THE Durban FilmMart (DFM) has announced a stellar line-up of speakers for its 10th edition which takes place from 19 to 22 July during the 40th Durban International Film Festival (18-28 July).
The programme for this major four-day film industry event includes a series of masterclasses, workshops and business networking opportunities aimed at developing content and expertise, as well as encouraging collaborations and networks across the continent and internationally.
Speakers this year include Irish screenwriter and producer Gabrielle Kelly, London-based curator, audience development specialist and author Nadia Denton, South African producer and founding manager of the Cape Town chapter of the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival Sean Drummond and prolific Egyptian director Mohamed Siam.
Gabrielle Kelly, who has had an extensive filmmaking career in the USA, is a screenwriter and producer of diverse content for the global marketplace and also teaches in international labs and film programmes, will lead a masterclass entitled Towards Gender Equity in Film and Television. A recipient of two Fullbright awards for film, Gabrielle, sits on the Board of the British Academy of Film and Television, Women In Film and the Irish Film Festival/LA, and is a judge and programmer at numerous film festivals worldwide. She will share insights on the gains being made by women film professionals, filmmakers and actors in fighting against discrimination, sexual harassment and imbalanced representation on screen. The Masterclass will also highlight why gender equality leads to better productivity, better films and a better society. She will touch on her own experiences supporting the proliferation of women-led cinema and what those already in the industry can do to support the voices of women to be heard.
As the world begins to recognize the excellence of people of colour in the film industry, the world has begun to turn its eyes to Africa. With this in mind, producer Nadia Denton, leads the masterclass: A New Black Cinema: Pan-African, Global and Bankable. A co-producer of the BBC World Service Radio documentary, Shooting it Like a Woman, looking at the fortunes of women behind the camera in the Nigerian film industry, Nadia has also written a book The Nigerian Filmmaker’s Guide to Success: Beyond Nollywood that presents an overview of the Nigerian film industry, looking beyond Nollywood and encompassing genres such as documentary, animation and Nigerian diaspora films. Nadia will use her extensive knowledge and research on the continents unique and exponential growth will mean for the future.
Producer and screenwriter, Sean Drummond whose debut feature film Five Fingers for Marseilles has received critical acclaim, enjoyed numerous cinematic and festival releases will present a masterclass The Working Writer. This session will look at the competitive market of filmmaking drawing from his experience working on scripts on films across genres that has led him to working on Hollywood tech-scripts and represented by William Morris Endeavor and Management 360.
Mohamed Siam, filmmaker, jury member of Karlovy Vary, Göteborg Film Festivals and IDFA Bertha and Hot Docs Funds, as well as a fellow scholar and filmmaker resident in the American University in Paris will present Documenting the Unique Perspective. Telling the African story has always proved to be challenge, with many failing to accurately frame nuances that make the continent what it is. Having made documentary films that have framed the metamorphis of his country in the 21st Century, Mohamed Siam comes with a wealth of insights. Mohamed, whose feature length debut Amal opened IDFA 2017, has actively worked to tell the story of his home country from the perspective of it’s own people. The masterclass will draw on his experience and his knowledge on what it takes to really tell the stories of continent and how to do so that speaks to a global audiences
After working for almost a decade in international film sales, Themba Bhebhe has been in charge of Diversity & Inclusion at the last two editions of the European Film Market (Berlinale). At the DFM he will lead a series of think-tanks and in-depth discussions concerning diversity and decolonial approaches and models to filmmaking under title Engage @ DFM.
For the European Film Market (EFM), Themba curates and programmes a series of events on the market relevance of diversity and inclusion across the EFM’s industry platforms, with the aim to create awareness and visibility for all programmes, actions and promotions of D&I across all the Berlinale’s different entities and liaising with delegations formed by underrepresented groups. He is also one of the founding members of the Programmers of Colour Collective (POC2) that aims at creating a conversation around and working towards a more diverse and inclusive programming pool at international film festivals through research, awareness events, networking, profile raising, mentoring and shadowing.
Other notable strands in the industry programme include the launch of an intensive documentary programme titled Durban Does Docs. The programme features a dynamic local, continental and international mix of funders, filmmakers and professionals. Some of the topics to be touched on include but not limited to areas of aesthetic concerns, funding, distribution and audience development.
The Locations Africa Exhibition and Conference focuses on film locations in an effort to re-ignite efforts to position Africa as a key filming destination which has all the necessary elements for inbound productions and local film projects.
“This year’s speakers represent a range of relevant and important voices for African filmmakers, bringing with them a wealth of experience, knowledge and thought-leadership to our 10th edition,” says Toni Monty, Head of the Durban Film Office and the Durban FilmMart. “We are very excited to welcome them to the DFM, and believe that delegates will gain useful and practical insights to enable them to benchmark their work in a global and continental context.”