Meet, Mingle and Learn at the Isiphethu Programme at the Durban International Film Festival

Now in its 5th year, the Isiphethu programme is being revamped with the depth of the 2024 programme bound to spark any filmmaker’s flame, set imaginations alight and provide the kindling for many successful creative projects. Music, marketing, sales, and distribution are the focuses of the Isiphethu Programme at this year’s Durban International Film Festival. The programme, aimed at emerging film makers, will be held at the Bellaire Suites Hotel in North Beach, Durban from the 22 to 26 July of July.

“We want to bring the Isiphethu programme right to the centre of the festival hub. We have also re-envisioned the programme to give participants a more interactive experience with some of the dynamic individuals and organisations who attend the festival. The change and growth marks a pivotal moment in the Isiphethu’s trajectory to give increased opportunities to filmmakers who are on the cusp of building successful careers in the film sector”, says Andrea Voges, Head of Programming at the Durban International Film Festival.

Diane Hay, a marketing and distribution expert with more than two decades of experience, will share her vast knowledge on different aspects of the commercial journey of a film, with an overview of distribution, the value chain of a film, the difference between being a sales agent and a distributor, and what you need to know about both roles. She will discuss the similarities and disparities between an audience and a target market and why they cannot be taken for granted.

Zwelibanzi Sisilana-Mavuka, a senior business development associate at SHEER Publishing, a company that specialises in African music copyright ownership, will explain why you should begin with the end in mind when scoring a production, the ins and outs of music copyright and sound design and explore the relationship between the live recording of sound and sound effects. He will fill you in on foley and dive into digital samples. A close reading of several case studies will leave you with a rich understanding of the importance of sound in your filmmaking journey.

The isiZulu Scriptwriting Workshop led by the founder and director of the annual KZN African Film Festival (KAFF), Edmund Mhlongo and award winning academic, Zunaid Mansoor promise to be productive and are sure to be the genesis of several new scripts.

One of the highlights of the programme is the opportunity to meet key stakeholders in the film industry. Each afternoon will provide a different focus with engagements with the Durban Film Office (DFO), the KZN Film Commission (KZN Film), the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the Film and Publication Board (FPB), and the SABC. Onke Dumeko, the head of operations at NFVF, will share the insider’s guide to assist filmmakers with the process of applying for funding, while Fezile Peko, project manager at the Durban Film Office, will outline the numerous opportunities offered by the DFO. The former head of commissioning for the SABC, David Makubyane will unravel some of the mysteries of the national broadcaster and be available to answer all the questions you may have. The dialogue with KZN film, KZN Film in Action! will commemorate thirty years of democracy with director Luthando Mngomezulu, production manager Asisipho Cwele and animator Nobulali Vimba.

Aspiring filmmakers will have an opportunity to meet veteran filmmakers including those at Stained Glass who produced the immensely popular, award winning Uzalo, The Wife and Durban Gen. The session Where Film Schools & Industry Meet hosts a panel discussion of film graduates from AFDA, DUT, UCT and UKZN to explore the possibilities and synergies between professionals working in the industry and students.

There is no charge to attend the programme, but registration is essential. Access to the sessions is on a first come, first served basis. The full programme is available on the DIFF website. To register, go here.

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