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Durban FilmMart is Looking for African Film Projects with Strong Narratives

Submissions for documentary and feature film projects in development for the Durban FilmMart  (DFM) close next week on 31 January 2020. The organisers are making a special call-out to documentary filmmakers who have projects to submit.

“We invite documentary filmmakers to submit their projects no matter how early in its development it is, so long as it has a producer and director attached to it,” says Don Edkins well-known documentary filmmaker and the DFM’s documentary film mentor. “The DFM is a brilliant way in which filmmakers are able to galvanize interest in their ideas, get people excited about being involved or helping them develop the project. It may be that the project could then be taken to its next level by being invited to another market for further development, or find financing through the pitches. The possibilities are endless.”

The DFM, which takes place from 17 to 20 July 2020, will host 10 documentary and 10 feature projects at its co-production and finance forum. The producer, director or writer on the project must be an African citizen and can either be living on the continent or in the Diaspora.

‘Documentary filim has over the last years really come into its own,” enthuses Edkins. “We see how the genre has evolved from its more information-driven newsreel-style to a narrative or ‘story-driven’ approach,” he says. “It makes the film genre so much more accessible for its audience, drawing them in and engaging them, yet still making strong statements or creating its requisite impact.”

Countless film projects have gone from a simple concept and idea at the Durban FilmMart to the big screen over the 11 years.

Some examples include the 2011 project Buddha in Africa directed by Nicole Schafer (SA) which premiered at HotDocs 2019, and had its SA premiere at Encounters and won Best SA Documentary at DIFF making it eligible for consideration for an Oscar nomination.  2014 projects which made it to the big screen include Kula – a Memory in 3 Acts directed by Inadelso Cossa (Mozambique), The Colonel’s Stray Dogs directed by Khali Shamis (SA), The Sound of Masks directed by Sara Gouveia (SA/Mozambique), Alison directed by Uga Carlini (SA). The 2015 alumni projects which were completed include Amal directed by Mohamed Siam (Egypt), Not in my Neighbourhood directed by Kurt Orderson (SA), The Giant is Falling (working title After Marikana) directed by Rehad Desai (SA) had its international premiere at IDFA. The 2016 project The Letter directed by Maia von Lekow and Chris King (Kenya) premiered at IDFA in 2019 and also from that year, Working Womxn directed by Shanelle Jewnarain (SA) is in production.

“There are plenty more examples of films that have pushed through from their initial concepts, into production and then onto distribution and or screening,” says Edkins. “The documentary film community in Africa is still small and working with the DFM we try to find new talent constantly and work with the industry to hold space for the documentary. I know there are highly creative and talented people out there who have brilliant ideas, and I would like to encourage them to submit these for consideration for this year’s edition.”

To submit a project go to http://www.durbanfilmmart.co.za/ProjectSubmissions


14th Annual South African Film & Television Awards Returns to Joburg

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) today officially announced that the SAFTAs (South African Film and Television Awards), will be hosted on the 27th (Craft Awards) and 28th (Main televised awards) of March 2020 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Gauteng. Having had a stint at Sun City in the North-West Provinces the SAFTAs are back in the city of gold. The NFVF, as the custodians of the SAFTAs mandated by the Department of Sports Arts and Culture, is proud to present the 14th instalment of these awards that recognises and honours South African talent, under the #LoveSATalent banner.

Over a two-day extravaganza, the industry will gather to once again witness the celebration and reward of the golden horn, as decided by a panel of over 200 judges. In a process that is run independent of any interference from the NFVF, the industry is called upon to make submissions in different categories and judging panels bear the heavy task of reviewing, debating and ultimately choosing the worthy nominees and ultimate winners.

This mammoth undertaking of running the industry awards would not be possible each year without the support of broadcast partners, commercial entities, as well as strategic partners who come on board to ensure that the industry gets the recognition they have worked hard for and the celebration they deserve. Some of the partners on board for SAFTAs 14 include but are not limited to Brand SA, SABC, M-Net, Mercedes Benz, Mall of Africa and Total.

From the most dramatic cinematography and characters we love to hate and gripping storylines, the SAFTAs 14, will bring all the drama and intrigue as the country’s production teams vie for the behind the scenes awards at the Craft Awards on Friday, 27 March 2019, and the main awards show on Saturday, 28 March 2019. Rolled out in their honour, the red carpet is sure to dazzle as the stars come out to play. Audiences will not be left behind as they too would have had their chance to participate in deciding the outcome of two Public vote categories: Most Popular TV Soap or Telenovela and Best TV Presenter   

 “We are cognisant of the criticism that has been levelled towards the SAFTAs in past instalments and we are keen to show the industry our commitment to benchmarking against best practise. To that end, the NFVF team met and consulted with the BAFTA’s team to see what learnings could be incorporated into making these awards better and as a result, some categories were revised, and we feel we are inching closer to having an award show with proper and continued industry buy-in.” Commented Makhosazana Khanyile, Chief Executive Officer of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF): “Ensuring the credibility of the awards within the industry meant reaching out to some production companies that had previously boycotted the SAFTAs and we are pleased to announce that both Word of Mouth Production (Muvhango) and Ferguson Films (The Queen) have once again entered their work for consideration into the awards. And we continuously aim to improve the prestige of the golden horn.” further commented Makhosazana Khanyile.

The 14th SAFTA’s ceremony will broadcast LIVE on Saturday, 28 March 2019 on SABC 2 at 19:00 from Sandton Convention Centre.

Follow the SAFTAs on all social media platforms for regular updates. Twitter: @saftas1 Instagram and Facebook: @saftassa


Uzalo Season 6 – New Faces Join cast!


It’s been six years since multiple award winning TV drama Uzalo hit South African TV screens, building up a loyal following by delivering riveting storylines, loveable characters and heart-stopping cliffhangers that kept audiences coming back for more.

The drama, now going into it’s sixth season, began as a 3 day a week broadcast on SABC1, and since then, has built up to South Africa’s most popular drama, airing 5 evenings weekly.   In it’s 6 years of existence, Uzalo has turned a host of unknown talent into household names and showcased the province to devoted audiences nationwide.  The drama has also been home to some of South Africa’s most established acting talent, who’ve played a major part in creating the magic that viewers have enjoyed.  

True to form, the beginning of every season brings on fresh faces on Uzalo –  viewers will be introduced to a number of new characters who’re set to deliver exciting twists to existing storylines. The timid but suspicious Thulani, played by Thulane Shange enters as the long lost son of Gxabhashe (played by Mpumelelo Bulose)  . Classy and dignified,  Khehla’s mother Nomcebo “Cebo”, played by Nombulele Mhlongo will also joining the cast to add her own brand of spice to the plot.  Rounding off the new faces is the perfect gentleman and savvy businessman,  Mpumelelo “Mpume”, who will be portrayed by Fezile Makhanya – he’s set to shake up Sbu’s world in an interesting way.

With each new season comes the inevitable bittersweet goodbye – The much loved Khehla Qhabanga’s son, played by Thobani Nzuza will bid the series farewell.  

As always, we’re excited about the new talent joining and cast, and the three new faces joining the family are no exception.” Comments Brenda Mukwevho Creative Director and DirectorWe have some great plot twists coming up, and cannot wait for audiences to see what the cast will deliver!  We also thank Thobani for the great work he did as part of the Uzalo family – he gave his all, and we are grateful to have been able to work with him.”


Realness Institute Welcomes thiopian filmmaker Mehret Mandefro to their team

The Realness Institute, which hosts theannual Realness African Screenwriters’ Residency aimed at developing feature film projects, welcomes Ethiopian filmmaker Mehret Mandefro (of A51 Films) as its newest force on the team.

Mehret is an award-winning producer and writer whose credits include the Sundance and Berlinale Audience Award winner Difret, the New York Times Critic’s Pick Little White Lie, and Sweetness in the Belly starring Dakota Fanning and Yahya Abdul-Mateen which recently premiered at TIFF. She co-founded the independent media production company Truth Aid in New York and is currently based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she is senior producer at A51 Films, an independent production company dedicated to nurturing new voices in Ethiopian cinema and building the local industry through talent training and production. Mehret is currently the private sector liaison for Ethiopia Creates, a national effort led by Tourism Ethiopia to jumpstart the creative sector and is coming on as a co-founder of Realness Institute to do the same for the film sector across sub-Saharan Africa. She is an alumnus of the Sundance Institute’s New Voices Lab, Film Forward and American Film Showcase.

“Mehret comes to us with over a decade of experience in producing, broadcasting and social impact programming as well as public arts advocacy,” says Elias Ribeiro who founded Realness in 2015. “Mehret and I met co-mentoring labs across Africa addressing a scarcity of producers who understand international financing and have access to international networks. We look forward to the growth of this relationship which will afford a strong presence of our Institute in East Africa.”

Submissions for the 5th edition of Realness African Screenwriters’ Residency and the very first Creative Producer Indaba close on 31 January 2020. Since Realness’ inception, 22 scriptwriters have enjoyed the programme which includes a six month incubator, with a six-week residency at Nirox Foundation, followed by attendance at the annual Durban FilmMart where they are mentored and pitch their projects to film professionals.

Mehret adds: “Indaba will equip producers with the skills, mentorship and much needed access in order to get film projects developed and financed. We are particularly looking for promising leaders s who want to play a role in the creation of more financial instruments and better policies for films to be made on the continent”.

For more information or to submit go to https://www.realness.institute/


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