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Sunday, July 13, 2014


A 2013 winning Durban FilmMart project, Unearthed directed by Jolynn Minnaar, was awarded the Sheffield Green Award at the Sheffield Doc/Fest that took place at Yorkshire, United Kingdom, in June.

Having celebrated its 21st year running, The Sheffield Doc/Fest is one of the world’s most renowned documentary festivals. Much like the Durban FilmMart, this festival offers filmmakers the chance to network, attend master classes and, most of all, to be inspired.

Former DFM selected project and recipient of the WorldView grant awarded at DFM 2013 director Jolynn Minnaar, producers from Stage 5 Films, Dylan Voogt, Saskia Schiel, and Stacey Keppler from Zootee Studios, world premiered Unearthed at the  Sheffield Doc/Fest. The film showcases the 18 months of intense work and the ends to which they had to travel in covering the issues of fracking practices and implementation. Its message, storytelling and ability to engage audiences gave Minnaar’s Unearthed the upper hand in a pool of six other documentaries nominated for the Sheffield Green Award.

“This is a moment I will always treasure. It went beyond the award though - the feedback from the recognised members of the jury was the greatest gift. They not only recognised the hard work that went into the documentary but praised the story telling and the film's ability to inspire change across the world. The jury were unanimous in their decision in highlighting Unearthed as a film with critical, international relevance. This kind of recognition has not only placed an international spotlight on an independent South African documentary but on the issue it uncovers and the important discussions it calls for,” says Unearthed Director Jolynn Minnaar.

“The Sheffield Green Award has placed Unearthed on the map, he reflects further. “We have an unprecedented global interest in the film with screening requests from Pennsylvania to Tasmania. We hope to meet as many people as possible - starting in the rural Karoo towns - with screenings and presentations. Outside of the film and the audiences we are committed to reaching, it is my hope that Unearthed inspires people across the world, in whatever capacity, to rethink their place in the world and be a part of a better tomorrow.”

Unearthed is not only a recent international success, it is also a Durban FilmMart project triumph; revealing itself as a product and perfect example of the type of opportunities Africa’s premier film finance and co-production forum can offer filmmakers in Africa. Winning the WorldView grant of €2,500 in 2013 offered Minnaar the chance to continue and complete investigations for this South African independent documentary, as well as provide a platform to network and develop her skills.

“We could not be more proud of Jolynn Minnaar’s production Unearthed,” says Durban Film Office’s Toni Monty. “This Award winning project is a true reflection of the international standards of filmmaking the Durban FilmMart aims to assist filmmakers to achieve. Minnaar’s story is an inspiration to other African filmmakers and is a product of perseverance; never giving up on telling stories and believing in how far that story can take you.”

Having worked hard on establishing international ties in the film industry, affording filmmakers the chance to develop their content and storytelling skills; African filmmakers are encouraged to come to this year’s 5th Durban FilmMart, set to take place from July 18 to 21 at the Elangeni Tsogo Sun Hotel in Durban; alongside the 35th Durban International Film Festival which runs from July 17 to 27, 2014.

The Durban FilmMart (DFM) is a co-production and finance market, funded by the City and is a joint programme of the Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF)

For more information on the Durban FilmMart and how to register as a delegate visit