Largest delegation of SA Documentary filmmakers to visit IDFA

The DTI and DFA continues to expose and offer export market opportunities to the film industry in South Africa through the DTI's EMIA scheme. A total of 34 South African filmmakers will visit this year's International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) from Nov 13 to 24.

The South African Documentary Filmmakers Association (DFA), together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), have put together a South African delegation to represent the country at the world's largest documentary film festival, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

The official delegation will be made up of 20 filmmakers from different provinces in South Africa, funded by the DTI's group assistance scheme for emerging exporters. They will be joined by members of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and other documentary filmmakers who will be funded by the DTI's individual schemes or self funded. Brand SA have partnered with the DFA delegation and contributed towards the market stand with SA flag branded giveaways.

The NFVF also contributed with financial support for the delegation catalogue that showcases the projects being presented at the market.

This will be the second delegation of documentary makers representing South Africa at an international film festival this year, following on the successful delegation to Hot Docs in Toronto Canada in April. Both the previous and current delegations were spear headed by DFA member Pascal Schmitz who has become an expert in EMIA funded South African delegations to international markets and festivals.

The DTI's EMIA (Export Marketing and Investment Assistance) Schemes fund both emerging exporters, through their group scheme, to break into international markets, as well established exporters through their individual schemes to market and sell their products. According to DFA board member Mayenzeke Baza, such initiatives are necessary for the growth, development and transformation of the documentary film industry in our country, as they help to expose emerging and previously disadvantaged filmmakers to different markets and opportunities to sell their products to international broadcasters and funders.

"The documentary film genre is unique," says Baza. "It stimulates public discourse, reflects on social, political, cultural and current events, explores history, commemorates heritage and unearths the mysteries of the universe and the planet." Baza points out that documentary is the most accessible genre of filmmaking for young professionals looking to break into the industry and so offers a ripe field for transformation.

Delegates will hold meetings with Dutch producers as well as producers from other delegations. They will also host a co-production function including a South African DJ and two of the Pansula dancers from the Durban International Film Festival documentary winner "African Cypher". Two projects by South Africans - "The Devil's Lair" (Riaan Hendricks and Neil Brandt) and "The Dream of Shahrazad" (Francois Verster and Neil Brandt) - have been selected to pitch at the Forum, the biggest pitching market for documentaries in the world. This is how foreign investment and international distribution and broadcast is secured and therefore where we need to be as South African filmmakers

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