The two-year-old Durban Film Mart (DFM) has "Africa meet World" as its marketing slogan, and it couldn't be better suited to the project. By Latoya Newman
The DFM is a joint initiative between the Durban Film Office and the Durban International Film Festival. It is aimed at building networks among emerging African filmmakers and industry giants, from South Africa and abroad.
Over four days at the beginning of the film festival, DFM workshops and discussion sessions saw up-and-coming filmmakers and workers get the opportunity to rub shoulders, seek advice and market their projects to industry giants such as Video Vision Entertainment, a local company, and Puma.Creative, a joint project between Puma and the Channel 4 Britdoc Foundation, as well as Cinemart, the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Hubert Bals Fund.
Speaking at the DFM awards ceremony on Monday, Toni Monty, the acting chief executive of the Durban Film Office, said it was the first time the DFM had made such significant strides in promoting African film to the world.
"It has been easy for young people and start-ups to approach people and ask them for advice and essentially try to pitch themselves," she said.
Peter Rorvik, director of the film festival, thanked all the financiers and participants for their commitment and said the festival organisers hoped to see more African films made and distributed.
The 2011 DFM winners included 69 Messaha Square, directed by Ayten Amin and produced by Wael Omar, James Taylor's and Donald Mugisha's Boda Boda Thieves, David Max-Brown's and Lyle Lewis's This Boy, Joel Karekezi's Imbabazi (The Pardon), Homage to the Buddha, directed and produced by Nicole Schafer, and Ndiyindoda (I am a man), directed by Mayenzeke Baza and produced by Bryony Roughton. For all the DFM award winners, see www.cca.ukzn.ac.za.
Before the DFM awards were handed out, Puma.Creative announced the five finalists for their 2011 Puma.Creative Impact Award, for which entries opened in January and closed in April. The finalists for this e500 000 (R4.8 million) award will be judged on their documentary films' impact on society.
Beadie Finzi, founding director of the Channel 4 Britdoc Foundation, said the five films had covered topics ranging from the environment to social justice and global conflict, and that all five had been found to have enlightened and inspired viewers about global concerns.
The winner will be announced in London later this year.