A delegation of Barbadian film entrepreneurs recently returned home from the 35th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) in South Africa, with bright prospects for penetrating new and untapped market segments in that region.
Led by Senior Business Development Officer at the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation (BIDC), Mr. Modou Diagne, the group comprised the Director of the short movie ???Auntie???, Lisa Harewood; the Director of ???Chrissy???, Marcia Weekes; the Producer of ???Two Smart???, Shakirah Bourne; the Assistant Director and Producer of the movie ???Keeping Up with the Joneses???, Chantelle Evelyn, and the President of the Barbados Film and Video Association, Lynnette Eastmond.
The group???s participation in the July 17-27, event was made possible through funding from the Caribbean Export???s Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) under the 10th Economic Development Fund (EDF).
The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) is an annual event which takes place in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. It is one of the oldest (35th edition in 2014, created in 1979), and largest film festival in Southern Africa and presents over 200 screenings celebrating the best in South African, African and international cinema.
The festival also offers filmmaker workshops, industry seminars, discussion forums, and outreach activities, including Talent Campus Durban in association with the Berlin Film Festival and a Durban FilmMart co-production market.
DIFF contributes to skills transfer and industry development and draws on the knowledge, skills and insights of a range of industry experts and filmmakers from the Pan-African film industry. The largest of Southern Africa’s film festivals and the most important film festival in Africa, DIFF hosts a film competition component and also presents screenings in township areas where cinemas are non-existent.
The primary goals of the BIDC in facilitating this delegation were to: assess the market potential for Caribbean material in the African marketplace and gain insight into the African film industry and the operations of the DIFF Film Mart; provide local film industry practitioners with an opportunity to network with global counterparts, audio visual executives and film industry specialists with a view to building strategic alliances which could result in distribution, shooting/recording, collaboration opportunities and film festival participations; and enable joint ventures and linkages with African film makers seeking partners in the Caribbean while raising the profile of Barbados in the international market.
It is also hoped that the event would create promotional opportunities, increase visibility and gain international exposure for professional services in the audio-visual industry and improve Barbados??? global market reach, while facilitating the earning of foreign exchange through digital and TV distribution deals at the event???s FilmMart for Barbadian audio-visual products and services.
Participants in the festival gained a good understanding of the digital distribution in Africa, specifically through interactions with some of the delegates present at the festival from the digital distribution platforms AfriNolly, Kollide TV and Buni TV.
They were also able to forge relationships with influential personalities in the African film industry and establish relations for distribution through Film Festivals such as the London Film Festival, the Radio Film, Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival, the Zimbabwe International Film Festival and the Durban International Film Festival.
Barbadian films are currently being considered by the largest station in South Africa, (South Africa Broadcasting) for acquisition. A workshop is being organised to share the DIFF experience and the contacts established with the wider Barbadian film and video industry stakeholders.