About 20 emerging South African filmmakers are at the 68th Annual Cannes International Film Festival in France, where they are showcasing their expertise and potentially selling their projects to various buyers.
The filmmakers, led by Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Mzwandile Masina, are also promoting South Africa's attractiveness as a film destination that meets international standards. They will present their projects at the annual film fair, which takes place in the coastal city of Cannes. It began yesterday and ends on 24 May.
Masina said the participation of local filmmakers was part of his department's strategy to create access to local film and video products, promote an increase in the volume of film production, and provide exposure for the emerging filmmakers to the international film and production markets, distributors, funders and producers. The intention is to transform and grow the South African film industry.
"Through promoting South Africa as an international destination to attract further international productions and in encouraging the generation of local content production, the country will continue to enjoy the benefits of a vibrant and growing film industry," he said, encouraging international production houses to use the country as a location for films.
South Africa had signed a co-production treaty with France, Masina said yesterday. "This agreement serves as a driver from which France can contribute to the expansion of the film, television, video production and distribution industries of both countries."
The treaty also served to enhance the development of cultural and economic exchanges. While in Cannes, Masina will hold meetings with Lions Gate, an American film studio, and Axiom, a British production, distribution and sales company. He will also meet international producers from various countries.
"The 20 filmmakers were funded by the Department of Trade and Industry. They will participate in a producers' network and workshop sessions," said spokesperson Sidwell Medupe.
The film and television industry has been identified as a priority sector in the Industrial Policy Action Plan because of its ability to promote increased investment, job creation and skills transfer. "This sector is an important generator of foreign earnings for the country. It contributed approximately R3.5-billion into the economy last year and created more than 25 000 jobs," Masina said.
The Cannes International Film Festival is an annual film conference where new films of all genres, including documentaries, from around the world are previewed.