DFM ACCESS 2024: Durban FilmMart Institute empowers SA filmmakers

The Durban FilmMart Institute (DFMI) proudly unveils the lineup for the 3rd edition of DFM ACCESS. With substantial backing from the National Film and Video Foundation PESP funding, this initiative marks a significant step in nurturing new voices and propelling independent film projects onto the global stage.

DFM ACCESS serves as a crucial platform for entry-level producers, offering a 12-week online development program that includes weekly plenary sessions and personalized mentorship. The program’s focus spans essential aspects of filmmaking, from story development and legal considerations to financing, international co-production, distribution, and pitching strategies.

Magdalene Reddy, Director of DFMI, emphasizes the program’s integral role, stating, “DFM ACCESS has become a key part of the Durban FilmMart Institute’s programming, not only as part of the year-round offering but also connecting to the annual market hosted in July.” Reddy underscores the impact of previous DFM ACCESS participants, who have successfully secured development funding and gained entry into international markets and training programs after pitching at the annual Durban FilmMart.

The 12 selected projects, spanning documentary, fiction, and episodic categories, represent a diverse array of stories and voices. Notable entries include “AFRICA AI,” exploring artificial intelligence’s impact on the continent, and “LOVE RUNS WILD,” a project by Njabulo (Soulist De Blac) Mashinini.

At the program’s culmination, the projects will face a panel of industry professionals, who will select three standout projects to pitch officially at the 15th annual Durban FilmMart scheduled for July 19 – 22, 2024, in Durban, South Africa.

The mentorship component of DFM ACCESS further elevates the program, with seasoned industry professionals guiding the participants. Fiction projects will benefit from the expertise of Kethiwe Ngcobo, David Horler, and Neiloe Whitehead, each bringing a wealth of experience in filmmaking, production, and scriptwriting.

For documentary projects, Miki Redelinghuys and Khalid Shamis will lend their expertise. Redelinghuys, a passionate documentary filmmaker, focuses on the power of film for impact, while Shamis, a respected director and editor, has been instrumental in supporting independent documentary films.

Episodic projects will receive mentorship from Bongi Ndaba and Tracey-Lee Rainers, bringing their extensive experience in producing, directing, and story development to the table.

DFM ACCESS 2024 is made possible through the support of the National Film and Video Foundation PESP Funding, with the Durban FilmMart Institute taking the lead. The principal funder is the Durban Film Office and eThekwini Municipality.

This initiative not only propels South African filmmakers onto the global stage but also reinforces the commitment to cultivating a vibrant and diverse film industry that resonates with audiences worldwide.

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