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April 8th, 2012, 06:07 PM
Interesting new series based around Durban.
Sonar & Ecosse Partner for New Series
By Marissa Graziadio
Published: April 3, 2012
CANNES, April 3: Sonar Entertainment is working with acclaimed British production outfit Ecosse Films to develop and produce the new action-adventure series Quartermain.
Quartermain is based on stories by Victorian-era author H. Rider Haggard. The series is about Allan Quatermain, a rugged expedition leader based in the wild port of Durban, who is approached by a wealthy German noble and the daughter of a U.S. governor to help find a missing person. Douglas Rae, the founder, managing director and executive producer at Ecosse Films, will executive produce the project.
“Allan Quatermain is one of the greatest adventure heroes in all of literature,” said Stewart Till, the CEO of Sonar Entertainment. “In the years since his introduction, he has subsequently inspired many hugely successful characters and franchises, including the Indiana Jones series. We are extremely excited about this opportunity to partner with Ecosse as we introduce Quatermain to a new generation and bring his timeless exploits into the 21st century.”
“We are delighted to be developing this ambitious new international series with such an experienced and inspiring company as Sonar Entertainment,” added Rae. “Quatermain has huge potential for an international audience.”
May 14th, 2012, 05:06 PM
Durban could be Africa's premier film destination
The arguments and debates around the sale of the beachfront site aside, an examination of what this could mean to the City from industry development and tourism perspective, is very encouraging.
In my line of work as a communication consultant, I am acutely aware that the rest of the country has little faith and belief in Durban's ability to "pull things off" and it seems that the internal struggles we have constantly slow things down - the Point Development being an example of this. The rest of the country is often completely oblivious to the rich and vibrant cultural life of Durban as well. That is not through exposure, there is simply a perception that Durban is not as significant as Johannesburg and Cape Town. However those of us involved in the cultural life of the City know and understand the important role we play and the potential we have as a city to stake our claim in some of these fields. One of which is the film industry.
It seems like the debate in the media about the Durban Film Studio has, up until recently, been a little one-sided, and it is refreshing that Anant Singh has finally began to be more vocal about the vision and the dream of the studio.
As I understand it, the vision is to create a state of the art working environment complete with soundstages, in which local and international films can be created. Alongside this would be a studio set up similar to Universal Studios which would include coffee shops and restaurants, as a public and tourist attraction. If, at any point Mr Singh deviates from the provisions set out in the sale agreement with the City, the sale would have to be renegotiated.
I also understand that the city is not putting any money into the development, this would be through private and other investors, so it is not going to cost the ratepayers. And as with the Cape Town Film Studio, which is already attracting some significant productions, the Durban Studio has the potential to draw in major local and global industry players and this can only be good for our economy.
Those in the know - talk about the film industry "wanting" to make film in Durban, but are forced to go to Cape and Johannesburg because the infrastructure is there. Durban and KwaZulu Natal offers film-makers an ideal climate in which to film, locations aplenty from tropical beaches, jungles and forest, to wild open savannahs, mountain ranges, good weather, a mix of culturally diverse extras, and.. it's less expensive than the rest of the country.
This coupled with the incredible growth seen by the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) which is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) and is now in its 33rd year, could also play a vital role in positioning this City as the premier film destination in Africa. The festival, which has principal funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, drew audiences of about 30000 and can truly claim to be the flagship film festival in South Africa. It is certainly the largest and being the longest-running, has a respected history with other film festivals and industry players around the world, seen clearly in the many partnerships they have with major international festivals.
Furthermore, recent innovations such as the Durban FilmMart, a co-production market and film financing initiative organised by DIFF and the Durban Film Office during the film festival, has enabled the industry's national focus to shift to Durban and we are seeing huge growth in attendance and interest here. The FilmMart includes a Finance Forum which provides selected African film-makers with the opportunity to pitch film projects to leading financiers, alongside masterclasses and industry networking opportunities.
The DIFF's Talent Campus Durban, in conjunction with the Berlin Film Festival, sees 50 African film industry players descend on the city to spend five days in workshops, training and seminars. Both these features of the DIFF further spreads the City's reach within the global industry, and on our own continent.
On a national level, government has acknowledged the importance of film is not only as a viable cog in our economic wheel but also for its role in telling our own African stories. At the opening of the Cape Winelands Film festival in March, the Minister of Arts & Culture Paul Mashatile said "We will continue to create platforms for our film practitioners to collaborate and work together, learn from each other and exchange ideas as they together develop the industry and build for themselves sustainable livelihoods." He also acknowledged that the festival is "a platform through which South African Film and film in general can be developed and promoted domestically and internationally.
It is a platform that will strengthen efforts to build a South African film industry that mirrors the ideals of our nation and an industry that produces films that are global, yet distinctly South African."
He urged the private sector and the film fraternity in general to partner with government and other institutions such as the National Film and Video Foundation to lead to "expanded participation in the film industry and create more jobs and more economic opportunities across our society.’
The DIFF has the potential to grow into something really big for the City. Last year the media coverage garnered nationally by the festival was in excess of R24 million (with a circulation value of R350 million) and it continues to expand with more and more TV channels, radio and print media wanting to attend and cover the event. We have the potential to be the Cannes of Africa. We just need the will.
The thought of respected international film-maker Anant Singh, leading us on this journey, with achievable goals, is enormously encouraging, and I would urge the City - its office-bearers, businesses and citizens - to get behind this as we will reap the benefits.
Sharlene Versfeld is a communication consultant based in Durban. The DIFF is one of her clients
May 14th, 2012, 08:28 PM
Very good article. Thanks for posting.
August 3rd, 2012, 09:12 AM
New AFDA campus in Durban
Thu, 02 Aug 2012 16:45
South African film, TV and performance school AFDA has announced the launch of their Durban campus, which was celebrated at the 33rd Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) on 26 July.
Since AFDA student films have screened at DIFF for numerous years, it was decided that the event would be held to coincide with the festival at the Blue Waters Hotel – the main festival hub.
Says CEO Bata Passchier: “The AFDA programme aims to bring to Durban a tertiary education that is designed for the new millennium. AFDA’s learning facilities and equipment are aligned to relevant technological developments enabling our students to achieve their learning goals, which are in turn in alignment with relevant market trends. Ultimately the learning value is sustained through the connectivity of the multi-faceted network involved in the programme’s process.”
AFDA alumni include Danie Bester (producer of the Bakgat movies), Gugulethu Zuma of Isidingo fame, Diaan Lawrenson of 7de Laan fame, Emmy-award winner Emma Eunson, Bouffant director Dean Blumberg, Trevor Calvery (DOP of Material), Vickus Strijdom (director of Zama Zama) and Adze Ugah (director of Gog’Helen) to name only a few. Many AFDA student films travel to international film festivals, picking up award nominations and numerous wins through the years, one of which being the Foreign Student Academy Award in 2006 for the Honours short film, Elaleni. This year, nine of the short films at the 33rd Durban International Film Festival were AFDA student films.
The Durban campus launch hosted a number of guests including local filmmakers and key players in the industry, AFDA alumni, teachers from various Durban and midlands schools and prospective students and parents. Chairman and co-founder Garth Holmes says: “The Durban KZN axis is critical for providing the region with an international standard of learning. An international standard that is capable of producing the intellectual, aesthetic, conceptual, attitudinal and technical skills required to create the necessary commercial platforms to evoke Durban’s unique cultural voice.”
The new campus will be situated in Glen Anil at 2a Highdale Road which is in the Durban North and La Lucia region. Open days will be held at the campus on 18 August 2012 and 6 October 2012.
Any enquiries about AFDA Durban can be directed to Durban-based Marketing Officer Milena Gevers (email@example.com/ 079 833 1682).
December 20th, 2012, 03:21 PM
SA sci-fi film ‘Coded’ produces delirious promo in Durban
by Ailsa Windsor
20 December 2012
Earlier this week, Origin - one of Durban’s most popular night clubs, pumped as cast and crew of the new South African sci-fi film ‘Coded’ invaded the area with “audio-induced” delirious dancers taking to the floor to shoot a promo
As smoke invaded every crevice of Origin’s bar area, coloured strobes infiltrated the haze and dancers ‘bopped’ to the music in heads… and that is really the premise of the movie ‘Coded’ where, according Gavin Humphrey who wrote the imaginative script, “New subliminal advertising technology has heralded the rise of sinister corporations that carry out mass surveillance on consumers; tracking their every move, collecting, collating and analysing their data.
“Subtek, is on the forefront of this commercial revolution, using a secretive pattern recognition technology they have created “The Grid”, a network of key social influencers, bloggers, media personalities and event promoters, all tagged with sub-harmonic technology that allows them to be tracked and ultimately controlled. Key to Subtek's master plan is the shifting craze, an underground party scene, where shifters use audio narcotics to achieve altered states. Dayne is a notorious shifter and designer of digital drugs and a key node on the Grid. Plagued by tone deafness and which he feels prevents him from mastering the art of audio design, Dayne isn’t about to be a pawn in anyone’s game.”
“Coded has three different types of revolution,” explains Executive Producer, Anthony Stonefield. “A movie storyline describing free citizens revolting against consumerist enslavement, the pioneering usage of wrap-around (3D) audio within a feature film, and, the manner in which the audience will “plug into” the movie—using an internet connection and earphones—and become immersed within its medium.”
“The movie will be brought to audiences where technology first-adopters have already moved: to a private video-on-demand environment on PCs, tablets and smartphones connected to the Internet, in addition to traditional four-wall movie theatres.
“New generations will spend increasing proportions of their lives in ever more immersive, networked and interactive media environments—both seductive and useful,” adds Stonefield. “This course of human evolution is inevitable. The critical unknown is to what extent our children will become masters or slaves of such artificial reality. Whoever controls the Grid controls reality itself.
“In the real world, this mass social experiment in neurochemistry has already begun. CODED casts a light on the types of moral and emotional swings and balances that increasingly characterize the live of the internet-worked generation. It is a reflective movie for a modern generation whose reality is already shattered and up for grabs.”
“Coded is a project we have seen grow from strength to strength over the past few years.” Says Toni Monty, Head of the Durban Film Office. “It is an exciting and innovative new story that is sure to take the SA youth market and the world by storm. I am very proud that this project has been born in Durban by Durban, and cannot wait to experience it on the big screen. This new concept of filmmaking goes hand in hand with the Durban Film Office's objective to establish Durban as a digital innovation hub and will stand testament to the awesome opportunities that new technologies offer to the world of filmmaking. Congratulations to the creative team for their perseverance in bringing this story to life.”
Coded is co-directed by award-winning Durban-based film-maker Richard Green and Matt Nefdt. Green, who is well-known for his work on films such as ‘District 9’, ‘Spud’ and more recently with ‘The Long Walk to Freedom’, is also one of the producers.
Pre-production is scheduled for the second half of 2013 with principal filming taking place around August/September 2013.
For more info go to http://codedmovie.tumblr.com/
January 14th, 2013, 02:16 PM
Good start to the year for Durban's film industry, with FilmMart grants being awarded, AFDA's Durban campus opening, and more movies to be shot lined up for 2013...
Durban stays in picture with film-makers
January 11 2013 at 11:58am
By Valencia Govindasamy
Last year was an excellent year in terms of the film sector in Durban and by the looks of it 2013 is just as promising, according to Toni Monty, the acting chief executive officer at the Durban Film Office.
Some of the highlights for the office last year include Moonlighting Films Production’s Mary and Martha starring Hillary Swank and Zinebar Production’s Layla Fourie with Rayna Campbell.
Monty said last year that 20 TV series, five feature films and 18 documentaries – among other projects – were filmed in Durban.
“The region has celebrated significant progress over the past years with a steady increase in production activity and a well established approach to facilitating film production in the city, earning Durban a strong reputation as one of the most ‘film-friendly’ cities in the country.
“A wide range of projects are filmed in the city throughout the year, including local and international television commercials, feature-length Hollywood and Bollywood productions and documentaries.”
Prospects for 2013 also look positive. “Business in the global, national and local industry has slowed down as a result of the global economic slowdown, but Durban has been host to a number of film and commercial projects this year and we are expecting activity to pick up in 2013 with some interesting projects in the pipeline. In addition, Durban’s many advantages, including the favourable cost of filming in the city, may well make the city a first choice for film-makers watching their budgets.”
Asked about the contribution to the local economy through business deals struck in the industry for the region, Monty said: “The role of the Durban Film Office is to support the creation of an economically viable film sector in Durban. Our One Stop Information and Permit Office has so far facilitated more than 300 international feature film and commercial productions since 2003… We will also be launching… programmes in 2013 that will look at supporting emerging producers in Durban.”
Commenting on job creation and the impact that the film office has had, she said: “Facilitating film production (here) provides an opportunity to showcase our city’s locations and people to the global communities as well as employing local people and booking of hotel beds, caterers, vehicles, equipment etc.
“Statistics estimate that the industry employs 19 000 work days a year, (most of which is) fixed-term employment on a per-project basis.”
January 14th, 2013, 02:17 PM
AFDA announces staff for Durban campus
Mon, 14 Jan 2013 14:36
AFDA, the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance, has opened its third campus in Glen Anil in Durban. The school’s academic year starts on 4 February 2013 and AFDA has announced the newly appointed staff members.
Award-winning playwright, director and actor Rajesh Gopie will head up the Live Performance School, while award-winning film director and producer Richard Green is in charge of the Film School. Green has been involved in several well-known films such as Spud, District 9, Otelo Burning and Anant Singh’s Long Walk to Freedom, currently in post-production.
Janet van Eeden, who has won awards as a scriptwriter, has been appointed as head of academic coursework and assessment.
Experienced producer and filmmaker Franco Human, who currently heads the producing department of AFDA Cape Town, is the new dean of the Durban campus. He has produced short films, theatre music productions and celebrity campaigns, among other projects.
Other key staff members are Sam Kelly (production design lecturer), Jessica Singh (co-Ordinator and administrative assistant) and Damien Tomaselli and Stuart Strydom.
Contact Milena Gevers on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or call 031 569 2252.
January 14th, 2013, 02:17 PM
Durban FilmMart participants receive prestigious grants
Thu, 10 Jan 2013 14:19
Four projects of some of the participants of Durban FilmMart (DFM) 2011 and 2012, Nadine Salib, Mayenzeke Baza, Riaan Hendricks and Eddie Edwards have been chosen to receive grants (out of eight projects in total) in the second round of the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund, co-ordinated by the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.
Funding was granted to the following DFM projects:
Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund Development Grant has been awarded to Mother of the Unborn (Egypt). This is a tale of a neglected world located in the remote land of Upper Egypt, told through the eyes of barren women yearning to conceive. With director Nadine Salib and co-producers Hala Lotfi and Fawzi Saleh.
Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Production Grant has been awarded to Ndiyindoda/I am a Man (South Africa), which explores the complexities of male initiation rituals in South Africa and whether it is still relevant in modern society. Directed and produced by Mayenzeke Baza.
Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Completion Grant has been awarded to The Devil’s Lair (South Africa), directed by Riaan Hendricks and produced by Neil Brandt. The Devil’s Lair follows a former murder convict and current Cape Flats gang leader as he comes to terms with life-changing choices. He confronts his violent past in a troubled community and must decide what is best for his young family, while leading his men through a deadly drug turf war.
Rollaball (South Africa) is a feature-length documentary about Ghana’s skate soccer team who are all polio survivors. They play a skateboard-inspired version of soccer adapted to suit their disabilities. Rollaball is directed by Eddie Edwards and produced by Steven Markovitz.
The fund provides grantees with travel, accommodation and accreditation support to attend the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Filmmakers Lab.
Durban Film Office’s Toni Monty says, “This is testament that Africa is endowed with a wealth of artistic talent and has stories to be told in film that are exclusive, unique and has cultural diversity. The DFM is the right platform for artists to network, for them to meet new potential sponsors to raise money for films and documentaries”.
Call for submissions to the 4th Durban FilmMart is now open, and filmmakers are encouraged to submit their film project material early. The closing date for Durban FilmMart project submissions is 15 February 2013.
DFM is fast becoming one of the most important meeting places on the African continent for African Filmmakers to connect with the global markets and takes place in Durban from 19 to 22 July 2013, alongside the 34th Durban International Film Festival from 18 to 28 July 2013.
For more information on the Durban FilmMart and to submit projects please visit www.durbanfilmmart.com
Please check that submissions has been received or resend it to email@example.com
The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund is a grant programme that provides financial support to African documentary filmmakers for development and production. The $1 million fund was created to enable more African documentary filmmakers to tell their stories and contribute to a new generation of the African documentary community.
Additional information obtained from www.hotdocs.ca
February 18th, 2013, 03:16 PM
AFDA Durban hosts Open Day
AFDA (The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance) Durban will host an Open Day on Saturday, 2 March from 10am to 12noon.
This is the third AFDA campus to open in South Africa and was officially opened by Mayor of eThekwini Cllr James Nxumalo on February 11 with an enrolment of 63 students.
The AFDA Durban Campus is situated in Glen Anil, Durban North, and boasts a strong line-up academic staff drawn from the film and live performance industries. Franco Human, an experienced producer and film maker, is Dean, with film-maker Richard Green Head of the Film School, director, actor and playwright Rajesh Gopie, Head of the Live Performance School, and scriptwriter and film-maker Janet van Eeden, as production course administrator and script writing lecturer.
At the open day students will be shown around the warship-themed campus, given introductions to the curriculum and course work and on how to apply and there will be a chance to discuss potential job opportunities and career options in entertainment. There will also be an opportunity to view students’ films and to meet and chat to current and past students.
Prospective students can contact Durban-based Marketing Officer, Milena Gevers, for more information on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 031 569 2252. For more info about the school go to www.afda.co.za
Issued on behalf of AFDA by:
Sharlene Versfeld / Nolwazi Magwaza (intern)
Versfeld & Associates
031 811 5628
083 326 3235
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: http://www.afda.co.za
March 19th, 2013, 04:16 AM
The Durban/Bollywood tie up keeps getting stronger, this bodes well
Bollywood stars arrive in Durban this week for Saifta
Durban will be in the spotlight this week as at least 10 Bollywood stars jet in from Mumbai, India, for the launch of Saifta, The South Africa India Film and Television Awards, taking place at the Durban ICC on Friday.
The Saifta launch has the backing of the KwaZulu-Natal department of economic development and tourism, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal and East Coast Radio.
The stars, who started arriving at King Shaka Airport yesterday, are Farah Khan, Indian film director, actress and choreographer, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sri Lankan model, Bollywood actress, Shipla Shirodka, Indian film actress and model, Richda Chadda, award-winning film and theatre actress, Hard Kaur, British Indian film actress and model, Anusha Dandekar, TV personality, Dia Mirza, Indian model and Bollywood actress, Raveena Tandon and Rakshanda Khan.
The gala launch for 800 people is designed to give dignitaries, film and television luminaries and the media, a taste of what the big Saifta awards evening will hold at the Durban ICC on September 6.
The event will showcase an intriguing fusion of South African and Indian talent, including a massive dance production, directed by Slum Dog Millionaires co-choreographer, Geeta Kapoor.
The fashion show and installations will feature collaborations between Indian and South African designers.
There is a stellar line-up of judges for the South Africa Film and Television awards in September.
They include South Africans Welcome Msomi, KZN Film Commission, Linda Bukhosini, CEO of Playhouse Company, Leleti Khumalo, actress and radio announcer, Caroline Smart, Living Legend Award-winner and Peter Rorvik, former director of the Durban International Film Festival and the Centre for Creative Arts.
Judges from India will include Farah Khan, Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani, Mr Mukesh Bhatt and Mr Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra.
Saifta director, Kedhar Gawde of Mumbai-based Celebrity Locker Entertainment, said : “Saifta brings good news to the local film and television industry, providing an exciting new cross-cultural exchange between the two countries in entertainment, talent, technical expertise and film locations to some of India’s biggest film producers and directors.”
March 26th, 2013, 02:16 PM
Film, TV glitz hits Durban
March 24 2013 at 12:36pm
By VERUSCHKA MUNGROO
Durban - The launch of the South Africa India Film and Television Awards (Saifta) at the ICC on Friday was an occasion of glitz and glamour.
Indian celebrities who had come for the event included Bollywood actresses Raveena Tandon, Jacqueline Fernandez, Dia Mirza, Riccha Chadda and Shipla Shirodka, TV actress Anusha Dandekar, dance choreographers Farah Khan and Geeta Kapur, and the first Indian female rapper, Hard Kaur.
Local guests were Leleti Khumalo, Isidingo actor Maurice Paige, fashion designers Haroun Hansrot, David Tlale, Calypso Group owner Sadha Naidoo, eThekwini speaker Logie Naidoo, Mr South Africa Andrew Govender, as well as Avalon’s A B Moosa.
The aim of Saifta is to reward creative excellence in the entertainment industry in South Africa and India, and to strengthen bonds between the two countries.
The awards, expected to become an annual event, will take place on September 6 at the ICC in Durban, to coincide with Heritage Month.
The initiative is the brainchild of prominent Indian fashion designer and the director of Mumbai-based marketing company Celebrity Locker Kedhar Gawde, in conjunction with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism and East Coast Radio.
Gawde said: “Saifta will highlight the wealth of talent in both industries and help bring about an exchange of cultures.
“The awards ceremony will have 20 categories – 10 for Indian cinema and 10 for the local industry.
“Because both industries are special in their own different ways, we could not judge the artists together.
“We are looking forward to September. Some big names have been roped in.”
In her speech on Friday, Farah Khan said that the awards would give exposure to Indian film-makers and help Durban to become a prime film location.
“Durban should get ready to be inundated with Bollywood movies as it will soon be the next big location.”