Friday, December 6, 2013

Doccie filmmakers fly SA flag at IDFA

 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Emma Bestall 
, Annalet Steenkamp, Joanna Higgs

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: A team of South African documentary filmmakers has just returned from the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in the Netherlands, following a successful two-week long event where industry players from all over the world converged. 

IDFA is one of the biggest international documentary film festivals globally and creates a meeting platform for filmmakers, broadcasters, funders and distributors. This year’s festival ran from 20 November to 1 December.

“This is an exciting time for South African documentary filmmaking industry. Last year none of our films got a screening at IDFA, but this year we had five,” says Neil Brandt, producer of The Devil’s Lair, which also screened at the festival.

Adds Joanna Higgs, producer of I, Afrikaner: “We were enormously excited and overwhelmed by the support and attention I, Afrikaner received at IDFA. From the night of the premiere to the final screening we had sold-out audiences with engaged Q&As.” 

She continues: “We had promising conversations with sales agents, broadcasters and distributors, and we met filmmakers and potential collaborators, strengthened existing relationships, and of course, watched the kind of films that inspire us to keep pushing the limits of our medium.”

One of the highlights of the festival, the IDFA Forum, is a ‘must-attend’ for every delegate. This is where filmmakers pitch their projects in front of a panel of broadcasters from across the globe. 

“Before I went to IDFA, I knew filmmaking was more than just having a good story and the ability to make it visually appealing, but what I didn’t realise was the fact that one also needs an extraordinary sharp mind and people skills to make a successful film,” says Molatelo Mainetje, who made her debut attendance at the festival with her completed project A Helping Hand.

Adds Mariza Matshaya, producer and director of Marikana: The Tale of Invisible Women: “My IDFA experience was truly crucial for my growth as an independent filmmaker. I also learnt that our perspectives and experiences of the world we live in need to be shared with the international community and IDFA is just the right place to explore that.” 

“As a filmmaker, you never attend IDFA and remain the same,” concludes Mainetje. 

The South African delegation to IDFA was made possible by the Department of Trade and Industry, the National Film and Video Foundation, the Independent Development Corporation as well as provincial film commissions, working together with industry associations.

Report by Molatelo Mainetje