South Africa makes strides at Cannes Film Festival

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South Africa made strides during its first day at Cannes with the Cape Winelands’ successful meeting that ended with possible future partnerships with Korea. The Mandela documentary, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter is starting to generate pre-market sales. The documentary is about former President Nelson Mandela’s life. Distributors and buyers came in numbers to the South African pavilion looking for authentic stories that will continue to capture the audiences.

On Friday (18 May) the NFVF presented SA’s Line-Up of projects to buyers, distributors, financiers and festival directors. This will be followed by the signing of SA/Ireland treaty by Minister Paul Mashatile today (Sunday 20 May) and a co-production forum tomorrow (Monday 21 May).

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), in association with the Department of Arts and Culture (DACT) are the official hosts of South African presence at the 65th Cannes International Film Festival.

South Africa was set to have its strongest representation yet at this year's Cannes Film Festival, with 130 of the country's filmmakers registered for the event, and the National Film and Video Foundation gearing up to showcase 20 local projects, including 12 feature films and eight documentaries.

South Africa's increasing participation at the international level, including Cannes, showed "that our filmmakers are global competitors in the field," National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) CEO Zama Mkosi said in a statement on Friday. "Their projects are authentic stories that resonate in the international marketplace."

Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile is expected to lead South Africa's Cannes delegation, and is scheduled to sign the country's eighth film co-production treaty, with Ireland, while at the festival.

The treaty will enable productions from both countries to qualify for the different incentives associated with home-grown content in each country, as well as enable collaborations between producers from the two countries.

South Africa's first co-production treaty was signed with Canada in 1997, followed by Germany, Italy, the UK, France, Australia and New Zealand.

Productions that have come out of these treaties include films such as Skin (SA/UK), The Bang Bang Club (SA/Canada), Death Race (SA/Germany), Skoonheid (SA/France) and A Million Colours (SA/Canada).

During this year's Cannes, the NFVF will host a co-production forum to which all South Africa's treaty partners have been invited, in order to strengthen ties and look at ways of ensuring that the partners come up with a new co-production each year.

The NFVF's Cannes Showcase of South African will include the acclaimed film based on Durban's black surfers, Otelo Burning, as well as: Semi-Soet, Blitz Patrollie, 31 Million Reasons, Five Finger for Marseillas, One Last Look, The Umbrella Man, Tok Tokkie, RollaBall, Sobukwe, Wandering Fever and I am Craig.

A South African pavilion, jointly hosted by the Department of Arts and Culture and the NFVF, will provide a business environment for South African delegates to host meetings, complete with screening facilities for filmmakers wish to show trailers.

"Cannes is recognised as the world's premiere film festival where the world's distributors, financiers, festival programmers buy film projects, negotiate distribution deals and funding," said NFVF marketing head Azania Muendane.

"Cannes is a key strategic platform for the NFVF to meet its objectives of promoting the country as a co-production partner, a filmmaking destination of choice, and a country that tells authentic stories."

The 65th Cannes International Film Festival ran from 16 to 27 May.