The Durban FilmMart Institute (DFMI) is delighted to unveil the line-up of platforms and streamers participating in the highly anticipated 2023 DFM Industry Programme. Embarking on its 14th edition, DFM runs from 21 – 24 July, embracing the theme African Constellations to celebrate the remarkable talent of the African film industry. This year’s DFM will take place in person, spanning four immersive days in Durban.
The FilmMart will feature an impressive array of streaming and exhibition platforms as part of its Industry Programme. International streaming platforms such as Netflix, Prime Video, Showmax and Viu together with TRACE Studios and TikTok will participate in panel discussions and masterclasses.
“We are incredibly excited to have such a diverse range of streamers and exhibition platforms participating in this year’s DFM programme. Their collaboration reflects the hub of creativity that DFM embodies, and we are happy to bring together some of the biggest global players in the industry.” said Magdalene Reddy, Director of the Durban FilmMart Institute. “Their presence is of immense significance to the African film industry and our mission to celebrate filmmaking talent on the continent. These platforms not only bring exposure to African content on a global scale but also provide brilliant opportunities for learning and growth for our filmmakers. By engaging with these platforms, filmmakers can gain insights into the latest trends, distribution strategies and creative processes, empowering them to tell authentic and compelling stories that resonate with audiences worldwide. This collaboration bridges the gap between African cinema and the global stage, opening doors to new audiences, markets and possibilities.”
Netflix will have a strong presence at DFM 2023 offering both a masterclass and panel discussion. In their masterclass “From Development to Final Grade: Inspiring More Value in Our Visuals”, Netflix will explore the elements that make up successful and ‘iconic’ visual styles, key moments to enrich and foster image-making throughout the production process. Specialist Edmond Laccon will highlight how creating positive cycles of idea-sharing between artists from early development to final grading is a key to compelling, polished visuals that draw audiences in. Laccon will be joined by fellow Netflix executives Ndanu Kilonzo, David Karanja and Marc Baleiza in a question and answer session. .
The Netflix panel “Navigating Africa’s Content Distribution Landscape with Netflix” will consider the pathways filmmakers find to get their content onto various platforms and streaming services such as Netflix. Panellists will include Netflix and local distribution companies discussing the art and science behind distribution, the various deal structures available to them, the technical aspects of distribution, as well as how they bridge the gap between licensed content and streaming services such as Netflix. Featured guests include established distributors Helen Kuun (Indigenous Film Distribution), Ben Cowley (Gravel Road Africa) and Mayenzeke Baza (AAA Entertainment) who will be joined by Netflix Director of Content for the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Ben Amadasun.
The inclusion of Prime Video this year is notable as the service has only recently entered the African content landscape. The streamer will host a Q&A session exploring how Prime Video is showcasing authentic African content to a global audience. Audiences will have the opportunity to learn about Prime Video’s strategies, plans for the continent and their upcoming releases from Africa. Panellists include Ayanna Lonian (Prime Video), Bianca Isaac (Figjam Entertainment) and Joel Chiakpa Phiri (Known Associates Entertainment).
“How Viu Works with Local Storytellers” presented by Viu is another anticipated newcomer to DFM. Viu is a leading pan-regional over-the-top (OTT) video streaming service available in 16 markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar in Asia, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the Middle East, as well as South Africa. Operating with both an ad-supported tier and a premium subscription tier, Viu delivers premium content in different genres from top content providers with local languages and subtitles, as well as original production series under the ‘Viu Original’ initiative. Featured panellists includes Country Manager, Ryan Solovei (Viu South Africa) and Farzana Wadee (Viu South Africa).
Trace Studios’ Beverley Mitchell will present a masterclass on “Finding Your Voice: Towards Authentic Storytelling”. In the roaring vortex of (mis)information that bombards us daily, how do you know what is authentic and what is not? And how do you make your voice heard? How do you craft stories that rise above the mundane without sacrificing originality and authenticity? This masterclass will offer participants helpful tools to discover their own voices.
The 2023 DFM Industry programme will feature Showmax and MultiChoice in a panel discussion titled “Making Your Scripted Series”. MultiChoice and Showmax executives will talk audiences through the pitch process for series seeking spots on Showmax, Mzansi Magic, M-Net, kykNET, Africa Magic and more. The panel will also explore Showmax’s partnership with Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Sky and its pending re-launch, to be powered by Peacock’s globally scaled technology. Featured panellists include Flavia Motsisi (MultiChoice), Lucia Meyer-Marais (MultiChoice), Lufuno Lefowa (Multichoice), Mauro Black (MultiChoice Studios) and Merveline Ferris (M-Net).
The streamers will also be engaging with projects from the DFM Pitch and Finance Forum, alongside platforms such Canal+, Trace Studios and commissioning editors from the SABC, Al Jazeera, BBC Storyville and many other financiers and distributors.
The participation of Netflix, TRACE, Prime Video, Showmax and Viu at DFM not only signifies their commitment to supporting and showcasing African content but also provides unique opportunities for growth within the industry. Those attending DFM will have the chance to engage with these key industry players and this invaluable interaction will empower filmmakers to tell compelling and authentic stories that resonate with audiences in Africa and worldwide.
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.
Visit https://durbanfilmmart.co.za/ for more information and https://durbanfilmmart.co.za/dfm-2023-website-programme/ to explore the full programme of activities and opportunities on offer at DFM.
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About the Durban FilmMart Institute:
Durban FilmMart Institute is the business hub of the African film industry in a world where professionals and products are globally competitive and celebrated. The mission of the Durban FilmMart Institute is to provide appropriate and effective programmes and services to promote, support and facilitate investment in the African film industry.