The Durban FilmMart, the industry development program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival and Durban Film Office, has wrapped its latest edition with an awards ceremony showcasing a range of works-in-progress from across the African continent. By Christopher Vourlias
Including a documentary that follows the life of one of Kenya’s leading political activists, a portrait of three women fighting for the rights of sex workers in South Africa, and an absurdist comedy set in an old-age home on the outskirts of Johannesburg.
Since its 2010 inception, the Durban FilmMart has become an important forum for helping to facilitate or launch film projects in Africa. So far, it has helped facilitate close to 100 African co-productions.
“The journey of growing the Durban FilmMart over the past eight years has been remarkable,” said Toni Monty, head of the Durban Film Office. “What started as an idea to create a business networking hub all those years ago has…become an important platform for African filmmakers to connect to the global marketplace.”
Recent success stories include “The Wound,” a South African-German-Dutch-French co-production, which opened the Berlinale’s Panorama section this year; “The Dream of Shahrazad,” a South African-French-Egyptian co-production that premiered in the Masters Section of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2014; and “The Boda Boda Thieves,” a South African-Kenyan-Ugandan-German co-production, which had its world premiere in the Berlinale’s Forum in 2015.
This year the Durban FilmMart (DFM) hosted 600 delegates from more than 30 countries. Twenty-two official projects in development were presented at the finance forum through the DFM’s partnership with CineMart and the Intl. Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam. Four projects were hosted at the DFM by the Realness scriptwriting residency, while France’s Produire au Sud supported the Jumpstart Project, a mentoring program to introduce six emerging filmmakers to the art of the pitch. Two documentary projects were supported by Hot Docs, and six CineFAM projects were rigorously mentored by Toronto’s CaribbeanTales.
Along with its finance and co-production forum, the DFM and its partners handed out a number of awards Monday night.
The Intl. Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) chose “Lobola: A Bride’s True Price,” produced by Sarah Basyouny and directed by Sihle Hlophe, as the most promising documentary project. The duo will have the opportunity to attend November’s IDFA Forum, one of Europe’s top gatherings for documentary filmmakers, producers, commissioning editors, funds and private financiers.
AfriDocs, the broadcast stream that screens African and other international documentaries across sub-Saharan Africa, awarded a €3,000 ($3,460) grant to the Kenyan doc “Uasi,” produced by Matrid Nyagah and Linda Ogeda, and directed by Sam Soko. The project’s creators will also have an opportunity to pitch the film at the Sørfond Pitching Forum in Oslo later this year.
The CineMart Award, sponsored by the co-production market of the Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam, went to the South African feature “Miles from Nowhere,” produced by Bongiwe Selane and directed by Samantha Nell. The pair are invited to attend the Rotterdam Lab, a five-day training and networking event for producers from around the world.
“Miles from Nowhere” was also recognized by Produire au Sud, of the Festival des 3 Continents in Nantes, which has invited Selane and Nell to take part in its developmental workshop program.
Videovision Entertainment named “The Dabulaphu (The Short Cut)” the Best South African Film Project. Producers Zikethiwe Ngcobo and David Max Brown and director Norman Maake received a prize of R75,000 ($5,805), which guarantees the film’s release once it’s completed. The prize also includes marketing and distribution support from Videovision.
Publicity consultants Versfeld & Associates announced that they will develop publicity material and advise on publicity profiling through the development of two South African projects, “Womxn: Working,” produced by Tiny Mungwe and directed by Shanelle Jewnarain, and “Richard Was Here,” produced by Akona Matyila and directed by Jack Chiang.
The CineFAM-Africa Incubator Accelerator Programme award to pitch at the CaribbeanTales Film Festival in Toronto went to Mary Ann Mandishona for “Mamba Kazi – African Warrior Queens.”