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The Durban FilmMart sees local film entrepreneurs enrich their community

17 February 2017 –

A trio of savvy African film producers returning from the International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR) are convinced that the film industry’s market potential could be unlocked through creatively exchanging ideas with the rest of Africa.

The producers are particularly excited about sharing their newly- acquired skills with filmmakers in their respective communities in the hopes of advancing the quality of African Cinema. They are of the same belief that a united stand toward innovative and home grown strategies aimed at marketing and distributing local films throughout the continent would put African Cinema on par with global standards.

Durban Film Office’s Toni Monty said; “It is a positive development to see Durban FilmMart project-filmmakers’ unite in promoting a culture of knowledge-sharing with the ultimate goal of creating world-class cinema in Africa.”

Their visit to IFFR took place earlier this month where the producers from South Africa and Rwanda, participated in the CineMart, the oldest and largest co-production and finance film market in the world. As recipients of the CineMart Rotterdam Lab Award presented at 2011 Durban FilmMart, Rwandan Joel Karekezi, director and producer of Imbabazi (The Pardon) as well as South African producers James Tayler of The Boda Boda Thieves and Noxy Mavundla of This Boy were awarded accreditation, accommodation and transportation to CineMart, an incubator for producers of new projects which runs concurrently during IFFR.

The trio share a love for African Cinema and a similar goal of creating business and employment opportunities through partnerships and mentorships with neighbouring film-makers.

The Durban FilmMart is originally modelled after Rotterdam’s CineMart which invites a number of directors and producers to present their film projects and network with potential co-producers, sales agents, distributors and funding bodies. An official partnership with CineMart is established with the Durban FilmMart to facilitate sharing expertise and provide opportunities for participants to attend the Rotterdam CineMart. Participating in CineMart’s Rotterdam Lab which ran from January 29 to February 1, 2012 was both “stimulating” and “insightful” and partnerships and friendships fostered would be utilised for the benefit of promoting quality film projects, said the producers.

Mavundla, who co-produced This Boy with David Max Brown, said that the experience had afforded her “top-notch” exposure and invaluable training which she would put to good use in future projects. “The Durban FilmMart was an eye-opening experience and attending Rotterdam Lab has stretched me in terms of my knowledge and my skills. I definitely know more now than I did before attending and I can’t wait to apply my knowledge to the industry in order to make and tell better stories” said Mavundla.

Inspired by her humble beginnings and love of classic African stories such as Sarafina and Shaka Zulu, Mavundla who was previously unemployed is now the CEO of Bancamile Film Productions in Richards Bay and is a successful young black female film-maker in her own right. She is part of several business and entrepreneurial programmes and is also a mentee under Brown, who is also her business partner. Her goal is to share her knowledge and experiences by mentoring young film-makers, particularly those who are interested in producing. “I want my stories to have meaning and to impact, motivate and challenge people to believe in themselves and live their dreams just as I am living mine,” said Mavundla.

With a passion for “telling African stories”, Tayler will use his experience abroad to further drive film- developmental projects aimed at African film-makers. With a host of “pan-African collaborations” under his belt, Tayler’s interests lay in developing a slate of African films with a goal of one day creating a travelling pan-African film festival and mentorship and residency program for film-makers.

The Boda Boda Thieves, co-produced by Donald Mugisha of Uganda, is currently in pre-production and is best described by Tayler as a “melting-pot of creative influences” between South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Egypt. Tayler is also co-founder of the production collective Yes! That’s Us, a working partnership between himself and Mugisha, as SA production company Switch Media in Cape Town where he is based. Said Tayler; “It is my objective to try and understand other countries film industries with the view to understanding what makes a film production company sustainable. I think we can learn a lot from each other and take little bits to apply to each of our unique situation.”

For Rwandan producer Karekezi, founder of Karekezi Film Productions, developing quality film-making skills is fundamental to the success of his kinsmen. The film industry in Rwanda is still considered infantile and many filmmakers make the mistake of creating commercial films that lack artistic flair, said Karekezi, whose film Imbabazi (The Pardon) is already is post-production.

“We need to teach them so they can make good quality and professional films. We also need to work together to develop our film industry in convincing others to take us seriously,” he said. Karekezi plays his part by teaching Screenwriting at the Kwetu Film Institute as well working as a film mentor at the Maisha Film Lab, an annual non-profit training initiative for emerging East African film-makers. “African filmmakers are ambassadors of Africa – I am ready to help them tell their stories through co-production in my quest to continue to create professional African films,” said Karekezi.

Peter Rorvik, director of the Centre for Creative Arts and the Durban International Film Festival reiterated that a “great sense of camaraderie” amongst African film-makers would bode well for the industry. Said Rorvik; “We are taking initiative to stimulate film production in Africa, and whilst more development and local films need to be created, there certainly is good energy in the air and our goal is in sight.”

The 3rd edition of Durban FilmMart takes place from 20-23 July 2012 during the Durban International Film Festival and is open for documentary and fiction project submissions. The deadline for project submissions has been extended until 29 February 2012.

For more information on the Durban FilmMart and how to submit your project please visit www.durbanfilmmart.com. For further enquires contact
email: durbanfilmmart@durban.gov.za or durbanfilmmart@gmail.com
PREPARED FOR: The Durban Film Office

FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Megan van den Heever, FBI Communications
cell: +2784 282 7674. E-mail: megan@fbicommunications.com / info@fbicommunications.com

NOTES :
The Durban FilmMart (DFM) is a co-production and finance market and is a joint programme of the Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF). DFM provides filmmakers from across Africa a valued opportunity to pitch projects to financiers, distributors, sales agents and potential co-producers, and participate in meetings, project presentations and a series of master classes and workshops on latest industry trends. www.durbanfilmmart.com

The Durban Film Office (DFO) is the film industry development arm of the eThekwini Municipality, mandated to position Durban as a world-class film production destination and facilitator for the development of the local film industry. The DFO drives activity and development in the sector in order to boost tourism, job creation and the development of core skills and SMME’s in the region. www.durbanfilmoffice.com

The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) presents over 250 screenings from different countries and cultures with special focus on Africa; it includes development programmes such as Talent Campus Durban. DIFF is a flagship project of the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) which facilitates creative platforms and economic opportunities for artists and related industries, intercultural exchange and network development, training, audience development and strategic Pan-African and international cooperation in the cultural sectors. www.cca.ukzn.ac.za

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