eThekwini Municipality’s film industry Unit, and the Durban Film Office (DFO) will attend this year’s European Film Market (EFM).

The purpose is to strengthen African and international networks, and to form partnerships and communication links for local filmmakers during this year’s iconic Berlinale International Film Festival.

The EFM, has for the past three years, hosted the Berlinale Africa Hub.

This initiative has been described as providing an international forum for communication and networking for African filmmakers and creatives, as well as for filmmakers who are active on the continent, in particular in its sub-Saharan regions.

Head of the DFO, Toni Monty explained: “The introduction of the Berlinale Africa Hub, has provided focused opportunities for African filmmakers to gather, share ideas and links globally and across the Diaspora in cementing relationships and connections vital for the development of film ideas and projects.”

The DFO is a co-partner with the Durban International Film Festival, of the Durban FilmMart, a co-production market focusing on African content for film, which takes place in the city during July. Monty will be representing the DFO and the DFM at the market, and besides showcasing of the city as a potential location for film production, will have meetings with filmmakers, as well as current and potential partners, funders and investors.

“Film markets are the place where the business of film is actioned,” said Monty. He added, “It’s all about making connections, examining opportunities, being exposed to potential funders, investors, broadcasters, agents, distributors and the likes, which play a vital role in ensuring a film goes from its initial idea to its end product.”

The panelists will reflect on current trends in cinema, television and new media in their own experiences and as conveners of key African gatherings. They will get an opportunity to unpack how international gatherings like the Africa Hub can galvanise the continent, allowing for film professionals to connect despite historical restrictions within the continent, and discuss synergies, innovations and new opportunities in Africa, and its place in the Global Cinema space.

This is one of many important panels and events planned for the Hub which includes pop-up offices, various delegation presentations, networking sessions and meetings.

“The DFO is pleased to be attending the EFM, as it plays a key role in connecting African filmmakers to their peers and to the international film arena,” says Monty.

“While our focus is on developing local filmmakers and African content, there is still a vital need to ensure that we continue to develop co-production opportunities, global distribution networks and attract investors – and that is where these markets play a pivotal role in ensuring viable connections are made.”