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DACST SUPPORT FOR FILM (article first published : 2003-06-16)

Recently appointed Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica has pledged comprehensive support and priority focus for the South African film industry.

Following a three day visit to the Cannes film festival in France recently, Minister Sonjica said: "Seeing and feeling the vibrant energy at the South African pavilion at Cannes crystallised much of what I have been reading and hearing about. We are poised to take advantage of the interest foreign countries are taking in our industry. I was impressed by what I saw and heard and am committed to spearheading the way to make the South African film industry a priority growth and development focus in the cultural industries".

The Cannes Film Festival boasted the largest ever delegation of South African film industry players ever this year. A 30-strong delegation, coordinated by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), came to seal deals, network and represent the industry on the prestigious international platform.

A number of co-production treaties with various European countries were discussed during Cannes. A co-production treaty with Italy is in draft stage with Ireland and the UK still in the pipeline. The final draft of the Italian co-production treaty is set to be signed at Sithengi (the annual South African film and television market held in Cape Town) in November this year. A professional delegation of UK filmmakers will also attend Sithengi to conduct workshops and network with South African industry players.

Among the notable successes reported at Cannes this year, production companies like Video Vision, The Imaginarium and Synergy secured product deals. Co-directors of The Sky in her Eyes (A Steps to the Future film) Madoda Ncayiyana and Ouida Smit, were awarded the Djibril Diop Mambety prize for emerging Africa/Diaspora filmmakers. The competition formed part of the Critic's Week at Cannes (see separate article).




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