The Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) recently presented plans to hold an international film co-production market, the Durban FilmMart, on the African continent.

With strong support by the city of eThekwini and based on the success of similar film markets worldwide, it is anticipated the Durban FilmMart will provide African film-makers with the opportunity to pitch film projects to leading financiers, world sales agents and obtain feedback from internationally reputed directors and producers in order to form alliances for future collaborations.

"We envisage that the establishment of an international co-production market in association with the Durban International Film Festival in Durban, has the potential to act as a key driver in raising the visibility of film content from the African continent, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to combine our resources with the festival in an effort to achieve this objective," says Toni Monty, acting CEO of the Durban Film Office.

"The DFO and DIFF have worked consistently for the past 18 months in researching and planning for the establishment of this programme and it is a proud moment to be able to announce that we will host the inaugural event at the 2010 festival."

Designed to bring vital elements together
As the flagship film event in KwaZulu-Natal, the DIFF is intended to bring together vital elements of industry expertise, filmmaker networks, local and international media, public awareness and a celebratory spirit that highlights the possibilities and stimulates film industry progress. The festival is aimed at proactively promoting the development of the local industry and provides a strategic exhibition platform for local product alongside international film within a professionally-implemented and reputable cultural experience.

"By providing a funding and co-production forum the Durban FilmMart aims to redress the paucity of film production on this continent and make a vital contribution to film financing and industry development in a time where stability and growth is sadly sporadic," says Peter Rorvik, director of the Centre for Creative Arts / Durban International Film Festival.

A joint project
"The FilmMart aims to be a place for film financiers to locate fundable African projects and encourage project collaboration between African film-makers from different African countries. The enthusiasm and support of the DFO and the city of Durban for this partnership initiative is an encouraging acknowledgement of the potential that this project offers in terms of international and continental cooperation in the development of the film industry," he adds.

The Durban FilmMart will be a joint project of the DFO and the DIFF, which is run by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Discussions are also underway regarding a formal partnership with Rotterdam, host city of one of the most reputable co-production markets, CineMart, and also a sister-city to Durban. It is hoped that the FilmMart will in fact become a valuable feeder stage for established co-production markets across the globe.

Support and motivation for the project has been strongly influenced by the positive effects the film industry has already shown to have on the economy of the country. In its broadest sense, it stimulates growth, generates employment, brings in valuable foreign exchange, effects technology and skills transfer and is an extensive promoter of tourism for the country.

The project aims to be a further catalyst for growth in the region by becoming one of the key events of the South African and African film industry and a focal point to interface with global parties and stimulate interest and activity in the city and the province.

Source: This article appeared in Biz Community on 27 July 2009 at http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/97/38312.html