Two women filmmakers will be in the spotlight as part of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZNFC) activities at the upcoming Cannes Film Market.

KZNFC had issued an open call to the industry inviting emerging filmmakers to form part of the Cannes delegation and Bonita Sithebe and Sithabile Mkhize were selected out of several applications received.

Written and directed by Sithebe, “The Valley of a Thousand Hills” tells the story of a young woman from a conservative village, who must choose between living a lie to stay the perfect Zulu daughter or risk death for true love. The film is produced by Philane Sithebe and stars Mandisa Vilakazi and Sbongokuhle Nkosi.

Satire “God’s Work,” produced by Mkhize, tells the story of four homeless friends who are caught between escaping their hardships and being swallowed up in the process. It is written and directed by Michael James, with Toni Monty as the executive producer. Both films will be showcases at the market.

Jackie Motsepe, KZNFC chief operations officer, said: “As per our strategic goals of empowering the youth and woman in the industry in the telling of their stories, Ms. Sithebe and Ms. Mkhize’s projects stood out, and we are confident that they will achieve the objectives they have set in attending the festival.”

KZNFC, which will be located at the Pavilion Afrique during the festival, is aiming to promote local content, maintain and build relationships with key industry players through business-to-business meetings, identify opportunities for the sale and distribution of content, as well as participate in industry panels.

The African Film Commission panel discussion on May 19, hosted by KZNFC, will explore the topic “Strategic Interventions for African Film Commissions: How Networks and the Current Progressive Trade Landscape Will Grow the African Film Economy.” The session will be moderated by Azania Muendane with panel members Firdoze Bulbulia from South Africa – Film Commissions Network, Ama Tutu Muna from Cameroon – Central Africa policy, Motsepe – South Africa film policy and Timothy Owase – CEO KFC from Kenya – East Africa policy.

The KZNFC will also host a presentation highlighting the KwaZulu-Natal, led by acting CEO Mr. Victor Senna, on May 21. And on May 23, KZNFC, represented by Motsepe, will participate in the U.K. Global Screen Fund panel, which will explore the South Africa/U.K. co-production “Stolen.” The film is set to commence principal photography in London and resume production in Durban, South Africa in July 2022.