The 12th Durban FilmMart (DFM) takes place virtually from July 16 to 25 after its call for submissions of film projects in development closed February 21.

“Given there is no absolute clarity on what the global situation will be with the Covid-19 pandemic in the foreseeable future, the DFM Institute board has taken a decision to implement a virtual DFM for 2021 following on the success of the 2020 DFM,” said Magdalene Reddy, acting general manager of the Durban FilmMart Institute.

“Yes, we would love to work, network and engage with filmmakers in a physical format, but need to proceed with some level of caution in continuing to service our mandate of developing African film content, and ensuring everyone’s safety whilst doing so,” Ms Reddy added.

Pitching forum

DFM is a meeting point of filmmakers and thought leaders, film funders, festival programmers, agents, buyers, and distributors. Also featured is a finance and pitching forum which, in 2020, saw 80 film projects connect with possible markets, partners and funders.

“It’s a robust and dynamic market that from which countless film projects reach screen festivals,” said Reddy.

Some of the successful projects that had their beginnings at the DFM and officially selected as submissions for the 2021 Academy Awards are Lift like a girl (Egypt), directed by Mayye Zayed, This is not a burial, it’s a resurrection (Lesotho), directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, You will die at 20 (Sudan), directed by Amjad Abu Alala, and Softie (Kenya), directed by Sam Soko.

Fifteen feature-length documentary and 15 fiction projects will be selected by a DFM independent adjudication committee for the pitching forum, where the director and producer will participate in a packaging and mentorship programme. This will be followed by one-on-one meetings with international film financiers, buyers, and distributors.

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