The 14th edition of the Durban FilmMart (DFM) came to a close a few weeks ago.
This premier film industry event in Africa took place from July 21 – 24 July 2023, as a successful 4-day physical gathering in Durban, following the theme of African Constellations. Film professionals and filmmakers from Africa and around the world attended the event. The DFM also unveiled several significant partnerships that are expected to enhance the Durban FilmMart Institute’s (DFMI) offerings and scope.
Thuthuka Co-Development Fund
The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) announced that the joint funding venture between the Netherlands and South Africa, known as the Thuthuka Co-Development Fund, will be extended until 2025.
The fund was established in 2021 after a Co-Production Treaty was signed in 2015, aiming to support film and documentary projects with content related to both countries. The NFVF and the Netherlands Film Fund (NFF) will jointly support four projects each year, providing selective script support for feature-length films and documentaries. The annual budget of the fund is up to 160,000 EUR, with both organisations contributing 80,000 EUR each. The NFVF will also match the equivalent of 80,000 EUR in South African Rands, subject to currency fluctuations.
The objective of the fund is to promote cooperation and produce high-quality films that appeal to audiences in both countries and the international cinema market.
The Thuthuka Co-Development Fund will open applications this September on the www.filmfonds.nl and www.nfvf.co.za websites, respectively.
NFVF Cooperation Agreement with Spcine Brazil
The National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa (NFVF) and Spcine from Brazil signed a cooperation agreement to support diasporic narratives between the two countries. The collaboration aims to foster partnerships between South African and Brazilian filmmakers, focusing on feature films in development and work in progress projects. Each project will receive an investment of 20,000 US dollars (approximately 95,000 reais), and a total of four projects will be supported – two by producers in South Africa and two by producers in São Paulo. Stay tuned for project registration opening announcements on their social networks.
“These hallmark co-development announcements serve as true testaments of powerful cross-border collaboration that enables authentic story-telling while bridging skills development gaps and enabling quality productions from all countries that are globally relevant” says Ms. Thobela Mayinje, the NFVF Acting CEO.
NFVF announced its partnership with Sheer Publishing Africa
The NFVF further announced its partnership with Sheer Publishing Africa (Sheer), as a skills development initiative which is aimed at unpacking the key elements of music scoring across the development, production and distribution phases of filmmaking.
This kicked off with an informative masterclass entitled “Start with the End in Mind” which pinpointed the music scoring process and the ins and outs of music copyright. Both the NFVF and Sheer will also partner on various outreach and information workshops for stakeholders and the public at large to equip, educate and influence future filmmakers and industry catalysts who are yet to enter the industry, particularly those who are from previously disadvantaged and marginalised groups.
Sound & Motion Studios and The Refinery signs a strategic partnership deal.
Sound & Motion Studios and The Refinery announced a strategic partnership. With the acquisition of The Refinery by The First Order Group, Sound & Motion had partnered with The Refinery as the group sound department.
“We have been creative partners and co-producers with The First Order for years,” said Sound & Motion MD, Simon Ratcliffe. “As we bring the Refinery audio facilities and staff into our fold, we have embarked on an intense programme of upgrading and upskilling. It’s very important to us that the work between the branches is seamless, integrated, and offers the boutique audio solution our clients have come to rely on these past 21 years, combined with the convenience of slotting in with a full post workflow when required. The additional resources are also a major plus in servicing our international and local clients,” he added.
This collaboration brings together a team of exceptional individuals, each with a strong commitment to their craft and a passion for excellence,” said Sbonelo Mvuyana, Chairman of The First Order Group. “We look forward to delivering outstanding audio experiences to our clients, guided by our shared dedication and expertise in the world of cutting-edge post-production.”
This strategic partnership between Sound & Motion Studios and The Refinery showcases a dedication to excellence and cutting-edge post-production in filmmaking.
DFO’s Exciting Partnerships with CIPC and FPB
Durban Film Office (DFO) announced partnerships with the Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and the Film and Publication Board (FPB). These Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) are aimed at empowering emerging local filmmakers through transformative partnerships, development programmes, initiatives and platforms to ignite creativity and innovation. The signing ceremony brought together luminaries from the film industry, government dignitaries, industry influencers and esteemed members of the media.
The strategic partnerships with the Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) and the Film and Publication Board (FPB) will empower emerging local filmmakers, fostering creativity and innovation in the industry.
DFMI and DW Akademie: Fueling African Film Industry’s Future with Innovative Collaborations
DFMI has collaborated with DW Akademie (DWA) for the past two years, and their partnership is now entering its third year with even greater influence and impact. The DFMI’s strategic mission is to stimulate the production of African content by providing access to business development opportunities and creative upskilling. This has led to the introduction of new programmes and the strengthening of their collaboration.
“One of the main missions of DW Akademie’s Film Department is to promote and provide access to new authentic voices and generations in the film industry, says Programme Director Lina Hartwieg, and continues, “This shared goal makes DFMI our natural partner in South Africa, with strong roots on the continent and beyond, and years of experience in supporting a pan-African community of filmmakers. The three programmes are a testament to our shared vision, which we hope to continue and expand in the future.”
One of the programmes announced is the DFMI Business Lab, a 12-week online business skills development programme designed to empower producers with the necessary competencies to thrive in the global market. The programme, which has nurtured over 60 talented filmmakers across the continent since 2021, will commence in September 2023.
African film producers with less than 5 years of experience, as well as directors, line producers and scriptwriters passionate about expanding their business acumen, are encouraged to apply click here.
Another initiative launched is Filmmart.Africa, an exciting online network that connects film professionals, showcases new projects and provides valuable resources. The platform aims to promote collaboration and knowledge-sharing among professionals across Africa and beyond, benefitting both project creators and decision-makers. Connect with the film industry here – https://filmmart.africa/
The Future Mentors Programme Guide was co-created in 2022 with DW Akademie and Berlinale Talents. It addresses the lack of African mentors and equips the next generation of mentors with essential skills. The guide serves as a training tool, catering to individuals seeking to become mentors or enhance their mentorship abilities. It will be freely available through the Durban FilmMart Institute’s online offering, supporting aspiring mentors and industry professionals – https://durbanfilmmart.co.za/future-mentors/.
The collaboration with DW Akademie has enabled the DFMI to introduce these new initiatives and sustain existing successful programmes, reflecting their dedication to supporting the African film industry’s growth and long-term success. The shared belief in the transformative power of mentorship and collaboration highlights the DFMI’s commitment to nurturing emerging talents and providing them with opportunities within the industry.
Overall, the collaborations announced at the 14th Durban FilmMart are poised to create a thriving and dynamic future for African cinema, providing opportunities, support and resources for emerging talents and industry professionals. The Durban FilmMart Institute’s dedication to stimulating African content production and fostering creativity bodes well for a vibrant and prosperous future for the film industry on the continent and beyond.
The Durban FilmMart Institute, which organises DFM 2023, receives its primary funding from the Durban Film Office and the eThekwini Municipality. The success of the event is made possible through the generous support of various organisations and entities.
These include DW Akademie, Ford Foundation, NEFTI, National Film and Video Foundation, Netflix, Amazon, Film and Publication Board, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, KZN Convention Bureau, Industrial Development Cooperation, International Emerging Film Talent Association, Sheer Publishing, French Institute in South Africa, Namibian Film Commission, Wesgro, CC&A, Eastern Cape Development Cooperation, Panavision, Africa No Filter and Trans-Saharan Artistic Mobility Fund.
Additionally, the event benefits from partnerships with esteemed organisations and festivals. These programme partners include the Durban International Film Festival, African Real Collective, Animation SA, Berlinale Talents, Cinemart, Digital Lab Africa, Documentary Filmmakers Association, DOK.fest München, Dok Leipzig, FIDA DOC, The Gotham, Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival, Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund, International Documentary Association, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, Independent Black Filmmakers Collective, Independent Producers Organisation, Locations Africa, Miradas Doc, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Produire au Sud, Red Sea Fund, Sørfund, SWIFT, TikTok, The Whickers, Trace Studios, TRT Sinema and Writers Guild of South Africa.