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Engage @DFM announces partnerships with Awotele, Carthage Film Festival & United Screens

20 Jul 2019


Engage @ DFM, the new Durban FilmMart curated think tank conversations and panels on the future perspectives of the African film industry announced today a series of partnerships with other stakeholders with convergent and vested interests in the continent’s screen sector. Spearheaded by industry programmers Themba Bhebhe, Tiny Mungwe, Russel Hlongwane and Mitchell Harper, the 3-day programme, from July 20th – 22nd, comprises closed-rank moderated think tank discussions in the form of round tables in the mornings followed by public-facing panels in the afternoons. The solution-driven conversations are articulated around three foci: Towards a decolonial model for filmmaking and film; How can key African platforms work together create pan-African collaborations to grow cinema?; Strategies for growing documentary filmmaking and documentary audiences in Africa. Designed as spaces for the sharing and production of knowledge, these discussions will be documented and their findings subsequently redacted into a report.


Engage @ DFM has sealed partnerships with the film journal Awotélé, the Carthage Film Festival (Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage) as well as the research project conceived by the Berlin-based art space SAVVY Contemporary, United Screens.


Through these strategic partnerships where all three partners will actively partake in the conversations forming Engage @ DFM discursively, Awotélé will provide exclusive editorial coverage and a platform on which share the future report, the Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage (Carthage Film Festival) will host the next edition round of talks – Engage @ JCC - at one of the continent’s oldest and well-established festivals and United Screens will not only document and archive but also exhibit interviews past and present at the DFM, the KZN SA Gallery and the non-profit organization, Art for Humanity, hosted by the Durban University of Technology’s Faculty of Arts & Design.


“We are really pleased that we are able to grow the African industry network through the Engage @DFM programme,” says Toni Monty, Head of the Durban FilmMart. “It is fitting in our 10th edition that these partnerships have been forged, and we look forward to building the network across Africa, through further Engage conversations.”


“Awotélé is also committed to pursuing similar conversations as those that are at the centre of the think tank conversations which is why we are pleased to partner with Engage @DFM,” enthused Claire Diao, film critic and co-founder of Awotélé.


“Being the first established international film festival in the continent, the JCC’s mission has historically been to actively showcase and promote African and Arab cinemas and their talents, thus having a kinship with DIFF. Bringing together the northernmost and southernmost festivals in Africa follows the same spirit of stimulating and strengthening South-South collaborations, and allows us to think together on the future development perspectives of the industry,” stated Nejib Ayed -JCC General Director.


“DIFF and the JCC-Carthage Film Festival are two major, unmissable and complementary festivals with unparalleled industry platforms. This promising collaboration between Carthage Pro and Durban FilmMart will offer increased networking opportunities for film projects holders, and will bridge the gap between English, Arab and French speaking countries in Africa,” said Lamia Belkaïd Guiga, JCC General Delegate and Artistic Director, who, alongside her colleague Samia Labidi, travelled to Durban for the occasion.


“Carthage Pro and Durban FilmMart are linking their complementary platforms to reflect on cinema and also boost the local and regional industries. This collaboration will start at the 10th DIFF where the JCC will award a DFM project in development with an invitation to participate in CHABAKA workshop and pitching competition. The conversation of Engage @ DFM on the realities and challenges of documentary filmmaking will continue at the JCC 2019,” promised Samia Labidi, Carthage Pro Projects Development.


“Starting with Engage @ DFM, we are looking forward to walking with Engage, in their journey to bring together pan-African film practitioners in the face of vulnerable conditions in the film ecosystem on the continent,” said Abhishek Nilamber, curator. “We as UNITED SCREENS resonate with their passion and rigour to create and connect spaces for conversation, re-imagination and strategies for creating and screening cinema,” continued Laura Kloeckner, co-curator.


About the DFM

The Durban FilmMart (DFM) is a joint programme of the Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) and takes place in conjunction with Durban International Film Festival.The Durban FilmMart Finance Forum provides selected African film-makers with the opportunity to pitch film projects to leading financiers. The Durban FilmMart also facilitates networking opportunities in order for African and international film makers to form alliances for future.


About Awotélé -

AWOTELE, is a bilingual PanAfrican Film Journal published since 2015 on the occasion of the three major African film festivals (in Ouagadougou, Durban and Carthage).  


For its 13th issue released on the occasion of the 40th Durban International Film Festival (18-28 July), AWOTELE is proud to partner with Engage @ DFM, a series of conversations on pertinent, challenging and multi-facetted questions facing the African film industry today. 


About Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage-Carthage Film Festival -

Created in 1966, Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage (JCC-Carthage Film Festival) is to date the oldest event of its kind still active in Africa, and the first festival in region dedicated to Arab and African cinemas. The festival has 3 competitive sections: feature fiction, feature documentaries, and short films, from Arab and African filmmakers. Through various sections, the JCC promotes independent and engaged cinema, with a Panorama of Tunisian cinema, four focuses on Asia, Latin America, Africa and an Arab country, as well as Contemporary World Cinema section Created in 2015, Carthage Pro, the JCC's industry platform consists of five sections: CHABAKA, TAKMIL, MasterClass, the International Conference and Carthage Talks.  




About United Screens -

Conceived by the Berlin-based art space SAVVY Contemporary, UNITED SCREENS is a long-term research and exhibition project that probes, chronicles and archives film production and dissemination in the "Global South," with a particular focus on cinematic language using decolonial codes distinct from the prevailing canons and on decentralized, democratized forms of distribution of such films within and between the territories of the "Global South." A digital archive of video conversations with filmmakers and practitioners and its exhibition as public intervention constitute the project’s primary tools of networking, documenting and sharing.  


This initial collaboration between Engage @ DFM and UNITED SCREENS involves interviews of our participants, exhibitions and talks at the Durban-based spaces KZNSA Gallery and Art for Humanities, as well as the participation of the project’s curators Abhishek Nilamber and Laura Kloeckner in our conversations themselves.




Engage @ DFM

Curatorial/programming team

Themba Bhebhe

Tiny Mungwe

Mitchell Harper

Russel Hlongwane



Editorial Committee

Aderinsola Ajao

Michel Amarger

Claire Diao


United Screens

Abhishek Nilamber - curator

Laura Kloeckner – curator


Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage / Carthage Film Festival :

Lamia Guiga - General Delegate and Artistic Director 

Samia Labidi - Carthage Pro Projects Development



Scheduled events

Location: Elangeni Hotel – Suite 3

Sat. July 20th – 4PM – 5PM: Panel
Towards a decolonial model for filmmaking and film.

Sunday July 21st – 4PM – 5PM: Panel
How can key African platforms work together create pan-African collaborations to grow cinema?

Monday July 22nd – 4PM – 5PM: Panel
Strategies for growing documentary filmmaking and documentary audiences in Africa.