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Durban FilmMart Wraps With Award Ceremony for Top African Projects

18 fiction and documentary projects vied for honors at 9th edition

DURBAN — The 9th edition of the Durban FilmMart (DFM) closed Monday night, with an award ceremony celebrating an exciting crop of African film projects currently in development.

Toni Monty, head of the Durban Film Office and the DFM, said, “As one of the most important film industry events and film finance platforms on the continent, we are really pleased that we have grown the DFM substantially this year, with 877 delegates attending. We had over 40 countries participating this year, of which 19 were from Africa. A total number of 52 projects were pitched to potential partners, financiers, filmmakers, producers, distributors and agents during countless meetings.”

She commented: “As one of the most important film industry events and film finance platforms on the continent, we are really pleased that we have grown the DFM substantially this year, with 877 delegates attending. We had over 40 countries participating this year, of which 19 were from Africa. A total number of 52 projects were pitched to potential partners, financiers, filmmakers, producers, distributors and agents during countless meetings.”

Monty added, “The work we do at this mart supports the Durban Int’l. Film Festival and DFO’s vision to dynamically grow the industry and bring African cinema to its own people and to global platforms.”

Eighteen official DFM projects in development were presented at the finance forum, through the sponsorship of South Africa’s Industrial Development Corp. and the National Film & Video Foundation.

The following awards were presented Monday night:

The International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) gave the prize of most promising documentary project at the DFM to “Cheese Girl” (South Africa), by producers Batana Vundla and Marion Isaacsand director Milisuthando Bongela. The award comes with an opportunity to attend the IDFA Forum, one of the top gatherings for documentary filmmakers, producers, commissioning editors, funds, private financiers and other documentary filmmakers in Europe, in November.

The broadcast stream Afridocs, which airs African and international documentaries across 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa on a weekly basis, gave a €2,500 (around $2,920) award, funded by the Bertha Foundation, to “Zinder, The Seeds of Violence” (Niger), by producers Clara Vuillermoz and Ousmane Samassekou, and director Aicha Macky.

The CineMart Award, sponsored by the co-production market of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, went to the fiction project “Nyanga” (The Horn) (Zimbabwe), by producers Sue-Ellen Chitunya and Brett Michael Innes, and directed by Innes. The project will be given an opportunity to attend the Rotterdam Lab, a five-day training and networking event for producers from all over the world. “Nyanga” also received an award from publicity consultants Versfeld & Associates for the development of a press kit.

Produire au Sud, of Nantes’ Festival des 3 Continents, presented its award to the fiction film “Porta-Retrato” (Picture Frame) (Mozambique), by producers Aldino Languana and Osvaldo Lupini Bambamba, and directed by Orlando Mabasso, Jr. They’ll be given an opportunity to attend the festival’s developmental workshop program, PAS, where they will be given tools, expertise, and opportunities to develop European networks.

Videovision Entertainment awarded the best South African film project to “Snake” (South Africa), by producers Paul Egan, Stanford Gibson and Mustapha Hendricks, and director Meg Rickards. They receive a prize valued at R75,000 (around $5,570), which guarantees the movie’s release once it’s completed. The prize also includes marketing and distribution support from Videovision Entertainment.

Sørfond presented its award to “How to Steal a Country” (South Africa), by producers Rehad Desai and Zivia Desai, and director Mark Kaplan. They’ll have an opportunity to pitch at the Sørfond Pitching Forum in Oslo later this year.

The CineFAM – Africa Incubator Accelerator Program Award went to “The Summit Club” (South Africa), by Layla Swart, who will have a chance to pitch at the CaribbeanTales Film Festival in Toronto this year.

New awards this year include:

The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Award, which includes a cash prize of CAD$2000 (around $1,520), went to the documentary project “The Master’s Plan” (Cape Verde), by producer Hanne Phlypo and director Yuri Ceuninck.

The 11th Talents Durban “Talents Press” Recognition Award went to Cornelia Glele (Benin).

The Durban FilmMart Award for the Durban Talents project selected to take part in next year’s DFM went to “When Shadows Move” (South Africa), by Aliki Saragas.

Monty closed the ceremony with a special message for DIFF manager Chipo Zhou, who was recently hospitalized and unable to take part in this year’s festival and FilmMart. “Chipo, all is well, and all has gone well…and we look forward to having you back in 2019,” she said.

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