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KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission Press

KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission Press
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The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission was established in accordance with a provincial Act passed in 2010. The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission is set to begin fulfilling its mandate to make the province a film production centre. In 2014/2015, the KZNFC developed systems and policies to support and attract national and international roleplayers in the film industry.

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The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission at DIFF 2017

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission’s (KZNFC) mandate is to facilitate support throughout the value chain to the local and international film industry, through creating opportunities and also growing the KZN film industry.  The KZNFC has to date introduced various programmes that are meant to ensure successful implementation of its mandate. These include:

Markets and Festivals

The KZNFC has a mandate to market and promote KZN as a choice film destination throughout the value chain, as well as grow and transform the local film industry. In achieving this, the KZNFC has once again partnered with the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), in an effort to create an enabling environment that provides opportunities to engage with local and international members of the film fraternity with the hope to start discussions that may result in co-production and or skills transfer arrangements. DIFF is currently in its 38th year running, and the KZNFC is especially excited about the shift in the direction of the festival, with more focus on localisation of the festival as alluded to by the director of the Centre for Creative Arts, Mr David Wa Maahlamela during his presentation at the KZNFC Film Indaba. DIFF has long been a strategic platform where local filmmakers are able to gain access to international filmmakers and a wealth of knowledge which may include latest trends in filmmaking to ensure we as a growing film industry remain relevant and are able to better our chances to compete with the rest of the world.

This year at DIFF, the KZNFC’s programme will focus on Africa, whereby local filmmakers will get an opportunity to engage with Kenya to better understand their film landscape and vice versa, this will also include one-on-one sessions between filmmakers from both countries.

Simon “Mabhunu” Sabela Film and Television Awards

Named after one of South Africa’s first black film directors, the awards have seen tremendous growth over the years, with just five awards in 2014 to just over 20 categories in 2017. The awards take place during DIFF annually in order to ensure that we showcase excellence in film to potential investors.

Other KZNFC programmes:

  • The Film Fund
    Managed by the Production and Development department, the KZNFC is especially excited about the success of this programme over the last year and is especially proud of the recent box office success enjoyed by some of the KZNFC funded projects such as Keeping Up with the Kandasamys. The film generated over R16 million in box office earnings which is an achievement for a local production. The KZNFC is also proud to have been part of brilliant productions such as Kalushi and Beyond the River. To date the KZNFC, through the film fund, has approved 128 projects, with R510 000 spent on Markets and Festivals, and R4.2 million on Marketing and Distribution. Currently there are 11 projects in production as well as 45 that have completed development.
  • KwaZulu-Natal Film Industry Strategy
    The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission has once again been trusted with the KZN film strategy that will seek to accelerate transformation through creation of sustainable employment in film. The strategy looks at how filmmakers can improve their offering and expand their focus in order to build sustainable businesses in film. The strategy looks at avenues such as Virtual Reality, gaming and animation amongst others, in view of some being the latest trends in filmmaking and some being income generating avenues.
  • Film Industry Transformation Initiative (FITI)
    This initiative is still in its implementation phase and will seek to address the skills in demand in film. Focusing on film graduates, the initiative will focus on experiential training to ensure that the province is able to cater to the needs of major film productions shooting in the province.
  • Locations and Facilities
    In March 2017 the KZNFC officially launched its film cluster, boasting rentable offices, editing suites, hot desks, a private cinema and training rooms. The facility is fitted with state of the art equipment in order to ensure access to facilities for emerging filmmakers and small to medium companies.

KZNFC supports the Durban International Film Festival

The KwaZulu Natal Film Commission (KZNFC) has once again partnered with the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF). DIFF is currently in its 38th year. The KZNFC is especially excited about the strategic shift in direction that the festival has taken. The festival promises an extended programme that will run for the entire 10 days of the festival. The activities will run across the city to make the festival more inclusive for diverse communities, and enable a broader range of engagement for filmmakers attending the festival from the rest of the country and the world. DIFF has long been a strategic platform where local filmmakers may gain access to international film makers and a wealth of knowledge including the latest trends in filmmaking are shared. The programme that will be presented at DIFF this year will be vibrant and diverse, says Carol Coetzee, CEO, KZNFC.

This year at DIFF and in partnership with the festival, the KZNFC programme will have a special focus on Kenya. The focus will include amongst others a retrospective on Kenyan cinema and an industry programme on co-production with the African continent. A delegation of prominent Kenyan filmmakers will attend the festival to present their films and engage with the local industry. The topics of discussion will include Funding instruments in South Africa and Kenya, and Co-producing with Kenya. A plan of action charting the way forward will be presented as part of the programme. The Kenyan delegation attending the festival will be Carol Kioko, leader of the delegation; Jinna Mutune, director; Ngengdo Mukii, film animator and independent producer; Mbithi Masya, director and screenwriter; Mugambi Nthiga, director and screenwriter; Brian Munene, screenwriter and producer; Sunny Dolat; Njeri Gitungo, producer; Mayonde Masya, singer and actress.

The Kenyan films selected by the festival that will be presented in the film retrospective are Soul Boy (Sarika Lakhani), KATI KATI (Mbithi Masya), To Catch A Dream, Homecoming and Stories of Our Lives (Jim Chuchu), Yellow Fever (Ngendo Mukii). The films represent the work produced by some of the filmmakers who are part of the delegation.

The Kenyan focus will also include a panel discussion on African Distribution that will include producers and distributors from Nigeria. In attendance will be Mahmood Ali Balogun, producer and Moses Babatope, co-founder of Film House Cinemas, a Nigerian cinema chain and Film One an independent distributor of film in Nigeria. “The focus on Kenyan cinema and African distribution is in line with KZNFC’s broader strategy of African collaboration in cinema and seeks to consolidate the gains made in this area to date,’ says Carol Coetzee, CEO, KZNFC.

The festival’s community outreach programme is a collaboration between the DIFF, KZNFC and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), which will give local audiences access to films that have been programmed as part of the festivals official selection. The outreach programme will cover the following areas:

K-cap (Theatre), KwaMashu
Luthuli Museum, Stanger
Qashana Khuzwayo Library, Clermont
Westville Co. Services, Westville
Ohlange Library, Inanda
Creative Arts College, CBD
Wushwini Arts Centre, KwaNgcolosi
Umlazi Library, Umlazi
Lamontville Hall, Lamontville
uShaka Marine World, uShaka Marine World -Village Walk – Arena 5
Max’s Lifetyle, Umlazi
History Museum, CBD
Bay of Plenty Lawns, North Beach (CBD)
Schools Programme, Playhouse

The KZNFC will unveil its research findings on Audience Development conducted across the province as part of its programme during the Durban International Film Festival. “The issue of access to cinema and local content in close proximity to where the majority of people in the province live is a legacy that we seek to challenge going forward,” says Carol Coetzee, CEO, KZNFC.

The Community Outreach Initiative will be launched as a DIFF activation by the KZNFC as a screening on Friday, 30 June 2017 at the Musgrave Centre, Level 5. The screening is open to all at no charge. Food and beverages will be sold on site. Musgrave Centre is the home of the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission and has long been identified as one of the screens during the Durban International Film Festival.

KZN Film Commission to host an Industry Indaba

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZNFC) will on 27 and 28 March, host industry stakeholders in a two-day film Industry Indaba at the Silver Room, Greyville Racecourse in Durban.

In a first of its kind for KwaZulu-Natal, the Indaba seeks to bring together filmmakers, government agencies, the media and other voices under one roof as a way to create opportunities for the industry to engage, interact on a strategic level, and to find solutions to the challenges facing the industry.

“We look forward to hosting the film fraternity, particularly at this critical time when, together with our stakeholders, we will be sharing our strategies and discussing pertinent issues affecting the film industry. There are a number of new strategies being proposed and policies that are being reviewed at a national and provincial level and therefore we felt that the Indaba is well timed for active engagement. We are grateful for the support provided by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), in particular MEC Sihle Zikalala as we continue to transform the industry and position the province as the best global film destination,’ says Carol Coetzee CEO KZN Film Commission.

The first day of the Indaba will be dedicated to strategic presentations from EDTEA , KZN Film Commission, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the Department of Trade and Industry (the Dti), South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) and South African Screen Federation (SASFED).

The launch of the new film cluster will take place on the evening of the first day where KZNFC has invited the participants to view the new facility which is now available to our filmmakers and partners.

Day two of the proceedings will begin with an address by the MEC of EDTEA who has recently approved a new provincial film sector strategy, with the remainder of the day consisting of break-away discussions, where issues such as transformation, infrastructure, audience development, industry coordination, funding, and training institutions and quality assurance bodies will be tackled by a range of speakers from various organisations representing the film industry. The day will end with a feedback session which will assist in mapping the way forward.

Since its establishment in 2010, the KZNFC has witnessed a plethora of achievements toward fulfilling its mandate of growing and transforming the provincial film industry by bringing about opportunities for the industry to interact and engage with the local and international markets. Over the years, the KZNFC has launched various skills development projects including but not limited to Internship Programmes, Women and Youth Incubation Programmes as well as Bursary Programmes.

“Part of hosting this Indaba is to highlight the achievements mentioned above, while also creating a platform to share knowledge and industry insights, and offer an opportunity for the voice of the industry leaders and experts to be heard,’ adds Ms Coetzee. This Indaba will then assist the KZNFC to enhance its support throughout the value chain to local film industry stakeholders, ultimately transforming and enriching the province’s film industry as a whole.

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission looks forward to an industrious 2017

Operating in the province of KwaZulu-Natal since 2014, the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZNFC) is a provincial state entity, under the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) which endeavours to facilitate support for the local and international film industry by generating opportunities within the industry and thereby growing the KwaZulu-Natal film industry.

In the years since its inception, the KZNFC has demonstrated its commitment to the growth and transformation of the province’s film industry by putting together strategic programmes and projects that work to address the current industry issues of funding, skills development and infrastructure development. These projects have grown to include the following initiatives; Film Induced Tourism, the Bursary Programme, the Film Fund, the Facilities and Locations Programme and Human Capital Development Programme.

The Film Induced Tourism project aims to cultivate an integrated institutional approach towards facilitating and promoting film production and tourism, in order to stimulate film-induced tourism within KwaZulu-Natal. The project strives to ensure development and marketing of film-tourism products, tourism destinations, and film locations in order to attract both film producers and film tourists into the province by maximising key strategic focal areas outlined as Institutional Support and Facilitation and Product Development and Marketing.

In 2014, the KZNFC introduced a Bursary Programme aimed at addressing the skills shortage in the province’s film industry. In the short time since its launch the programme has seen an excess of 30 beneficiaries receive financial support towards their tertiary education, with eleven of those seeing their studies through to graduation.

Developed in accordance with the KZNFC’s mandate to stimulate the growth of the KwaZulu-Natal film industry, the Film Fund targets KwaZulu-Natal based companies as well as companies from outside the province that are producing films in KwaZulu-Natal. For the fiscal years 2015/16 ending 31 March 2016, the KZNFC funded a commendable 79 projects; 48 in development, 16 in production, and 15 in fund mentorship. These included the TV series’ Earthbeat, Durban Beach Rescue, Code Green, Uzalo, feature films Keeping Up with the Kandasamys, The Number, Beyond the River, The Killing Floor, the short film Gracie, the documentary How Long Park, the SA/Nigeria co-production Comatose, and the low budget feature films Umhlola, Family Matters and The Royal Assegai.

The Human Capital Development initiative aims to develop and implement programmes for skills development and industry support. The initiative takes various forms including programmes that attempt to redress the current skills shortage by creating new skills within the film and television value chain thereby ensuring competitiveness within the region. The aforementioned programmes operate to enhance the capabilities of local filmmakers and increase the presence of KwaZulu-Natal-produced local content on local and international distribution platforms, which in turn will increase sustainable employment in the region’s film and television sector.

Some of the training programmes that have been hosted thus far with various industry partners include Field Production, International Producers and Finance, Sediba Spark Scriptwriting, Accelerator Incubation Programme, Youth for Film Incubator, and Youth and Female Incubator.

To ensure the effectiveness of projects shooting in the province, the Facilities and Location team remains committed to providing support and access to various locations, crew, talent and accommodation. The team further assists in securing licensing for various production components and operations.

Looking forward…

In January 2017 the KZNFC launches its Film Cluster, which comprises a 42 seater theatre, a 100 seater training room, a resource centre, post editing suites and hot desks. Located in the heart of Durban, the 2 000m2 facility will operate as a production hub for visiting filmmakers working within the province.

A first for the province, the cluster combines incubation and skills development for aspiring filmmakers by giving them access to professional working spaces and new technologies, whilst also providing temporary offices to-let for established filmmakers and businesses working within the region.

During 2017, the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission will be predominantly focussing on developing local filmmakers through the KZN Film Industry Transformation Initiative – currently being developed. The initiative will work to grow investment in local film graduates over a two to three year period, in both scriptwriting and technical production, resulting in an increase of highly skilled African filmmakers. To ensure that the required level of skills is achieved, industry experts/mentors, and funding will be provided for the development and production of KZN-produced stories.

“We are confident that this investment will see a shift in the production capability of the province and our ability to attract and ‘service’ production from both national and international companies. KwaZulu-Natal has always taken the lead in terms of producing incredible talents, it is now time to see those talents in key positions in the film industry,” comments a KZNFC’s CEO, Carol Coetzee.

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission at Cannes 2016

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZNFC) is at the Cannes International Film Festival, running from 11 to 22 May 2016. The KZNFC announced that it is delighted to have taken a delegation of four filmmakers from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) to Cannes this year.

In 2015, the KZNFC’s team took with them a delegation of five filmmakers who had the opportunity to attend the festival and today one of those filmmakers is in advanced talks of co-production with an Irish Production Company.

The KZNFC has a mandate to grow and transform the KwaZulu-Natal film industry and platforms such as the Cannes International Film Festival are forums identified as enabling environments for filmmakers from the province. The exclusive Producers Network, a programme within the Cannes Marche du Film, is a platform where there will be spotlight on KwaZulu-Natal. The commission has identified four producers who will be profiled as part of the spotlight during the network. According to the KZNFC, South Africa is the first country in Africa to be given an opportunity to be part of the spotlight.

The KZNFC also announced the partnership with the Directors Fortnight Programme, an official programme of the Cannes Film Festival. This year the Fortnight will have an African Cannes Film Factory which will debut four short films produced by four South African filmmakers, three of whom are KwaZulu-Natal born. These films have been produced in collaboration with four international directors. The four short films were all shot on location in KwaZulu-Natal specifically Durban. Positioning the province as a globally competitive film destination continues to be at the centre of what KZNFC does.

For more information visit the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission website.

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