The film industry, like many other sectors, has been severely disrupted in this global pandemic. With no definitive end in sight, it may well be a long time before it will be business as usual. The disruption which has steered the 2020 Durban FilmMart to go online this year, has also given filmmakers an opportunity to gather in a virtual space to collaborate, plan, and discuss a way forward.
Special Focus, African Content in the New Normal is one of the thematic strands presented at this year’s DFM which takes place from 4 to 13 September. Speakers will discuss the challenges that national lockdowns present and the unique opportunities that these circumstances have offered filmmakers.
Topics and issues that will be covered include Co-production in the New Normal, Homegrown Online Platforms for pan-African Content, Risk Under Covid and After Covid – Future Prospects for the Service Industry.
The Co-production in the New Normal panel includes Steven Markowitz, award-winning producer and CEO of Cape-Town based Big World Cinema, and Victoria Thomas, BAFTA-nominated producer and founder/director of The Polkadot Factory in Scotland amongst others.
With the shared global experience, this panel will look at the effects of the pandemic on current and future co-productions.
The digital space is becoming a more critical monetization option for filmmaking. In the panel, Homegrown Online Platforms for Pan-African Content delegates can engage with thought-leaders and players who are growing the digital and VOD space. DeShuna Spencer, co-founder and CEO of Kweli.tv, the Washington (DC) US-based streaming service which spotlights global Black stories, Wilfred Kiumi founding Director of vumicentral.com a multimedia entertainment platform out of Kenya and Tigist Kebede of Habesha View, the Ethiopian-based multimedia platform will discuss the outlook for pan-African content.
Risk Under Covid unpacks the adjustments filmmakers are having to make under new conditions as they adapt to a new landscape. The panel introduces South African production risk management experts Denise Hattingh owner of KEU Underwriters which specialises in the entertainment industry and Moroba Nkawe of Maru Film Services, a film completion guarantee company.
In the panel After Covid – Future prospects for the Service Industry, Genevieve Hofmeyr MD and Producer of Moonlighting Film Production Services, Silondile Jali, Content and Comms lead at advertising agency TBWA and Amanda Dlamini Producer of BlackCoffeeFilms relate experiences, lessons, and plans going forward in the film servicing industries.
Bringing the focus to South Africa, the NFVF will host a panel Mzansi Shooting in COVID Times with filmmaker Miki Redelinghuys from the Documentary Filmmakers Association, and member of Cape Town CBD-CAN Video team, Thabang Moleya Producer of Seriti TV, and Mmamiste Thibedi Executive Producer of the highly successful South African soapie, uZalo.
“This element of the programme is a very important one for filmmakers in Africa. With such a severe disruption to our industry, it is vital that we work together to find solutions for the survival and development of African film content,” says Toni Monty, Head of the DFM. “There is no doubt about it: the “new normal” is not going to go away too soon, and we need to collaborate, adapt, and find workable and viable solutions. The DFM 2020 allows filmmakers to unpack, discuss, and plot new ways of going forward to the benefit of all and for the future development of our markets in Africa.”