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Film exhibition to unpack COVID-19 effects

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

ORGANISERS of the forthcoming Africa’s premier film extravaganza, the Durban FilmMart Institute (DFMI) 2021, have said the event will help unpack the disruption that the film industry has had to navigate to circumvent effects of COVID-19 pandemic.

The 12th edition of the film showcase will be held under the theme Disrupt! The Shape of Stories from July 16 to 25 in adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures.

From the 28 projects comprising 14 documentaries and 14 fiction features that have been selected for the Finance Forum, Zimbabwe has two fiction films, Akashinga produced by Jérémie Palanque and directed by Naishe Nyamubaya, and Come Sunrise, We Shall Rule produced by Bramwel Iro and directed by Nyasha Kadandara.

In a statement, DFMI acting general manager Magdalene Reddy said the event would harness the energy of the times, in which online networking, financing, cloud-based workflows and disruption of the distribution ecosystem has the potential to democratise access across the film value chain.

“Building on the success of our first all-digital market last year, the 12th Durban Film Mart will look to unpack the disruption that the film industry has had to navigate while celebrating the unique opportunities it has presented,” she said.

“The 2021 Durban Film Mart will interrogate the challenges and opportunities that the changes in the film industry represent, while celebrating the new contours of access as online leads the way, remote working connects us differently, and new collaborations emerge.”

She added: “We will also acknowledge key aspects that are unique to us as Africans — all while offering the same fair access across the industry, fostering community within the African film industry, and providing a platform for networking with an international market.”

Reddy said the event was a pan-African platform that connected the African film industry to the world.

“The Pitch Forum from July 16 to 19 brings together financiers, funders, investors, and programmers with 70 African projects in development. These include the DFM documentary and fiction projects, participants of the Talents Durban programme in partnership with Berlinale Talents, and a spotlight on selected projects from Lusophone Africa in partnership with the International Emerging Film Talent Association,” she said.

“The Jumpstart incubator programme, in partnership with Produire au Sud, will provide script development mentorship for six emerging directors. Following last year’s inaugural DFM Content Shop, the 2021 programme will present a digital catalogue of 60 African projects (fiction, documentary film of all lengths as well as series and animation) that are ready for sale and distribution.”

She added that the chosen films had been curated to reflect the unique African storytelling style.

“This year’s Industry Programme sees the introduction of new focus areas as well as the return of the successful DFM in Conversation, Durban Does Docs, Engage and Talent Filmmaker Talks,” she said.

“The DFM in Conversation is a series of keynote talks with leading content producers working in or with Africa. Speakers include Effie T Brown, the chief executive officer of Gamechanger Films, a highly acclaimed award-winning, film, television and digital producer.”

Reddy said in addition, the stream would include Kenyan filmmaker and member of the Academy Judy Kibinge, who has written and directed several award-winning fiction and documentary films and multi Emmy Award nominee, Coréon Dú (Semba Comunicação Group) who has over the past 15 years, contributed to the creative industries in his native Angola and beyond.

“The Durban does docs sessions will provide delegates the opportunity to engage with documentary film directors, organisations and initiatives in a series of discussions that centre around the creative documentary filmmaking process,” she said.

“Participating industry players include Mohamed Ouma (DOC-A, Comoros ), Jihan El Tahiri (Doxbox, Egypt), Theresa Hill (Steps, South Africa), Xoliswa Sithole (Documentary Filmmaker Association, South Africa) and Steven Markowitz (African Screen Network, South Africa) among others.”

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