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Cannes: 6th Durban FilmMart Edition Unveils Projects

The South African forum selects 19 feature films and docs.

Hala Elkoussy’s “Cactus Flower,” Robyn Aronstam’s “Selma and Charlize” and Karin Slater’s “Project Delight” figure among 19 feature film and documentary projects chosen to participate at the sixth Durban FilmMart, Africa’s premier film finance and co-production forum.

A joint initiative between the Durban Film Office and the Durban International Film Festival, the Durban FilmMart aims to raise the visibility of African cinema, stimulate production on the continent, and facilitate project collaboration between African filmmakers.

For its sixth edition, the Durban FilmMart has selected 10 fiction feature films and nine docu projects from a total of 120 submissions by African filmmakers.

Fiction projects include Egyptian visual artist Hala Elkoussy’s “Cactus Flower,” produced by Hossam Elouan at Cairo-based arthouse outfit Transit Films in co-production with the Netherlands’ Family Affaire and France’s Arizona Films.

A story of survival through human solidarity, “Cactus Flower” turns on a struggling theater actress, her destitute neighbor and a street-mart young man, thrown together overnight after a flood in Cairo.

South African producers Helena Spring and Junaid Ahmed will pitch at Durban film project “Selma and Charlize,” which marks the feature debut of Robyn Aronstam. A renowned producer, Spring’s credits include 2004 drama “Yesterday,” which earned the first Oscar nomination for a South African film.

Produced by Akosua Adoma Owusu at Ghana’s Obibini Pictures, P. Sam Kessie drama project “Unbalanced” centers on a middle-aged woman who gives up the chance of a career in theater to marry an agricultural tycoon.

An African Mipdoc Trailblazer award winner, Cape Town director-producer Karin Slater will pitch documentary “Project Delight,” a poetic journey into discovering herself after a near death experience.

Doc “Gold Rush,” directed by Bouna Cherif Fofana and produced by Sitou Ayite’s Togo-based Universal Grace Production, puts the focus on the people who live in African villages with gold deposits.

In “Not in My Neighbourhood,” director-producer Kurt Orderson uses a series of interviews to deep into the topics of spatial violence, post-apartheid planning and current-day gentrification, comparing Cape Town and Johannesburg to New York.

“This year, we are pleased to welcome projects from a diverse range of countries on the continent, including Ghana, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa,” said Toni Monty at the Durban Film Office. “The DFM has become an important springboard for projects that have been conceptualized by African filmmakers, to support them as the projects move from the idea to exhibition,” she added.

The sixth Durban FilmMart runs July 17-20 at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel, during the 36th edition of the Durban International Film Festival.

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