Durban FilmMart Announces 2023 Jumpstart Projects

The Durban FilmMart Institute (DFMI), in collaboration with Produire au Sud, and the support of Institut Français in South Africa, is pleased to present the 2023 Jumpstart projects.

For over a decade, Jumpstart has served as an incubator programme, dedicated to equipping aspiring filmmakers with essential tools and techniques for scriptwriting excellence. The successful 11-year partnership between DFM and Produire au Sud has supported numerous African directors and producers, nurturing their projects during the crucial development phase. Taking place online during the Durban FilmMart from 20 – 23 July 2023, the programme promises to ignite creativity and propel emerging talents to new heights. 

“The collaboration between Durban FilmMart and Produire au Sud is 11 years old and we are very happy to have been able to accompany so many emergent Africans directors and producers with their projects in development during all those years.” said Lucas Taillefer, Coordinator of Produire au Sud. “During this time, the Jumpstart programme went through many stages, and it has great potential to be further developed in the future. The co-operation between Durban and Nantes ensures not only Produire au Sud coming to South Africa, but also the other way around. Indeed, each year, a project of DFM is invited to come to Nantes during the PAS workshop in the framework of the Festival des 3 Continents late November. This fruitful collaboration is made possible thanks to the help of the Institut Français in South Africa.”

Jumpstart Projects 2023:

A Lady Called Sayeda – EGYPT (Director: Anas Salaheldin; Producer: Essam Hayder) – Amidst the Covid lockdown, Sayeda, a mother of four girls, experiences a sudden premature delivery, desperately seeking help while facing virus-related fears. A friend discreetly recommends a trusted midwife, unaware of Sayeda’s infection. Advised to reach the central hospital for the baby’s safety, Sayeda confronts unprecedented challenges.

THUPO [Initiation] – BOTSWANA (Director: Moreetsi Gabang; Producer: Frank Oteng) – A look at a defining moment in the lives of three Batswana who learn the values of compassion, respect, and responsibility. Over the course of a single day in a village in Botswana, a little boy’s relationship with his domestic helper is threatened, a dog’s life is endangered, and the barren wife of a pastor discovers her albino niece is missing.

Jambo Lolita – KENYA (Director: Jake Sirma; Producer: Joan Njeri) – Lola, a determined Kenyan girl, dreams of starting her own food stand to avoid the fate of her family’s trade. She crosses paths with Paolo, an Italian chef diagnosed with ALS. Together, they build Lola’s stand, but challenges arise. As Paolo’s health deteriorates, Lola shifts her focus to his recovery, supported by her community. Unexpectedly, her stand is rebuilt, uniting everyone in celebration. This story highlights friendship, ambition, familial pressures, and the strength of community support.

Maternal – SOUTH AFRICA (Director: Minenhle Luthuli; Producer: Omolemo Nthathe) – Viola Whitaker, a resilient and artistic woman, has faced a challenging path in life. Despite success in her career and marriage, her longing for motherhood persists. Tragedy strikes during her pregnancy, leading to loss and strained relationships. Amid grief and societal pressures, Viola discovers her husband’s own pain, prompting them to embark on an adoption journey to fulfil their dreams of parenthood.

Hotel Hillbrow – South Africa (Director: Malusi S Bengu; Producer: Khosie Dali) – Zee’s tumultuous life of sex, drugs and music takes an unexpected turn when a public humiliation on national TV derails her career. After a year of rebuilding, she finds solace in her late father’s jazz legacy, inspiring a powerful comeback performance that leaves the crowd speechless.

Blackass, from Director Tolulope Ajayi and Producer Chioma Onyenwe, about daily life in Nigeria exploring topics of Neo-Colonialism, conflict and colourism, as well as the inherent realities such as poverty and economic struggle, participated in Jumpstart in 2022 and will go on to participate in the DFM Pitch and Finance Forum this year.

The 2023 mentors include Tracey-Lee Rainers, who is a story development practitioner. She is well known for the popular Netflix production Seriously Single and SAFTAs award-winning film Address Unknown; Jérémie Dubois, a screenwriter who has written over a dozen short stories (two of which were selected at the Cannes Film Festival), as well as several feature films. In 2023, Dubois is shooting 3 new films; and Lucas Taillefer, who co-founded the Ecuadorian distribution company Trópico Cine, works for Festival des 3 Continents (Nantes) and runs the international training programme Produire au Sud.

Africa’s leading film event, Durban FilmMart (DFM), returns for its 14th edition from July 21 – 24 2023. This year’s theme is African Constellations, celebrating film industry champions and envisioning a future African Star System. The programme includes 20 live action and 8 animation projects in the Pitch and Finance Forum, as well as masterclasses, discussions, and sessions promoting the African film industry, inclusivity and diversity.

Early Bird registration for participation at DFM is now open until the end of June.

Visit to review the options.

The Durban FilmMart Institute receives principal funding from the Durban Film Office and the eThekwini Municipality.

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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.

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