The Durban FilmMart, the joint programme of the Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), has added the Sørfond Norwegian South Film Fund to its roster of strategic partners for its 7th edition, which runs from 17-20 June. As part of the partnership, Sørfond will provide a new DFM award which will give the selected project the opportunity to pitch at the Sørfond Pitching Forum in Oslo later this year. The main objective of Sørfond is to increase film production in countries where filmmakers face political or economic restraints.
The Pitching Forum is held every year in October during the Films from the South Festival in Oslo. The event gives international producers from countries in the South the chance to present their projects to potential Norwegian co-producers, with the aim of entering into a co-production agreement and applying for further support from Sørfond. The DFM award consists of a confirmed seat at the pitching forum, a pitch course, coverage of hotel and meals, and a substantial contribution towards travel expenses.
"Since its first round of grants in 2012, Sørfond has become an increasingly important player in the tough market of co-financing film productions beyond the western hemisphere,” said Lasse Skagen, artistic director of Sørfond. “Through engaging in a new co-operation with Durban FilmMart in 2016, giving a seat to an emerging African director at the pitching forum in October, and promoting the possibility of Sørfond funding at the market, we hope to increase the presence of African applicants in the 2017 round of Sørfond grants. We are very grateful to Durban FilmMart for giving us this opportunity to join forces with one of the most prestigious film markets on the African continent."
Although the partnership with DFM only kicks off this year, the fund has already established a link to DFM. Last year Durban-based Vuleka Productions was selected to pitch at the forum with their project Hhola Hhola, which was selected as a DFM project in 2014. Vuleka producer, Julie Frederikse, spoke enthusiastically about the forum. "Being selected to participate in the Sørfond Pitching Panel in Norway was a tremendously valuable experience. The calibre of the projects and producers was very high. The coaching sessions to prepare for pitching were really helpful. And it was extremely rewarding to interact with producers and directors from other countries who face the same kinds of challenges in making authentic local feature films that we do in South Africa."
The DFO's Toni Monty said she was excited about the newly established relationship with Sørfond. “This new partnership further extends the reach of the Durban FilmMart and will no doubt help to stimulate further development of the rapidly growing film industry on the African continent.”
To register for DFM and to find out more about the delegate registration process, visit the official website at www.durbanfilmmart.co.za. An Early Bird registration discount for the 4-day event is available to delegates who book before 30 May at a cost of R1 485, which includes access to allocated sessions, a daily luncheon, DFM networking events, entrance into festival screenings (subject to ticket availability), listing in the DFM Industry Manual, and access to Masterclasses and the Africa in Focus programme. After 30 May 2016, the cost is R2035. Daily passes to the event cost R605. (This does not include tickets to the DIFF screenings or access into the opening and closing events.)