5 Alumni Projects participate at Durban FilmMart 2021

5 Alumni Projects participate at Durban FilmMart 2021

5 Lusophone Africa Projects Selected for Durban FilmMart.

Durban FilmMart Institute, Rede de Cinema e Audiovisual PALOP-TL and IEFTA partnered to select 5 projects from Lusophone African filmmakers following an open call for applications by PALOP-TL.

The 5 projects will participate in the 4-day DFM Finance and Pitch Forum (16-20 July).

The Jury

Samia Zaman Consultant (South Asia Focus)

Samia Zaman is a film producer and television content commissioner. She is the owner of Versa Media, a film production company in Bangladesh. She began her career as a broadcast journalist of BBC World Service London in the 90’s before joining the first private terrestrial television channel of Bangladesh, Ekushey Television as a producer and main news anchor in 2000. As the CEO and Editor of Ekkator Television, Bangladesh’s 24 hour news channel, Samia is an established professional in the tv industry.

Samia Zaman founded the International Film Initiative of Bangladesh (IFIB) in 2016 year, an organisation focused on identifying, mentoring and connecting talented emerging filmmakers from Bangladesh with the world film community. Samia Zaman is a. international Consultant of IEFTA, focusing on South Asia.

Magdalene Reddy (Durban FilmMart)

Magdalene Reddy is presently the acting General Manager of the Durban FilmMart Institute.  The DFMI is a non-profit organization which produces Africa’s premier finance and co-production market, currently in its 12th year.

Magdalene is also the director and owner of Creative WorkZone, an arts management and training company which since its inception in 2019 has been producing the European Film Festival in South Africa, providing festival management training to film festivals locally and internationally and project managing various arts projects.

Upon completing her BA Hons degree in Music she worked at the University of KwaZulu’s School of Music and then the prolific Centre for Creative Arts.  The Centre is known for its promotion of South African arts and culture, intercultural exchange and economic benefit for artists.  During her tenure at the Centre for Creative Arts she was part of the management team who produced four annual festivals – the Durban International Film Festival, Poetry Africa, Time of the Writer and Jomba Contemporary Dance Experience.  In addition she managed Poetry Africa on Tour programmes in Sweden, Reunion Island, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Kenya.

Magdalene then worked on two projects implemented by the Department of Arts and Culture in partnership with the Institute Francais and the British Council respectively; The SA-French Seasons and the SA-UK Seasons.  During this period Magdalene worked with international partners to oversee the showcase of approximately 2000 South African artists in France and the UK.  This programme was aimed at increasing people to people contact, encouraging international cultural diplomacy and attracting tourists to South Africa.

Before starting her own company, Magdalene was the executive director of the African Art Centre whose work focuses on developing and promoting the growth of the local fine arts and craft industry.

Magdalene was a selected participant in the EU Global Cultural Leadership Programme in Malta and Belgium and acted as a trainer for the Deutsche Welle Film Festival Training during the Berlin International Film Festival.

Faiza Williams (Durban FilmMart)

Faiza Williams is the Project coordinator at the Durban FilmMart (DFM), Africa’s Premier African finance and co-production market which aims to create partnerships and further the development and production of film on the African continent. The Mart provides selected African filmmakers with projects in development an opportunity to pitch film projects to leading financiers and content buyers. It also offers a full programme of industry-film related masterclasses, workshops, and panel discussions as well as networking opportunities for African and international filmmakers to form alliances for the future.

Faiza has worked closely with DFM for the last 7 years. She has also worked on the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) International film festival 2018 and twice served as a reader on The Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund Reading Committee, 2017 & 2018.

Apart from work in the upliftment of the African film industry and a career defining internship at the Durban Film Office 2013 – 2015, Faiza has worked on multiple international conferences over the past 4 years such as DBN KZN United Kingdom Investment Drive in partnership with Invest Durban and The Department of Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN), 2018 & 2019, the biennial SATN International Conference hosted by Technological Higher Education Network South Africa (THENSA) and GovTech 2017 powered by SITA, to name a few.

Faiza was part also of the project management team created “The Garden Hope and Healing” at the Durban Botanic Gardens honouring victims and survivors of gender based violence. The garden used art as a way to assist in the healing process.

Faiza graduated from the University of South Africa with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology and Communications in 2012. Through her studies, Faiza worked at Adams Campus Books where she assisted in planning many a book launch while serving customers with a smile.

Jana Wolff (Berlin European Film Market)

Jana Wolff studied Communication in Social and Economic Contexts (M.A.) at the Berlin University of the Arts. She has a long history working in the film industry. Since the late 90s she has been working for Berlinale/EFM and also had various positions in other national and international film festivals such as Sarajevo FF (Bosnia), Nordic Film Days Lübeck (Germany), Duisburg Documentary FF (Germany), Duhok IFF (Iraqi Kurdistan), Oldenburg IFF (Germany), Motovun IFF (Croatia) and IDFA (Netherlands). She was Head of PR & Festival Distribution at the German Film and Television Academy (dffb), Head of Acquisition & Sales at Pluto Film Distribution Network and is now in charge of Marketing, the Country in Focus programme and the Berlinale Africa Hub at the European Film Market.

The Projects

“The Whalers”

Synopsis: For two centuries—from the 1750s to the 1950s—whaling ships roamed the world’s oceans hunting for great cetaceans, bringing several species to the brink of extinction. These vessels were the tip of the harpoon in a killing industry that had become essential to a modernizing world. It was arduous, dangerous, often exploitative work, built on the backs of Black and Indigenous men. But this is not a story of exploitation, nor about whales.

This is a story about ancestry, dignity, memory, and human grit. A uniquely meritocratic and multicultural floating society emerged as a by-product of this industry, which improbably connected disparate geographies through bloodline and culture. From Cape Verde to Hawai’i and Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic, crews and officers who were (free) Black, Indigenous and other racialized men worked shoulder to shoulder with sailors from impoverished, politically oppressed backgrounds—Scottish, Irish, Basque, Azorean. For the whalers, exercising agency often meant choosing a perilous, displaced existence at sea over the poverty, tyranny, and colonial violence at home.

Their families and descendants in ports of call across the world remain human repositories of an under-recorded history of defiant resistance and human aspiration. This is their story. And ours.

Country: Cabo Verde/ Canada
Directors: P.J. Marcellino & Jerri Thrasher
Producer: Pedro Jose-Marcellino

“We People of the Islands”

Synopsis: In 1965, in a secret operation, a group of 31 young Cape Verdeans, including a woman, embarked for Cuba, in order to receive military training to free the country from the clutches of colonialism. A history of ideals, convictions, utopias, and betrayals. The portrait of a youth who launched into a utopian and almost impossible adventure, guided by the dream of the liberation of their country, believing another future was possible. This film sheds light on an important chapter in the history of Cape Verde, a history little known even to Cape Verdeans. The film begins in Cape Verde through personal interviews with the characters, where they share their memories. Intermixed with their stories, we’ll see personal and public archive materials found in colonising countries. In the end, we will discover the importance this group of young Cape Verdeans played in the struggle for national liberation.

Country: Cape Verde/ Mozambique
Director: Elson Santos and Lara Sousa
Producer: Lara Sousa and Elson Santos


Synopsis: SAKUDI tell the stories of the young queer community in Cape Verde.
Imanuel Tavares is a 22-year-old who lives in the suburban area of Praia City. Orphaned by his mother and father he reflects on the possibility of gender transition and becoming a woman.

Patrícia Soares is a 32-year-old transsexual woman registered by the name Patrick Soares, she was born with physical disability, she is deaf and deals with these two faces of discrimination.

Élis Évora is 27 years old, a native of São Vicente who had a conservative education that affects her personal relationships and who faced sexual harassment from her first male partner. Idania Neves is a non binary person who has lived in a homoaffective relationship for five years with Elis.

Vanisa Tomlinson is 22-years-old, baptized and educated within the principles of the Seventh-day Adventist religion and a person who deals with a strong spiritual connection to Adventist principles, but beyond the church still faces social prejudices and biphobia.
This film works visually on the rigidity of the architecture of the suburban areas and the cultural behavior of the individuals. The voice-off and Libra is the dialogue and sounds such as the batucada, tabanka or other symbols, will make the transition.

Country: Cape Verde
Director: Lolo Arziki
Producer: Natasha Craveiro R. Ceuninck

“The Widow of the Fist”

Synopsis: In 2008 in Maputo Province, 38-year-old Laura loses her husband Frank to terminal illness. She’s the mother of three children, fist wife and fearless. After her husband dies, she’s forced by his family to follow the traditional “kutchinga” ritual where she is purified in a sexual act by Frank’s younger brother Jaime. Laura refuses, as she still loves her husband and can’t imagine herself in the arms of another.

Laura is then accused of killing her husband to enjoy the financial benefits of being alone. She’s humiliated and kicked out from her own home, loses custody of her children and the fortune she had built with her husband. She goes back to Mother Marta’s house in the village where she starts from scratch. Laura finds she has great talent in business, and with a lawyer’s help she gets back her children and compensation from Frank’s family.

Country: Mozambique
Director: Natercia Chicane
Producer: Nancy Mary

“Vasco Martins and the Island of the Secret Sounds”

Synopsis: Vasco Martins is a wanderer, and as he roamed the beaches, plains, hills and towns of his beloved São Vicente Island he heard voices and sounds from the terrestrial to the marine to the environment of nature. Sounds. Sounds that inspired the music coming out of his mind…for the stave, for the synthesizers, sounds for the orchestras, in the form of magnificent symphonies that bloomed from the imaginary and transcendental rhythms of Cape Verde and of the world.
Vasco Martins is the only symphonist in Cape Verde, and his work has been performed in countries like Portugal, France, Australia, Colombia, Brazil, Czech Republic and Japan, among others.
To fulfill his golden journey, Martins has always been one of the great strivers for the conquest to name Morna, considered the national music of the islands, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and to celebrate the Day of Morna in honor of the greatest musical genre that deeply expresses the Cape Verdean soul.
This film is a feature-length documentary that exposes the creativity of a simple man, with a very complex mind, on an island, in a country with a very high improbability that this can even happen.
Modernist, avant-garde, progressive, surrealist? Yes, of course. But that’s Vasco Martins’ music… revolutionary and inspiring.
More than a film, an event that deserves to be explored.

Country: Cape Verde
Director: Helder Doca & Neu Lopes
Producer: Carlos Yuri Ceuninck