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13 August 2021 17:15

African filmmakers discuss new projects at Durban Film Market

African filmmakers discuss new projects at Durban Film Market

The program of the event consists of a number of sessions, including DFM in Conversation with TRACE Studios: The Importance of Distribution and Co-Production and SA in Focus: State of the South African Audiovisual Industry.

The first online session featured TRACE Studios Vice President Betty Sulti-Johnson and Head of Scripted Content Beverly Mitchell. They talked about the importance of content distribution, the intricacies of communicating the meaning of films and series to international audiences, and navigating international markets.

"TRACE is committed to partnering with African filmmakers and young filmmakers. We value Afrocentric content," Sulti-Johnson emphasized. As one of the largest platforms in Africa, TRACE Studios has been successful not only in creating original content, but also in bringing it to the international stage.

Another of the interviewees, Beverly Mitchell, noted that the company is looking for films about young people made by their peer directors. TRACE Studios plans to announce a contest for young filmmakers across Africa. The goal is to expand the geography of film production.

South African film and television actor Jack Denwaren participated in the second session to discuss the state of South Africa's audiovisual industry in 2021. He noted that the biggest problem in the country's film industry is unfair contracting. "Actors are freelancers, they're not protected by labor laws, and movie companies take advantage of that," he stressed.

The SA in Focus: State of the South African Audiovisual Industry session discussed, among other things, changes in the industry due to the coronavirus pandemic, their impact on the industry, and how to adapt to the current environment.

For his part, Simphiwe Ngcobo of the South African Documentary Directors Association said that during the pandemic, the organization offers some of its services for free to directors who are not members of the association. Free mentoring is vital for aspiring filmmakers, he said.

In a year of tight restrictions and strict regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film industry has been forced to rethink the way it produces and adapt to changing circumstances. According to the expert, all stages of content production, beginning with its creation and distribution, were turned upside down, which seriously affected the entire industry.


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