With the 66th Cannes International Film Festival set to open its doors tomorrow, May 15, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is all set to lead the presence of the South African delegation to the festival this year, with a total of 150 South African filmmakers registered to attend Cannes, which is the highest number ever; last year's delegation was 120 filmmakers.
Apart from hosting various activities at the festival, the NFVF has invested R250,000 ($27,000) to pay for the travelling costs of 12 local filmmakers out of the 150 attending.
South Africa's theme for Cannes this year is "attracting new markets and investments". Elaborating on this message, NFVF CEO Zama Mkosi says it is in line with the direction that the NFVF is taking to position the South African film industry as a business environment that can attract more foreign investors.
"Cannes is without a doubt one of the most strategic international film platforms and as such it is a very key platform in our long term objectives of fully tapping into key international markets. Our emphasis going there is to ensure that our film projects that we take there as well as the filmmakers attending do get as much business exposure as possible and the impact of that is tangible. Another area we will be focusing on is that of marketing our locations as suitable shooting destinations to the international filmmakers, I'm happy that provincial bodies like the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZNFC), Durban Film Office (DFO) and Johannesburg Tourism are part of our delegation and they will be able to sell their regions to potential investors," says Mkosi.
South Africa will also be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Kenya during Cannes. This MOU will, among other things, open opportunities for local filmmakers to explore working partnerships with their counterparts from Kenya.
The NFVF will also host a presentation of the South African film industry - the purpose being to sell the country's film offerings to the international community.
Other NFVF activities will include sessions on French producers producing in SA, as South African filmmakers and French filmmakers gather for one-on-one meetings, all in an effort to strengthen co-production relations between South African filmmakers and their counterparts from other countries, especially co-production treaty countries.
The NFVF will also host the market screening of three South African films which I recently highlighted, namely Blitz Patrollie, Black South Easter and Khumba. Blitz Patrollie was released in local South African cinemas on Friday, May 10.
The South African pavilion will be situated at the Village International Riviera number 120. The pavilion will provide a business environment all South African delegates to interact and engage with the international community. It will also provide screening facilities for filmmakers who wish to showcase their films during their meetings.