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Tuesday, November 4, 2014


(Philani Sithebe & Bonie Sithebe of Durban Motion Pictures; Ethekwini Deputy Mayor, Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala; Junaid Ahmed of Junaid Ahmed Productions & Sizwe Mkhaliphi of Zamolade Constructing and Resources)

The very first grantees of the Micro Budget Film and the Development Funding Programmes were awarded at a special Durban Film Office event, which took place at SmartXchange at the beginning of October,

This Film Development Fund event not only marked the start of an exciting new chapter for the filmmaking grantees and the Durban Film Office, it also publicized the official call out details for the next new submissions.

The Durban Film Office, the eThekwini Municipality’s film industry development arm, kick-started the submissions for the Micro Budget Film Programme and the Development Fund Programme at the beginning of 2014 with imperative goals to help provide Durban filmmakers with invaluable support, assistance and funding. Enthralled with the standard of submissions, the Durban Film Office, along with the Deputy Mayor Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala, was thrilled and proud to award the first grantees for these programmes.

“I want to congratulate all the beneficiaries of our development programme in terms of the film industry,” says Deputy Mayor Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala. “I’m so glad to see how much the Durban Film Office has achieved, in terms of making sure our dream of including the development component in the film industry, especially with developing our own people from Durban and from South Africa. The biggest thing is to make sure that we encourage them to do exchange programmes whereby the up-and-coming artists will be able to learn from those who have been a part of the industry for a longer time. I know once these programmes are known by the public sector there will be people who will come on board and also sponsor some of the film productions. So with that, we will be able to succeed, and will be able to tell of these success stories in a few years to come.

Commemorating the beginning of this new chapter, the Micro Budget Film Programme was awarded to Sizwe Mkhaliphi from Zamolade Constructing and Resources for the project Mhlola, Andile Buwa from Buwa Films for Family Matters, Akhona Matyila from Mulatto Films for A History of Memory, and Similo Gobingca from Burning Coast Films for Ports of Saints.

This exciting new programme is set to arm these emerging filmmakers each with a R100,000 grant to produce their film and provide insight into industry know-hows on sourcing additional funding through the micro-budget model, and in depth training focusing on marketing, sales, support, advertising, product placement and sponsorship deals.

“When I found out I was a grantee for the Micro Budget Film Programme I was so excited and grateful for the opportunity. It is a great platform and a little intimidating at times when I think about what a really cool opportunity it is! I hope to achieve a beautiful film and gain better experience as a filmmaker. I know if I put a lot of hard work and take in good advice this film could bring about other opportunities,” says Micro Budget Film Programme grantee Similo Gobingca.

The Development Fund Programme was awarded to Bonie Sithebe from Durban Motion Pictures and Junaid Ahmed from Junaid Ahmed Productions CC. These two filmmakers have been granted R250,000 funding to assist the production of their projects, which have been deemed to be commercially viable and locally and globally competitive.

“When I first received the email to say that I am a grantee forthis fund, I read it three more times to make sure it was real,” says Development Funding Programme grantee Bonie Sithebe. “When I realised it was, I was so happy I called everyone involved to let them know. I hope to achieve a well-developed script that would be of international standard. My first plan of action is to involve all relevant creatives to assist in getting the project off the ground.”

Durban Film Office’s Toni Monty adds:“The Durban Film Office is proud of the first grantees awarded the Micro Budget Film Programme and the Development Fund Programme; we are confident in our choice and eager to see these programmes in action. We are certain these programmes are going to give our Durban filmmakers the leading edge in the competitive film industry. More importantly, we know it will equip them with sound knowledge, support and put them on the map locally and even internationally.”

The Durban Film Office has announced the second phase for these innovative programmes and encourages local filmmakers to take advantage of this exciting opportunity and submit their projects for the chance to be the next grantees. For more information about the programmes, and how to submit projects, contact Project Manager, Fezile Peko via email at the Durban Film Office or go to