Durban FilmMart Institute Announces the Programme’s Thematic Content for DFM 2024

The theme for DFM 2024, African Visions Unleashed: From Disruption to Accountability, reflects the urgency and necessity for change in a world where mechanisms, structures, norms, and ideals are constantly evolving. The event, scheduled from 19 – 22 July 2024 in Durban, creates a space for advancement as film professionals engage on what the industry needs to focus on to create the Africa we want. 

This year’s theme underscores the belief that through critical engagement and collaborative efforts, the film industry can address and overcome the challenges it faces, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive, accountable, and socially responsible cinematic landscape.


Breaking Barriers: Gender Equality and Justice in the Film Industry is a panel exploring the ongoing quest for gender equality and justice within the film industry. Tiny Mungwe (STEPS), Debra Zimmerman (Women Makie Movies), Whitney Spencer (Sisters in Cinema), Zanele Mthembu (Sisters Working In Film and Television) and Thishiwe Ziqubu (Ngonyama Kapital Productions) will discuss the systemic challenges faced by women and non-binary individuals in the industry, both in front of and behind the camera. Strategies for fostering inclusive representation and equitable opportunities will be debated.

Technology and artificial intelligence continues to integrate itself into the filmmaking landscape, the 2024 programme aims to explore how the industry can ethically use technology and AI to benefit all involved while fostering growth. Experienced and innovative filmmakers, Khalid Shamis (Tuba Films), Sara Jones (Iplocker), Zoe Ramushu (Wrapped), Themba Sibeko (Lightseed VFX) and Zunaid Mansoor (Independent Consultant) will discuss how they see these elements benefitting the industry in sessions – Future Proofing the Industry: Technology and the Film Industry and From Artificial Intelligence to African Intelligence: African Leadership In Scripted Production Futures.

The focus of the discussion Paid In Full: Social Responsibility of the Film Industry will be on the role of filmmakers and institutions in addressing social responsibility during times of conflict and upheaval. Industry experts from Jihane Bourgine (Jihane Bourgine), Mohamed Jabaly (Palestine Film Institute), Julie Nederkoorn (Movies That Matte), and Jihan El-Tahri (Big Sister Productions) explore how cinema can reflect societal issues, foster empathy, and inspire change.

The panel Power to People: Labour Relations and the Film Industry brings together Jihane Bourgine (Jihane Bourgine), Rehad Desai (Uhuru Productions), Farren van Niekerk (Irish Macleod Incorporated), Dana Sims (Daisy Blue Films), and Andile Sinqoto (IDAA) to address the balance between business and the people involved in film creation, especially in light of recent industrial actions that have impacted the industry globally. 

In a discussion highlighting the balance between established intellectual property and the demand for original content; Khalid Shamis (Tuba Films), Ramadan Suleman (Natives At Large), Mandla Dube (Pambili Media), Tebogo Matlawa (Multichoice), Monde Twala (Paramount Africa) and Osahoon Akpata (Afreximbank) will explore the evolving landscape of copyright, focusing on the departure of giants like Amazon from the African continent and the resulting opportunities for creators and emphasising the success of Indigenous narratives in the session From Established IP to Original Frontiers: Navigating the Copyright Wave.

Jihane Bourgine (Jihane Bourgine), Louise Callcott-Stevens (Ear Candy), Maria Santos (International Documentary Association), Shelley Barry (twospinningwheels), Mikias Mulugeta (Focus on Ability Film Festival) will focus on the representation of disabilities and marginalised communities in film. The panel, Voices Unveiled: Empowering Marginalised Narratives and Industry Accountability will review the role of films in shaping perceptions and dismantling stereotypes and the responsibility of film festivals and institutions in fostering inclusive spaces and holding the industry accountable for authentic storytelling.

Read The Room is a panel that will delve into the evolving landscape of audience design in the film industry, examining the influence of new distribution platforms, streamers, and grassroots screenings. Experts, Tiny Mungwe (STEPS), Caitlin Mae Burke (If/Then), Hawa Essuman (Manyatta Screenings), Claire Diao (Sudu Connexion) and Nondumiso Madlala (Sunshine Cinema) will discuss strategies for engaging diverse audiences. The conversation will explore the intersection of technology and human connection, revealing how filmmakers can tailor experiences for distinct platforms. 

These are some programme highlights from DFM 2024. Stay tuned for more news and updates as we unveil the full lineup in the coming weeks. Durban FilmMart Institute is excited to invite film professionals, artists, and stakeholders to join this journey, celebrating the power of African visions and the potential of film to reshape narratives and drive meaningful change.

Registration for participation in the market is currently open.  

For more information and to register, please visit our website:       

The Durban FilmMart Institute, which organises DFM 2024, receives its primary funding from the Durban Film Office and the eThekwini Municipality. The success of the event is made possible through the generous support of various organisations and entities. These include the Ford Foundation, Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, NEFTI, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, National Film and Video Foundation, Netflix, CNC, French Institute in South Africa, Industrial Development Cooperation, KZN Convention Bureau, International Emerging Film Talent Association, Eastern Cape Development Cooperation, Dante Languages. 

Additionally, the event benefits from partnerships with esteemed organisations and festivals. These programme partners include the Durban International Film Festival,  African Real Collective, Animation SA, Berlinale Talents, Cinemart, Digital Lab Africa, Doc Society, Documentary Filmmakers Association, Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival, European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs, FIPRESCI, Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund, Independent Black Filmmakers Collective, Independent Producers Organisation, Locations Africa, Produire au Sud, South African Guild of Actors, SWIFT, and Writers Guild of South Africa. 

For further inquiries, contact: [email protected].     

About the Durban FilmMart Institute:

Durban FilmMart Institute is the business hub of the African film industry, where film professionals and content are globally competitive and celebrated. The institute’s mission is to provide appropriate and effective programmes and services to promote, support, and facilitate investment in the African film industry.

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