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DIRECTORS AT DIFF WORKSHOPS (article first published : 2006-06-11)

The Durban International Film Festival taking place from June 14 to 25 incorporates a strong programme of free seminars, workshops and panel discussions for both professionals and aspirant filmmakers. Aimed at upgrading skills and stimulating the industry in KwaZulu-Natal, they include participation of visiting filmmakers whose films are screening in the festival.

"The challenges of filmmaking vary from country to country, each has a different structural context in terms of available infrastructure and support mechanisms, and often a different aesthetic approach,” says Festival director Peter Rorvik.

“The festival workshops provide a valuable opportunity to deepen our appreciation of a range of filmmaking experiences and processes. For example, Fernando Vargas's film Say Goodbye to Dad, set around a Che Guevara legend, is the first feature film to come out of Bolivia in nearly a decade. Vimukthi Jayasundara's The Forsaken Land was made in Sri Lanka under clandestine circumstances, with bannings of the film in some areas, and we hear from Anopa Makaka and others how filmmakers survive in Zimbabwe, where political constraint is compounded by a devastating exchange rate."

The discussions include filmmakers from Iran, a country much in the news for other reasons. Award-winning directors such as Abolfazi Jalili and Jafar Panahai provide insight into how they continue to produce acclaimed work which raises hot political issues such as the restricted role of women in Iranian society without incurring the wrath of authorities.

Filmmaking can be an expensive business, how are industries in developing nations faring? Joko Anwar, director of the film Joni's Promise, tells what it's like in Indonesia, land of tsuanamis and earthquakes, while Jean-Pierre Bakolo (Cameroon - The Bloodettes) and Gahite Fofana (Guinea - Early in the Morning) provide a perspective on filmmaking in West Africa.

Conversations with filmmakers also include anthropologist Eliane De Latour (France - Birds of Heaven) and Atsushi Funahashi (US/ Japan - Big River) who represent the contemporary generation of intercultural filmmakers.

The session entitled Film and the New Media - Charting South Africa 's Way Forward on June 17 explores new technologies and cross-over territories, Ethekweni's smartxchange plans, and the possibilities and constraints of the future. The panel includes media specialists and the Deputy Minister of Communications Radhakrishna Padayachie.

There are hands-on scriptwriting workshops (June 23) with Dermod Judge and Nicola Rauch (South African Script Writers Union), acting workshops (June 15) with Pauline Malefane and Andile Nkosi, (Son of Man, U-Carmen eKhayelitsha) and television star Ruth Cele (I wish I were in Jail), and a practical workshop on shooting and packaging of television inserts and cultural documentaries by e-tv's Roger Lucey (June 18).

The Industry Speak Out Session (June 24) deals with copyright issues, co-production benefits, the new South African Film Federation, the DFO / SASWU writing Lab, and includes an update by Anant Singh on the Durban Film Studio.

AFDA presents a morning workshop (June 16) on the need for key crew and cast and on June 19, 20, 22 and 23, Imagination Lab host a series of mid-day screenings and discussions with documentary filmmakers at Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu, featuring Madoda Ncayiyana, Hanna Polak (Poland), Jacqui Trowell, Asi Mathaba and others.

The Art of Documentary Film (June 20) will be the focus for an innovative panel comprising Khalo Matabane (South Africa - Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon), Avi Mograbi (Israel - Avenge but One of my Two Eyes), Ramesh Sharma (India - The Journalist and the Jihadi, the Murder of Daniel Pearl) and Jean-Marie Teno (Cameroon - The Colonial Misunderstanding).

Importantly, the National Film and Video Foundation hosts a series of engagements with producers (June 18), training providers (June 19) and open sessions about policies, bursaries and funding processes (June 17 to 18).

SABC presents a session on proposal-writing for SABC short film projects (June 16), and the LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! scriptwriting project for 10-15 year olds (June 21).

Most of the workshops take place at BAT Centre's Mission Control. The full schedule is available in festival booklets and brochures at Suncoast, Cinema Noveau, Musgrave Ster-Kinekor, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, BAT Centre, Ekaya Multi-Arts Centre, Stable Theatre, Computicket and other city locations. More information on 031 260 1367 or 031 260 2506 or visit www.cca.ukzn.ac.za

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) the Durban International Film Festival is funded by National Film and Video Foundation, National Lottery Distribution Fund, HIVOS, Stichting Doen, and the City of Durban, with support from the Royal Netherlands Embassy, French Embassy, British Council, and a range of valued partners.




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