BY BILLY SUTER
CALLING women who fancy themselves as budding movie-makers and are keen to have their work recognised – they are being invited, by CaribbeanTales International Film Festival, in partnership with Sisters Working in Film and Television (Swift), to participate in the inaugural CineFAM South Africa Short Film Challenge.
This challenge aims to create opportunities to garner international recognition and global distribution. It is to be presented at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) from July 13 to 23, and the Durban FilmMart (DFM) from July 14 to 17.
Swift is a newly formed organisation that aims to advance the participation of women in the South African audio-visual sector, points out festival publicist Sharlene Versfeld.
CaribbeanTales is a group of companies that produces, markets and sells Caribbean-themed film and television content for global audiences. It includes CaribbeanTales Inc, a registered charity based in Toronto, Canada; the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF) which takes place annually in Toronto in September; and the renowned CaribbeanTales Incubator Programme, a development and production hub for original Caribbean content.
Also under the umbrella are CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution (CTWD), the largest full-service distribution entity dedicated to the monetisation of Caribbean content; CaribbeanTalesFlix, the group’s production arm, and CaribbeanTales-TV, a video-on-demand platform.
The CineFAM South Africa Short Film Challenge aims to create an opportunity for female South African filmmakers to collaborate and establish creative relationships that stimulate the growth of content made by women. The challenge also aims to connect South African filmmakers with those in the Diaspora as well as a global audience.
Swift will present a preparatory workshop on no-budget film-making at the Durban FilmMart from 12.30pm to 2pm on Monday, July 17, at the Tsogo Sun Maharani Hotel. This workshop will provide participants with useful tools for making a short film with constraints in time, budget and other resources. It is a free workshop and no booking is necessary.
Following the workshop – which is not mandatory to enter the challenge – the CineFAM South Africa Short Film Challenge will take place from July 19 to July and will be open to teams with the roles of writer, director and producers filled by women and queer filmmakers from South Africa.
The theme from the challenge will be announced on July 18 on the CaribbeanTales website www.caribbeantales-tv.com and the teams will have five days to write, shoot and edit a film of no longer than five minutes. Entering teams need to feature female identifying crew in the key positions of writer, director and producer.
Completed films must be uploaded by no later than midnight on Sunday, July 23, on the CaribbeanTales website. Teams unable to upload the films for submission, from their own internet connections, should contact email@example.com on the first day of the challenge to make arrangements for submission.
A shortlist of up to 10 short films will be selected and posted on the CaribbeanTales website for online voting. The challenge will recognise three winning films, including best story, best direction and audience choice.
Two of these films will be given their world premiere screening at the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival and all will be given the opportunity to acquire distribution by CTWD.
“We are very excited to be collaborating with both Swift and Caribbean Tales on this initiative and hope it will lay the foundation for more cooperation between filmmakers on the continent and those from the Diaspora,” says Toni Monty of the Durban FilmMart.
“South Africa is a natural partner to CaribbeanTales, and we are thrilled by the opportunity to provide a platform for women filmmakers. CineFAM, meaning ‘films by women’ in Haitian Creole, is a global initiative of ours through which we spotlight to crucial voices of women in film. We couldn’t be more delighted to continually expand the horizons for the kind of stories that we can tell,” says Frances-Anne Solomon, founder and CEO of CaribbeanTales.
Speaking on behalf of Swift, Sara Blecher says: “Short films are brilliant ways that filmmakers and their projects can get noticed. There are countless examples of how short films are precursors for feature films. We hope that through this process, women filmmakers are driven to create work that will start a process of getting recognition, attention and support to further develop their body of work.”
“We are delighted that this new programme to encourage South African filmmakers to take the short film challenge during the festival focuses on women in line with the Women Led Film theme for this year’s festival,” says Chipo Zhou, DIFF manager.
“We look forward to seeing the creative results and perhaps seeing some of these films in our festival in the future.”