom’s restaurant or attend one of the top culinary arts school in the world, to join his friends in Montreal or stay and chill in a small rural village and work as a welder. Choices, detours, and at times setbacks – but there is no need to worry when you’re 20. We Have Forever is a film about time, a film that seems to slow down its narrative tempo in order to illustrate the fact that when you’re 18, eternity seems to lie ahead of you.

Quantification directed by Jeremy Shaw : 9 July 19:00 Gateway & 24 July 18:30 Gateway

Jeremy Shaw’s three recent films, Quickeners (2014), Liminals (2017), and I Can See Forever (2018), explore the potential of catharsis to simultaneously represent and effect states of mind, perception, ecstasy, belief, religious fervour, and extremes of subjective experience. Each individual film evokes a familiar context from a not-so-distant past: Quickeners feels like 1950s small-town America, Liminals like any western city of the 1970s, and I Can See Forever appears to be set in 1990s Berlin or an American metropolis. Seen as a trilogy, the short films present a remarkably visceral and complete cinematic experience.

Creative Corner – free film-making workshops and panel discussions at the DFM

The 10th Durban FilmMart, during the Durban International Film Festival, presents Creative Corner, which is a free public programme taking place at the Tsogo Sun Maharani Hotel, Panini Room from 19 to 22 July.

The programme focuses on creative sectors vital to the film motion picture industry and features panel discussions on costume, set, sound and make-up design as well as script-writing. It also provides informal opportunities for the public and emerging filmmakers to network and collaborate and delve into the fascinating world behind-the-scenes of television and film.

The experts at the Creative Corner include professional and experienced crew of some of South Africa’s biggest television shows including Uzalo and Imbweu – which are both filmed in Durban.

The Durban FilmMart has partnered with the Writers’ Guild of South Africa and South African Guild of Actors in this innovative new programme that also aims to support scriptwriting in development.

During the Creative Corner programme, pre-selected in-development and production-ready feature film projects from South African writers will be given an opportunity to present excerpts of their screenplays to industry delegates in hour-long sessions incorporating an introduction by the writer, a script excerpt of 15 minutes performed by local professional actors, and an Q&A and feedback session with the audience.

The programme:

Friday, 19 July: Two WGSA Script to Live Read sessions will take place with a demonstration in the morning and the kicking off the programme in the afternoon. A costume-design panel which will unpack the fabric of this industry. The panel led by Noky Ngobeni, Head of Costume Design from Uzalo, will pick the minds behind some of South African Television industry’s best dressers.

Saturday, 20 July: The WGSA and SAGA will present two Script to Live sessions. A set design panel led by set designers Matthew Tikoane (Uzalo) and Nerina Du Plessis (Imbewu) “world-builders” of some of South Africa’s biggest shows. The panel will include SAFTA-nominated and award-winning set builders and designers from the film, television and fashion industry.

Sunday, 21 July: Again two Script to Live readings will take place, as well as a Sound Design and Scoring for Film and TV  ession with Oscar Mhlangeni (Rhythmn World & Imbewu) a composer and music producer who has worked prolifically on projects across the entertainment space.

Monday 22 July: A final Script to Live session will take place, as well as a TV and Film editing session with Prof Itumeleng Nkabinde (Imbewu) and film and TV make-up experts Stella Johnson (Uzalo) and  Khethile Chilli (formerly with Uzalo) will present a discussion on make-up and special effects.

To attend these free events, and for general security purposes, the members of the public are required to present ID’s and register at the relevant reception areas at the venues.

Five registered attendees at the Creative Corner stand a stand to win a DIFF festival pass at the end of on the first day of the event. The pass gives access to the commercial screenings of the film (subject to availability and on a first-come-first-served basis).


Isiphethu Hub at DIFF & DFM offers free events, workshops and screenings

The Isiphethu Hub at the 40th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) and the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), a joint programme of the DIFF and the eThekwini Municipality’s Durban Film Office that aims to develop the film industry, offers a range of free events, workshops and screenings of films at numerous venues around the City.

The DIFF, hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, opens on Thursday, 18 July, and runs for 10 days screening over 150 feature films, documentaries and short films, as well as offering free screenings, workshops and seminars in the Isiphethu Hub around the making, and the business of film.

The venues for the free screenings include the Maharani Hotel, Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel, Marine Parade Garden Court Hotel, Albert Luthuli Museum in Groutville, Ushaka Marine World, K-Cap and Artizen Lounge in KwaMashu, Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi, Tate’s Kasi Grill in Clermont, Bay Of Plenty Lower Marine Parade, Ohlange Library in Inanda, and Denis Hurley Centre in Durban CBD.

The free industry programme takes place at the Marine Parade Garden Court from 19-22 July and then at the KZNSA Gallery in Bulwer Road, Glenwood from 23-27 July. Experts in their fields include the agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry, the Independent Development Corporation, the Film and Publications Board, The Independent Black Filmmakers’ Collective, KZN Film Commission and professionals such as Mahoro Semege, Sir Roelof Twijnstra, Edmund Mhlongo, Njabulo Biyela and Dr Janet van Eeden amongst others. The session topics include funding and entrepreneurship, documentary filmmaking, production, guidelines for film ratings, acting tools, screen writing, music and copyright, stop motion and 3D animation and editing.

A special gathering to exchange ideas and network will take place at KCAP in KwaMashu on 21 July from 13h00 where the KZN Film Commission, KCAP and DIFF will introduce international experts from Kenya, Nigeria and the UK to filmmakers from across the province.

An African Perspectives programme features six curated films by African directors: The Coffin Salesman (Nigeria) directed by Imoh Umoren, The Delivery Boy (Nigeria) directed by Adekunle Adejuyigbe, Return of the Don (UK) by Daniel Oriahi, Sembene! (Senegal/USA) directed by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman, Sylvia (Nigeria) by Daniel Oriahi, and Youngun (UK) by Alex Melhuish.

Twenty-five years of Democracy in South Africa is celebrated in William Kentridge and Angus Gibson’s Freedom Square and Back of the Moon (Gibson’s 2019 feature Back of the Moon also premieres at DIFF this year in the competition section). One Humanity directed by Mickey Madodo Dube, Junaid Ahmed’s More Than Just a Game, and Sarafina! directed by Darrell Roodt.

A Decade Throwback at DIFF treats film-lovers to four films previously screened at the fest: Ayanda directed by Sarah Blecher, Akin Omotoso’s Man On Ground, Madoda Ncayiyana’s Izulu Lami (My Secret Sky) and Of Good Report by Jahmil XT Qubeka (Qubeka’s 2019 film Knuckle City will open the DIFF on 18 July).

A variety of shorts packages featuring creative inspirations and innovations in story-telling in under 40 minutes, provide a quick-bite, instant-satisfaction viewing for lovers of film. The packages are all available on the DIFF programme on the website.

The 15th Wavescape Surf Film Festival within the DIFF opens with a free public screening at the Bay of Plenty on the beachfront on 21 July at 19h00. Following this there are free screenings of worldwide surf adventure with epic visuals and amazing stories at Ushaka Marine World from 18h30 on 22 and 23 July. Attendees can bring picnic baskets, chairs and dress up warmly to enjoy this social event at both venues.

A selection of Durban Film Office commissioned micro-budget films will be screened at the Marine Parade Garden Court: Jersey Number 10 directed by Brian Khawula, Struck Blind by Lwazi Duma, Inyumba directed by Phumzile Lukhozi, Drive directed by Thabo Nyawuza and Unqobile by Sibusiso Masinga and Fanele Nxumalo.

Complementing the Isiphethu Hub is the Creative Corner at the Panini Room in the Maharani Hotel, Durban from 09h00 to 17h00 from 19-22 July. This free programme, focusing on the creative sector’s vital role to the motion picture industry, hosts discussions and exhibitions, providing networking, collaboration opportunities and entertainment for the public. Members of Durban’s growing television industry experts and organisations, such as the Writers Guild of South Africa and South African Guild of Actors will present sessions on acting, editing, costume, set, sound and make-up design. The programme sees DFM partner with the WGSA and SAGA for a daily Script-to-Live programme of live script-reading sessions of completed, and in-development scripts.

To attend these free events, and for general security purposes, members of the public are required to present ID’s and register at the relevant reception areas at the venues.

Click here for free screening and workshop programme – Isiphethu Hub.

Click here for the full programme for DIFF 2019.

Click here for the free DFM industry programme.

Stage 5 Films announces award for ‘Most Promising Narrative Feature Film Project’ at DFM 2019

Cape-Town based Stage 5 Films has announced the ‘Stage 5 Films Award’ for the ‘Most Promising Narrative Feature Film Project’ at the Durban FilmMart 2019 (19-22 July).

The R50 000 cash prize, offered by the multi award-winning production company, will be accompanied by an additional R25 000 worth of script coverage, production support, market analysis and packaging for further finance.

Ten narrative feature films from five African countries are included in this year’s FilmMart that consists of a two-day mentoring programme culminating in a series of forum pitches to broadcasters, financiers and distributors.

“As the demand for African storytelling continues to increase, the importance of creating an enabling environment for creative development is critical to ensure a secure talent pipeline for the future,” says producer Dylan Voogt of Stage 5 Films. “Through this award, we are able to further extend our investment in emerging talent and bringing world-class African film, television and documentary content to the continent and the world.”

“As independent, creative producers, it is important that we invest directly into emerging African talent, as they are the next generation of film-makers. Our hope is the ‘Stage 5 Films Award’ will give the deserving team the decisive lift needed to get their project to the next phase of its development,” encourages Voogt.

Reaching a significant milestone of ten years, the Durban FilmMart has firmly established itself as one of the most important film industry events on the continent and has been instrumental in the success of numerous Stage 5 Films projects, including Skoonheid (2011) Unearthed (2014), The Journeymen (2016) and Five Fingers for Marseilles (2017).

The successful project and recipients will be selected in consultation with The Durban FilmMart, meeting criteria that include original concept, creative and technical treatment, as well as market value. The award will be announced in Durban on Monday 22 July 2019.

“We are thrilled that Stage 5 Films has partnered with the DFM, in a true show of peer support for the film-making industry,” says Head of the Durban Film Office and Durban FilmMart. “While government agencies play a role in creating the framework  and policy for the industry, it is ultimately the ownership and creative space of private enterprise. By offering this fantastic cash prize, Stage 5 Films is really demonstrating how film-makers can rally together, work together and galvanize towards a more cohesive future for the industry.”

Talents Durban announces 2019 participants

The 40th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) and Durban FilmMart (DFM) recently announced the participants of the 12th edition of Talents Durban, within the official DIFF/DFM programme.

Talents Durban is a five-day development programme presented in cooperation with Berlinale Talents, an initiative of the Berlin International Film Festival, made up of workshops and seminars for African filmmakers, delivered by film industry professionals and academics.

After a rigorous selection process, 15 filmmakers and 3 film critics from 12 countries across the continent made the final cut, which consists of 3 features, 3 TV/web series, 3 animation, 3 documentaries, 3 shorts films, and 3 film critics:

In addition to these 18 Talents, a 2018 alumnus Talents award-winner, Aliki Saragas-Georgio will pitch her project When Shadows Move along with 20 other projects at the Durban FilmMart Finance Forum. Aliki is co-producer with Jacqui-lee Katz and Bridget Pickering and co-director with Jacqui-lee Katz.

Official 2019 Talents Durban Participants & Projects

Feature Selection:

Spirit (South Africa) Director: Vusiafrica Sindane

Black Widow (Rwanda) Director: Shema Deve

No Country For Little Girls’ Tantrums (Uganda) Director: Patience Nitumwesiga


Shorts Selection:

Heart Attack (South Africa) Screenwriter: Minenhle Luthuli

Strong Girls (Tunisia) Director: Inès Arsi

Organized Crime (Zimbabwe) Director: Derby Bheta


Documentary Selection:

And Who Will Cook? (Cape Verde) Director: Samira Pinto

The Sweet Cursed Dance (Rwanda) Director: Sibomana Alexandre

Twelve Pangas (South Africa) Director: Xola Mteto


Animation Selection:

The Mystery of Waza (Cameroon) Animation Director: Claye Edou

Box Cutters (South Africa) Animation Director: Naomi van Niekerk

The Course (Le Parcours) (Benin) Animation Director: Odilon Assou


TV & Web Series Selection:

Outfoxed (South Africa) Screenwriter: Jabulile Nadia Newman

Mau Mau (Kenya) Screenwriter: Damaris Irungu

Mami Wata (Gabon) Screenwriter: Samantha Biffot


Talent Press Selection:

Nkululeko Zilibokwe (South Africa) Talent Press

Jeoffrey Mukubi (Namibia) Talent Press

Kayode Faniyi (Nigeria) Talent Press


“The 12th edition is presented under the theme of “A Journey to Authenticity” inspired by the present moment in African cinema,” explains Menzi Mhlongo, Talents Durban co-ordinator. “Following a global renaissance of African cinema and television content, the demand for stories from the continent is rising. African storytellers and audiences seeking to connect with African cinema also have to grapple with the question of what is ‘authentic’ African cinema. For the filmmaker this question has a far more inward dimension as well – before the auteur can offer the answer to this question they have to ask the question of themselves – what is authentic to me? With a four day programme of masterclasses, mentorship and networking on offer, we are looking for the best voices in African cinema- storytellers who represent the future of what it means to have an ‘Authentic Voice’ – to join this pertinent conversation.”

Participants will interact with over 600 delegates from the DIFF and Durban FilmMart, the co-production and finance forum, which takes place from 19-22 July during the festival. The Talents will also get to be part of several project-oriented, hands-on skills development programmes. Practical development programmes within Talents Durban include Story Junction, masterclasses, and one-on-one mentorships.

Story Junction is a platform showcasing projects linked to the festival. Talents will present their project at Story Junction to peers and industry delegates. Delegates will be able to request meetings with participants whose projects they wish to engage with further.

Each of the Talents will receive a mentor for an intensive programme of one-on-one consultation, and the entire group will engage in project and strategy development workshops. The mentors selected are experts in their respective fields (e.g. documentary, fiction, drama series, web, mobile content, TV and animation) that suit the needs of the participants and their projects.

In collaboration with the Durban FilmMart, Talents will have access to the inaugural Durban Does Docs conference, the Locations Africa Exhibition, a programme on women-led film hosted by Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT), and a selection of masterclasses, seminars, workshops, labs and networking opportunities for filmmakers.

Talents Durban is one of 7 Talents International Programmes formed by Berlinale Talents in Africa and around the world including Talents Beirut in Lebanon, Talents Buenos Aires in Argentina, Talents Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Talents Tokyo in Japan, Talents Guadalajara in Mexico and Talent Press Rio.

Talents Durban is supported by the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, Goethe-Institut SA, German Embassy in South Africa, National Film and Video Foundation and Gauteng Film Commission.

The 40th Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with support from eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, the National Film and Video Foundation, German Embassy, Goethe-Institut and a range of other valued partners.

Speakers announced for the 10th Durban FilmMart

The Durban FilmMart (DFM) has announced a stellar line-up of speakers for its 10th edition which takes place from 19 to 22 July during the 40th Durban International Film Festival  (18-28 July).

The programme for this major four-day film industry event includes a series of masterclasses, workshops and business networking opportunities aimed at developing content and expertise, as well as encouraging collaborations and networks across the continent and internationally.

Speakers this year include Irish screenwriter and producer Gabrielle Kelly, London-based curator, audience development specialist and author Nadia Denton, South African producer and founding manager of the Cape Town chapter of the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival Sean Drummond and prolific Egyptian director Mohamed Siam.

Gabrielle Kelly, who has had an extensive filmmaking career in the USA, is a screenwriter and producer of diverse content for the global marketplace and also teaches in international labs and film programmes, will lead a masterclass entitled Towards Gender Equity in Film and Television. A recipient of two Fullbright awards for film, Gabrielle, sits on the Board of the British Academy of Film and Television, Women In Film and the Irish Film Festival/LA, and is a judge and programmer at numerous film festivals worldwide.  She will share insights on the gains being made by women film professionals, filmmakers and actors in fighting against discrimination, sexual harassment and imbalanced representation on screen. The Masterclass will also highlight why gender equality leads to better productivity, better films and a better society. She will touch on her own experiences supporting the proliferation of women-led cinema and what those already in the industry can do to support the voices of women to be heard.

As the world begins to recognize the excellence of people of colour in the film industry, the world has begun to turn its eyes to Africa. With this in mind, producer Nadia Denton, leads the masterclass: A New Black Cinema: Pan-African, Global and Bankable. A co-producer of the BBC World Service Radio documentary, Shooting it Like a Woman, looking at the fortunes of women behind the camera in the Nigerian film industry, Nadia has also written a book The Nigerian Filmmaker’s Guide to Success: Beyond Nollywood that presents an overview of the Nigerian film industry, looking beyond Nollywood and encompassing genres such as documentary, animation and Nigerian diaspora films. Nadia will use her extensive knowledge and research on the continents unique and exponential growth will mean for the future.

Producer and screenwriter, Sean Drummond whose debut feature film Five Fingers for Marseilles has received critical acclaim, enjoyed numerous cinematic and festival releases will present a masterclass The Working Writer. This session will look at the competitive market of filmmaking drawing from his experience working on scripts on films across genres that has led him to working on Hollywood tech-scripts and represented by William Morris Endeavor and Management 360.

Mohamed Siam, filmmaker, jury member of Karlovy Vary, Göteborg Film Festivals and IDFA Bertha and Hot Docs Funds, as well as a fellow scholar and filmmaker resident in the American University in Paris will present Documenting the Unique Perspective. Telling the African story has always proved to be challenge, with many failing to accurately frame nuances that make the continent what it is. Having made documentary films that have framed the metamorphis of his country in the 21st Century, Mohamed Siam comes with a wealth of insights. Mohamed, whose feature length debut Amal opened IDFA 2017, has actively worked to tell the story of his home country from the perspective of it’s own people. The masterclass will draw on his experience and his knowledge on what it takes to really tell the stories of continent and how to do so that speaks to a global audiences

After working for almost a decade in international film sales, Themba Bhebhe has been in charge of Diversity & Inclusion at the last two editions of the European Film Market (Berlinale). At the DFM he will lead a series of think-tanks and in-depth discussions concerning diversity and decolonial approaches and models to filmmaking under title Engage @ DFM.

For the European Film Market (EFM), Themba curates and programmes a series of events on the market relevance of diversity and inclusion across the EFM’s industry platforms, with the aim to create awareness and visibility for all programmes, actions and promotions of D&I across all the Berlinale’s different entities and liaising with delegations formed by underrepresented groups. He is also one of the founding members of the Programmers of Colour Collective (POC2) that aims at creating a conversation around and working towards a more diverse and inclusive programming pool at international film festivals through research, awareness events, networking, profile raising, mentoring and shadowing.

Other notable strands in the industry programme include the launch of an intensive documentary programme titled Durban Does Docs. The programme features a dynamic local, continental and international mix of funders, filmmakers and professionals. Some of the topics to be touched on include but not limited to areas of aesthetic concerns, funding, distribution and audience development.

The Locations Africa Exhibition and Conference focuses on film locations in an effort to re-ignite efforts to position Africa as a key filming destination which has all the necessary elements for inbound productions and local film projects.

This edition will also see the launch of the Mart’s public programme, Creative Corner. This programme will engage with local film and television industries, such as editing, sound design, make-up and special effects, costume, and set design. Creative Corner will see DFM partnering with the Writers’ Guild of South Africa with the Script To Live session. These exciting live script reading sessions will see actors performing in development scripts to a panel of judges who will feedback on both performances and scripts.

Isiphethu Emerging Filmmakers’ Hub, will return again this year engage emerging local filmmakers. The programme is free to the public and will touch on a range of topics relevant to emerging filmmakers.

“This year’s speakers represent a range of relevant and important voices for African filmmakers, bringing with them a wealth of experience, knowledge and thought-leadership to our 10th edition,” says Toni Monty, Head of the Durban Film Office and the Durban FilmMart. “We are very excited to welcome them to the DFM, and believe that delegates will gain useful and practical insights to enable them to benchmark their work in a global and continental context.”

International partners and guests in attendance include Sundance Film Festival, Hot Docs Blue Ice, Caribbean Tales, Dok Leipzig, Dokfes, Cinemart, BBC Storyville, Doc Society, Aljazeera, Arte TV, Trace TV, Sorfund, European Film Market, Ape & Bjorn, Sudu Films, Rushlake Media, Melia Films, Produire au Sud, Telefilm Canada, Afridocs, Maisha Film Lab and Planet Africa TV.

Registration is still open to those who wish to register for the 10th annual DFM, early bird registration is open until 28 June 2019. Early bird fees are R1300 (ZAR) for the four-day programme, which includes four day’s access to the DFM Industry Programme, access to DFM producers lounge and DFM networking events, 10 tickets to Durban International Film Festival screenings and company information published in the industry manual. After 28 June fees are R1600 for the full programme while daily passes are R450 each (the daily pass does not include tickets to DIFF screenings or access into the opening and closing events).  All tickets exclude meals.

Durban FilmMart announces project selection for 2019 edition

The Durban FilmMart, which celebrates its 10th edition this year from 19 to 22 July, during the 40th Durban International Film Festival, has announced the 2019 fiction feature films and documentaries projects from Africa, that have been selected to pitch at the Finance Forum at this major film industry event.

A total of 20 projects (10 documentaries and 10 feature films) were selected out of 140 submissions from around the continent.

Countries represented in the official selection include South Africa, Nigeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Congo and Burkina Faso. Directors and producers of these film projects, which are in development, will be mentored for two days during Durban FilmMart, and then given opportunities to pitch to panels of investors, broadcasters, financiers, agents and distributors, as well as take one-on-one meetings with them.

This project in development programme is part of the overall aim of the DFM to increase awareness of African cinema, encourage collaborations amongst African filmmakers and stimulate the growth of the industry. Toni Monty, head of the Durban Film Office, the industry unit of the eThekwini Municipality, and head of the DFM says, “We believe that this forum within the DFM, is one of the most exciting film industry programmes to have been established on the continent to help support films get off the ground. It is from here that the idea on the page is able to begin its complex journey to completion and exhibition.”

“The selectors were very encouraged by the content, themes and subject matter, that came through in this year’s selection portraying some complex and unique African stories that provide intimate insights into the continents consciousness.”

Durban FilmMart 2019 Official Project Selection

Fiction Selection

  • Day of the Vow (South Africa) – Producers: David Franciscus, Nicki Priem,  Director: David Franciscus
  • Mami Wata (Nigeria) – Producer: Oge Obasi, Director: C.J.  Obasi
  • Mkhulu Wase Next Door (South Africa) – Producers: Bongiwe Selane, Brendan Campbell, Director: Xolelwa Nhlabatsi,
  • Pieces of Salma (South Africa) – Producers: Khosie Dali, David Horler, Director: Imran Hamdulay
  • Sunflowers in the Dark (Zimbabwe) – Producer: Ben Mahaka, Tapiwa Chipfupa, Director:  Tapiwa Chipfupa,
  • The Bursary (South Africa) – Producer: Brett Michael Innes, Director: Nomawonga  Khumalo
  • The Legend of the Vagabond Queen of Lagos (Nigeria/South Africa) –  Producers: James Tayler, Megan Chapman, Andrew Maki, Mat Cerf, Joel Bolnick, Director: Know Your City Radical Co-creative Film Collective
  • Those Who Dwell in Darkness (South Africa)  – Producers: Dolly Mhlongo,  Sithabile Mkhize, Director: Michael James
  • Tunis-Djerba (Tunisia) – Producer: Asma Chiboub, Director: Amel Guellaty
  • Yam and I (Egypt) – Producers: Hala Lotfy, Ruba Atiyeh, Nadine Salib, Director: Nadine Salib

Documentary Selection:

  • Africa Mother (Burkina Faso) – Producer: Koussoubé Abdoul Karim,  Director: Yssouf Koussé
  • A Suitcase of Memories (South Africa) – Producer: Zinzi Nkenene Directors: Zinzi Nkenene, Engelbert Phiri,
  • Black Women and Sex (South Africa) – Producer: Godisamang Khunou, Director: Godisamang Khunou
  • Kongo is Burning (Uganda / Congo) – Producer: Ali Musoke, Director: Arnold Aganze
  • Living like a Shadow (Rwanda) – Producer: Romeo Umulisa, Director: Claudine Ndimbira
  • Murder in Paris – Dulcie September (South Africa) – Producer: Liezel Vermeulen, Director: Enver Samuel
  • Girlheart (Tunisia) – Producers: Salem Trabelsi, Latifa Doghri  Directors: Latifa Doghri , Salem Trabelsi
  • The Home (South Africa) – Producers Justin Cohen, Jessie Zinn,and Chase Musslewhite, Directors: Jessie Zinn,  Chase Musslewhite
  • The Last Survivor (Egypt) – Producer: Mark Lotfy, Director: Muhammad Taymour
  • The Missing Middle (South Africa) –  Producer: Nomakhomazi Dewavrin, Director: Okuhle Dyosopu

This Finance Forum forms one of many offerings at the DFM, which this year includes a one-day conference on documentary filmmaking – Durban Does Docs, the inaugural Locations Africa Exhibition and Conference – a private sector initiative that focuses on film locations in an effort to re-ignite efforts to position Africa as a key filming destination, a programme on women-led film hosted by Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT), and a selection of masterclasses, seminars, workshops, labs and networking opportunities for filmmakers. For emerging filmmakers there is a Creative Corner focussing on the creative elements of film-making, and the Isiphethu Hub with workshops and seminars on filmmaking.

Early bird registration is open until 28 June 2019. Early bird fees are R1300 (ZAR) for the four-day programme, which includes four day’s access to the DFM Industry Programme, access to DFM producers lounge and DFM networking events, 10 tickets to Durban International Film Festival screenings and company information published in the industry manual. After 28 June fees are R1600 for the full programme while daily passes are R450 each (the daily pass does not include tickets to DIFF screenings or access into the opening and closing events). All tickets exclude meals.

Click here to register.

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