Monday, May 20, 2024

Durban FilmMart celebrates 30 years of democracy in South Africa

~ DFM harnessing the power of cinema for transformation under the theme “African Visions Unleashed: From Disruption to Accountability” ~

The Durban FilmMart Institute (DFMI) presents the 15th edition of its flagship event, Durban FilmMart (DFM), under the theme “African Visions Unleashed: From Disruption to Accountability,” which will take place in Durban from 19-22 July 2024. As South Africa celebrates 30 years of democracy this year, the Durban FilmMart 2024 edition embraces three decades of legacy and transformation. DFM has been instrumental in shaping discussions about the South African film industry, and over its 15-year existence, it has fostered a symbiotic relationship between filmmakers and the wider industry. Promoting 30 years of democracy, the DFM 2024 programme will feature a series of “SA In Focus” sessions, as well as the DFM Access Programme, exploring the South African film industry’s development, challenges, and aspirations.

As Magdalene Reddy, Director of the Durban FilmMart Institute, expresses, “Celebrating 30 years of democracy in South Africa at DFM means reflecting on the multiplicity of opportunities our democracy has created for local filmmakers. As we look back on the progress made – from creativity and resilience to strategic thinking – our democracy has not only provided access to platforms but has also opened doors to diverse storytelling, enabling filmmakers to tackle bold and disruptive narratives. This year’s “SA In Focus” programme illustrates the amazing industry access availability to South African filmmakers by highlighting key industry bodies that have shaped our cinematic landscape. Looking forward, we aim to foster an industry that is more inclusive, diverse, and globally competitive. Our democracy has given us a stage, and it is up to us to fill it with stories that resonate, challenge, and inspire.”

SA in Focus Sessions at DFM: The State of the South African Audio-Visual Industry
The event’s “SA In Focus” programme starts with a comprehensive look at the state of the South African audio-visual industry. This panel will assess initiatives by film commissions and key industry institutions that continue to shape South Africa as a pillar of the global film industry. By bringing together representatives from different facets of the industry, the discussion aims to provide a holistic understanding of the current landscape while exploring strategies to foster growth and innovation.

Regulating The Production Sector – A Roadmap to Fair Working Conditions
Amid a dynamic and creative production environment, the Film/TV production sector remains largely unregulated. The panel led by the South African Guild of Actors (SAGA) will tackle this issue head-on, focusing on a roadmap to establish fair working conditions across the production sector. Technical crew, writers, editors, and background actors all play a crucial role in production, yet remain vulnerable to exploitative working conditions and pay rates. This session seeks to explore viable solutions to ensure fair treatment and sustainable livelihoods for all creative practitioners.

The Business of Storytelling: Envisioning a New African Business Model
Navigating the business side of storytelling is essential in the ever-changing film and television production landscape. This panel, hosted by the Writers Guild of South Africa (WGSA), will delve into the business of storytelling, focusing on envisioning a new African business model. As many writers find themselves wearing multiple hats (writer/producer, writer/director, writer/showrunner), they must balance creativity with business acumen. Panelilsts will discuss strategies for choosing the right platform, whether traditional broadcasting, streaming, or digital, and ensuring writers are not excluded from revenue sharing in their projects.

30 Years and Counting: The Evolution of Women’s Portrayal on Screen
Presented in partnership with Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT), this panel will explore the journey of women’s representation in film and television over the past 30 years. From early portrayals to contemporary progress and challenges, the discussion will highlight the role of film and TV in shaping perceptions of gender and identity while emphasising ongoing efforts toward greater inclusivity and representation.

Growth Strategies for the Animation Industries of the African Continent
The animation industry is gaining momentum across Africa. This panel, led by Animation SA, brings together industry representatives to discuss regional and continental growth strategies. Properly implemented growth strategies are vital in identifying enablers, mitigating risks, and ensuring return on investment. Social responsibility remains critical, as marginalised communities must also benefit from these strategies to participate in the animation industry.

Harnessing Cultural Diversity for International Distribution
South Africa’s rich cultural diversity presents a unique opportunity to showcase diverse narratives on a global stage. This panel, led by the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO), will explore the strategies, challenges, and successes involved in international distribution while embracing the representation of South African culture. Representatives from leading production companies, distribution agencies, and film commissions will share insights into global market trends, audience preferences, and the role of cultural authenticity in international reception.

Actionable Futures: Crafting a Roadmap for Accessible Archives in South Africa
Presented in partnership with the Documentary Filmmakers Association (DFA), this panel is the final installment of a 3-part series spanning the Joburg Film Festival and Encounters. It will tackle the critical challenges and aspirations confronting the South African documentary film community, focusing on the hurdles of obtaining archival material. By bringing together key stakeholders, the session aims to foster dialogue and develop solutions that will ensure accessible and affordable archive usage.

The Last 30 Years: Pioneers and Disruptors & The Way Forward
Reflecting on the last 30 years of democracy and our audiovisual industry, this panel by the Independent Black Filmmakers Collective (IBFC) will offer insights into the ideas and actions that propel the industry forward. With a conversation centred around creativity, transformation, and the importance of cultural and creative industries, the discussion will explore the IBFC’s role in nurturing the next generation of filmmakers and what the next 30 years hold.

Looking forward, DFM 2024 will emphasise opportunities and accountability in the South African film industry, ensuring that filmmakers can utilise a diverse range of resources and networks. The programme builds on previous themes like “African Constellations” (2023) and “Revolution/Evolution: Changing the Narrative” (2022), which both explored the expansive potential of African cinema and its capacity to thrive globally.

Early Bird registration for participation is now open until 31 May. For more information and to register, please visit our website:      

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