Durban FilmMart Institute Announces Headline Speakers and Masterclasses for DFM 2024

The 15th Durban FilmMart (DFM), set to take place from 19 – 22 July 2024 in Durban, promises to be an enriching event for film professionals seeking inspiration, professional development, and networking opportunities. Renowned leaders in the film industry will share their expertise and provide invaluable insights to delegates.

Standout elements of the DFM 2024 Industry Programme under the theme, African Visions Unleashed: From Disruption to Accountability, are the In Conversation and Masterclass series, which aim to enhance the film community with in-depth and specialised sessions with professionals who have impacted the global and African film landscapes.

“The In Conversation and Masterclass series at DFM 2024 offer attendees an opportunity to learn from and engage with some of the influential figures in the film industry,” says Magdalene Reddy, Director of the Durban FilmMart Institute (DFMI). These sessions celebrate the achievements of industry leaders and provide a platform for meaningful dialogue that can inspire and guide the next generation of filmmakers. We are pleased to present leading experts who will share their knowledge, helping others navigate and find their place within Africa’s dynamic film landscape.”

Spotlighting the complexity of film production and distribution in the Conversation Series, is Katie Irwin, an Agent and the Co-Head of International at WME Independent. Katie’s role at WME Independent involves handling sales and distribution, as well as advising on financing and packaging for a diverse array of films. Her strategic expertise has been pivotal in the success of films such as Daddio starring Sean Penn and Dakota Johnson, Clicquot starring Haley Bennett and Tom Sturridge, and Tin Soldier starring Jamie Foxx and Scott Eastwood. With a rich background that includes managing titles like the Oscar-nominated The Lost Daughter and The Peanut Butter Falcon at Endeavor Content, Katie brings a wealth of knowledge to the conversation.

A conversation with artist, writer, musician, and filmmaker from Dakar, Moussa Sene Absa, brings African stories to the forefront of global cinema. Moussa has devoted his career to creating powerful narratives that address critical issues such as censorship, human rights violations, and the impacts of colonialism. He is renowned for his award-winning films, including Tableau Ferraille, Madame Brouette, which won the Silver Bear in Berlin, and Xalé, The Childhood Wounds. Moussa’s work is intrinsically rooted in African culture and storytelling, a legacy he shares with his contemporary, the legendary Djibril Diop Mambéty. Moussa’s contributions to African cinema are significant, as he continues to influence and inspire with his unique voice and artistic vision. His ability to grapple with the hard truths of the world through compelling cinema has earned him a distinguished place in the industry. 

A trailblazing producer and filmmaker who has positioned herself as one of the leading voices in the South African film industry, Layla Swart will be joining the conversation series. As a young, female producer of colour, Layla has shown incredible resilience in promoting and developing local films for international markets. Her career spans both arthouse and commercial cinema, with notable successes such as Sew the Winter to my Skin and Knuckle City, both of which were South Africa’s submissions to the Academy Awards. Layla’s journey is marked by her commitment to transformation and diversity within the industry. She founded Yellowbone Entertainment in 2017 and has since produced seven feature films and the acclaimed television series Blood Psalms. Recently, she opened The Post Office, a post-production facility with a focus on skills development, further cementing her role as a mentor and leader. Layla’s films have been showcased at prestigious festivals including Cannes, Toronto International Film Festival, and London BFI, among others. 

The masterclass programme will feature Chris Mack, Director of Grow Creative for Netflix International Originals in a session on ‘Pitchworthy Characters’ which will help filmmakers enhance their storytelling by crafting unforgettable characters. ‘Marketing Your Project – Thinking Early’ with Nicola Ofoego, Head of Acquisitions at Black Mic Mac will provide knowledge on creating a robust marketing strategy from the outset, ensuring projects have the best chance for success. The animation masterclass, ‘Animation For All – Beyond Genres and Borders’ presented by Managing Director of Frogbox, Stanislas Renaudeau d’Arc will explore the global landscape of animated content production, focusing on co-productions that transcend regional, linguistic, and cultural boundaries. 

The Durban FilmMart Institute is excited to offer these enriching masterclasses, providing a platform for film professionals to gain advanced insights and enhance their skills. 

Registration for participation in the market is currently open.  

For more information and to register, please visit our website:       

The Durban FilmMart Institute, which organises DFM 2024, 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 the Ford Foundation, Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, NEFTI, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, National Film and Video Foundation, Netflix, CNC, French Institute in South Africa, Industrial Development Cooperation, KZN Convention Bureau, International Emerging Film Talent Association,  Eastern Cape Development Cooperation, Dante Languages

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, Doc Society, Documentary Filmmakers Association, Encounters South Africa International Film Festival, European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs, FIPRESCI, Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund, Independent Black Filmmakers Collective, Independent Producers Organisation, Locations Africa, Produire au Sud, South African Guild of Actors, SWIFT, and Writers Guild of South Africa

For further inquiries, contact: [email protected]   

About the Durban FilmMart Institute:

Durban FilmMart Institute is the business hub of the African film industry, where film professionals and content are globally competitive and celebrated. The institute’s mission is to provide appropriate and effective programmes and services to promote, support, and facilitate investment in the African film industry.

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