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The Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry development programme of the Durban Film Office and the Durban International Film Festival, wrapped up  tonight (June 20) with an awards ceremony at the Tsogo Maharani Hotel in Durban, South Africa.

“DFM is considered one of Africa’s most important film finance platforms and industry gatherings, and this year around 550 film-makers from around the globe, with a significant representation from Africa, attended the festival for four days of pitching, forums and networking sessions,” says Toni Monty, Head of the Durban Film Office. “Over 600 meetings were held, in a robust and very engaging event this year.”

An integral part of the DFM is the finance and co-production forum, which this year had 10 features and nine documentary films selected for intense mentoring and pitch sessions to financiers and distributors, and other industry representatives.

Over the years the DFM has developed key relationships with a variety of industry partners that have seen the value of supporting and developing African content for both continental and global markets. These partners have engaged with projects over the four days, and a number of grants and awards were provided to projects with the aim to support their further development.

The Awards/Grants:

  • The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program award for the documentary film project that demonstrated potential for strong storytelling craft, artistic use of visual language, originality, feasibility, and relevance went to Hatim’s Dream (Uganda - Producer: Nathan Magoola, Director: Matthew Bishanga). This projects receives a cash award of $5000 for further development.
  • Afridocs, the broadcast stream that sees African and other international documentaries screened across 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa on a weekly basis, gave a €3000 grant toTestament (Kenya, Producer: Meena Nanji, Directors: Meena Nanji and Zippy Kimundu).
  • The CineMart Award, sponsored by the co-production market of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, went to the fiction project, Disco Afrika (Madagascar, Producer: Razanajaona Ambinintsoa Luck, Executive Producers: Herizo Rabary and Randriamantsoa, Director: Razanajaona Ambinintsoa Luck) which is given an opportunity to attend the Rotterdam Lab, a five-day training and networking event bringing together producers from all over the world.
  • The International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) awarded the most promising documentary project at the DFM, Wizard of Zim (South Africa, Producers: Lesedi Oluko Moche and Carolyn Carew, Director: Samora Sekhukhune) with an opportunity to attend the  IDFA Forum, the largest and most influential meeting place for documentary filmmakers, producers, commissioning editors, funds, private financiers and other documentary stakeholders in Europe, in November.
  • Produire au Sud of Festival des 3 Continents (Nantes), awarded the fiction film Headland(South Africa, Producer: David Horler, Director: Elan Gamaker) an opportunity to attend its developmental workshop program, PAS, where they will be given tools, expertise, and opportunities to develop European networks.
  • The Restless Pitch award, is a one-on-one consultation for the project by Restless Talent Management, who provide development services such as image-building and positioning, project packaging, PR, and advises its clients on film sales, distribution and promotion. This was given to the project On the Bus by Nadine Cloete. Restless Talents also gave a special mention to the project Nama by Kelly-Eve Koopman. 
  • Videovision Entertainment awarded the “Best South African Film Project”  to Abnormal Loads (South Africa, Producer: Elias Ribeiro, Cait Panesgrouw. Director: Neil Coppen) a prize valued at R75 000, which guarantees its release once it is completed. The prize includes marketing and distribution support from Videovision Entertainment.
  • Versfeld & Associates, publicity consultants will develop publicity material and advise on publicity profiling through the development two projects – The Mango Tree that Danced with Sea Breeze (South Africa/ Kenya, Producer Lunghi Zondi and Philippa Ndisi-Hermann, Director Philippa Ndisi-Hermann) and Inga, Inge (Zimbabwe, Producer Veronique Doumbe, Director Tsitsi Dangarembga).
  • Sørfond awarded the project Un Fils (Tunisia, Producer: Habib Attia,Director: Mehdi M. Barsaoui) with an opportunity to pitch at the Sørfond Pitching Forum in Oslo later this year.
  • The International Organisation of La Francophonie awarded a grant of 5000 Euro for the Francophone project Disco Afrika (Madagascar, Producer: Razanajaona Ambinintsoa Luck, Executive Producers: Herizo Rabary and Randriamantsoa, Director: Razanajaona Ambinintsoa Luck).

“It is through these partnerships that DFM projects are able to develop further along the path to completion, so we would like to thank all our partners for their support,” says Toni Monty. “For independent filmmakers, the mentorship and support given by partners during the DFM, enables them to take their projects to the next level paving the way for the creation of a fully fledged product, which hopefully one day will return for exhibition at the Durban International Film Festival.”

For more information about the DFM go to www.durbanfilmmart.com.