The KwaZulu Natal Film Commission (KZNFC) will  participate at the Cannes  Film Festival taking place in France from the 17th May 2022 to the 27 May 2022. The KwaZulu Natal Film’s participation is at the Pavilion Afriques which creates a unique venue for movie and trade promotion while outlining the diversity of African cinema.

In accordance with its mandate of developing and growing the KZN film industry, KZNFC will be aiming to promote local content , maintain and build relationships with key industry players through business to business meetings, identify opportunities for the sale and distribution of content, as well as participate in industry panels.  The KZN Film Commission issued an open call to the industry inviting  emerging filmmakers to form part of KZNFC delegation.  Two female filmmakers; Ms. Bonita Sithebe and Sithabile Mkhize were selected out of a myriad of applications received. “As per our strategic goals of empowering the youth and woman in the industry in the telling of their stories, Ms. Sithebe and Ms. Mkhize’s projects stood out, and we are confident that they  will achieve the objectives they have set in attending the festival,” says Ms. Jackie Motsepe, KZN Film Commission’s Chief Operations Officer.

Written and directed by Bonita Sithebe, The Valley of a Thousand Hills tells a story of a young woman from a conservative village, who must choose between living a lie to stay the perfect Zulu daughter or risk death for true love. Nosipho has a secret. A loving daughter held up as an example in her community, with a domineering father who has chosen a potential husband for her, but her soulmate and one true love is a woman. The film is produced by Philane Sithebe and stars Mandisa Vilakazi and Sbongokuhle Nkosi. Ms. Sithebe will have her first pitching session on the 21st of May at the Pavilion Afrique.

God’s Work produced by rising star Sithabile Mkhize tells a story of four homeless friends who are caught between escaping their hardships and being swallowed up in the process. The film is a profound and satirical exploration of the human beings that exist on the margins of society. Written and directed by Michael James, God’s Work is produced by Sithabile Mkhize with Toni Monty as the executive producer.

Apart from showcasing the KZN films, the KZN Film Commission will host the African Film Commission panel discussion, which will explore the topic  : Strategic interventions for African Film Commissions: How networks and the current progressive trade landscape will grow the African Film economy. The session will be facilitated and moderated by Azania Muendane with panel members: Firdoze Bulbulia from South Africa – Film Commissions Network, H.E. Ama Tutu Muna from Cameroon –  Central Africa policy, Ms. Jackie Motsepe – COO KZNFC from South Africa – South Africa film policy and Timothy Owase – CEO KFC from Kenya – East Africa policy.  This event will take place on the 19th of May at the Pavilion Afrique.

Following on the Africa Film Commission’s panel, the KZN Film Commission will on the 21st of May 2022 host the Country Presentation, a session that will be led by the Acting CEO Mr. Victor Senna to highlight South Africa’s KZN film industry. “As the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission we are excited to be part of this year’s Cannes International Film Festival through Pavilion Afrique. Our presentation will focus on our role and mandate in transforming and growing the KZN Film industry, profiling our locations and co-productions  and our African agenda,” Said Mr Senna.

On the 23rd of May the KZN Film Commission will participate at the UK Global Screen Fund panel represented by COO Ms. Jackie Motsepe. The panel will explore the  SA/UK coproduction Stolen, which is co-produced by South Africa and KZN’s Uzanenkosi Mahlangu and UK’S Shantelle Rochester. The film is set to commence principal photography in London , and resume production in Durban, South Africa in July 2022.  Starring amongst others Christine Adams, Jimmy Jean Louis, Noxolo Dlamini and Danielle Harold, the story centres around Seline, whose life takes a tragic turn when her teenage daughter Tenika is involved in a fatal shooting on the streets of Durban while on holiday in South Africa.  Mother and daughter have a deep bond so Seline is crushed while she fly’s over to identify her daughter’s body only to discover the police have wrongly identified Tenika.

The pavilion offers a host of promotional and networking activities, including global level networking with like-minded professionals, and access to learning opportunities through masterclasses and training. This space offers the KZNFC an opportunity to promote KZN, its films and filmmakers, furthermore, it offers filmmakers opportunities to meet and collaborate with other filmmakers, as well as negotiate distribution and finance for their projects.

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About the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission is a provincial state entity, under the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal South Africa established in terms of the KwaZulu-Natal Commission Act, 2010 (Act No 3 of 2010). Its mandate is to facilitate support throughout the value chain to the local and international film industry through creating opportunities and also growing the KwaZulu-Natal film industry.

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Naomi Mokhele,

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