Debut of South African filmmakers at the European Film Market

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Beki Probst, market director at Berlin’s European Film Market (EFM), talks about the debut of South African filmmakers at the market and how the figures compare to last year's event. South African filmmakers will have a presence at Berlin's European Film Market (EFM) for the first time this year.

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily, EFM market director Beki Probst said that she was particularly pleased to be able to welcome a delegation organised by the Association for Transformation in Film and Television (ATFT), which will have a stand in the Marriott Hotel.

ATFT organised a so-called export market readiness workshops last month in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) for potential delegates to prepare them for attending the EFM in order to make the most of their time in Berlin.

The workshops were led by Dutch Indies' chairman Hans Boscher and industry veteran Fred de Haas, who are organising the South African Indies umbrella stand at the EFM.

ATFT was launched last year to provide a platform for South African film-makers traditionally underrepresented such as blacks, women and people with disabilities.

A delegation of 12 filmmakers was supported by South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry to visit the AFM last November and another delegation is set to attend the Rio Content Market this March after the EFM.

While the festival's Competition does not feature any films from Eastern Europe and only one short film is representing Russia in the whole of the Berlinale's 2014 line-up, Probst hasn't seen any let up in the number of participants from Eastern Europe and notes an increase on registrations with the EFM from South America and Asia.

"A few years ago, people used to think of Berlin as a market for small, arthouse films," said Probst. "But that has changed considerably because both the number of films has increased as well as the range of genres on offer - from arthouse through family entertainment to pure genre films.
"I often compare the market to a department store where the variety of products on different floors makes it even more attractive for customers. There's something for everybody.
Turning to the question of the 25% hike in the price for the festival's standard accreditation, she explained that this increase - to €125 - "doesn't affect the Market because you just need a Market Badge if you only want to concentrate on the Market."

She pointed out that EFM participants attending market screenings in the five brand-new cinemas at the Zoo-Palast will be able make use of the services of a Lounge at the cinema complex, which will be shared with the Berlinale's Generation sidebar.

"As we previously did at the Cubix cinema, we will be giving the screening slots at the Zoo-Palast to companies who are not exhibiting in one of our official EFM locations," she added.