The 40 African Filmmakers Selected for Talents Durban 2015 The 36th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) has announced participants for the 8th edition of its Talents Durban initiative, which is presented in cooperation with the Berlin International Film Festival. The five day development program comprises of workshops and seminars for African filmmakers, delivered by film professionals, academics and intellectuals. The Talents, who are selected through a rigorous application process, will also have the opportunity to attend screenings and events at the Festival.

Presented this year with the theme, "Start Motion," Talents Durban 2015’s mission is to boost international awareness of and interest in filmmaking of the African continent, and to encourage young African filmmakers to pursue filmmaking, and tell their own stories, through their own individual lenses. 

The 40 selected filmmakers, who hail from 10 countries across the African continent – including South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Zambia and Cameroon – are: Oluwakemi Adesoye (Nigeria), Ssenkumba Adnan (Uganda), Lawrence Agbetsise (Ghana), Isabella Akinseye (Nigeria), Kassim Braimah (Nigeria), Bentley Brown (Tunisia), Lucky Nhlanhla Cele (South Africa), Karien Cherry (South Africa), Joanne Corrigall (South Africa), Angeline Dimingo (Zimbabwe), Daniel Ecwalu (Uganda), Daniella Esua (Nigeria), Polani Fourie (South Africa), Mehluli Hikwa (Zimbabwe), Benjamin Johnson (South Africa), Njata Joseph (Rwanda), Andrew Kaggwa (Uganda), Joel Kapungwe (Zambia), Godisamang Khunou (South Africa), Trent Kok (South Africa), Makundi Lambani (South Africa), Sheetal Megan (South Africa), Theoline Maphutha (South Africa), Francisca Meyer (South Africa), Ali Mwangola (Kenya), Samantha Nell (South Africa), Simphiwe Ngcobo (South Africa), John Nyoka (South Africa), Roselidah Obala (Kenya), Agbor Obed (Cameroon), Temotope Ogun (Nigeria), Olawale Oluwadahunsi (Nigeria), Kennedy Omoro (Kenya), Osei Owusu Banahene (Ghana), Davashni Rajoo (South Africa), Charne Simpson (South Africa), Samson Ssenkaaba (Unganda), Tendai Charles Tshuma (South Africa), Amy Van Den Houten (South Africa), Mark Wambui (Kenya).

Participants interact with over 600 film industry delegates during the co-production and finance forum, which takes place from July 17 to 20 at the festival. Also, selected participants get to be a part of numerous project-oriented, hands on skills development programs, including: Talent Press, Script Station and Doc Station.

– Talent Press is presented in cooperation with Fipresci, an association of professional film critics and film journalists from around the world, which lobbies for the promotion and development of film culture. The program invites four critics to cover the films and events of the Durban International Film festival for online and print publication. The four participants are: Andrew Kaggwa, Oluwale Oluwadahunsi, Isabella Akinseye and Kennedy Omoro. They will be mentored by film writers/reviewers Sarah Dawson, Oris Aigbokhaevbolo, Debashine Thangevelo and Shaibu Hussein.

– Script station is a script development program for short films which pairs four writers with script editors who assist in clarifying story and getting to an advanced draft of their script. The participants this year are: John Nyoka, Mark Wambui, Quwakemi Adesoye and Polani Fourie. The mentors for the program are Tracey Dearham-Rainers and Karima Effendi.

– DOC station selects three documentary projects in development for coaching and mentoring towards participation in a public pitch at the DFM’s (Durban Film Mart’s) pitching forum, The African Pitch. Participants are given mentoring prior to pitching, to prep them. Doc Station participants are: Bentley Brown, Sheetal Megan and Tendayi Tshuma. And the producer mentor is Odette Geldenhuys. They will each receive additional mentorship from Andy Jones, Jihan El Tahri and Khalo Matabane.

Talents Durban will take place form July 17 – 21 as part of the 36th Durban International Film Festival (July 16 – 26 ). The 40 selected participants from all over Africa will be given a chance to forge relationships with their global counterparts in an intensive program of seminars, hands-on training, workshops and industry networking activities, as well as having access to hundreds of film screenings at the 36th DIFF. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from some, if not all, of the above filmmaker talents in the future, as each develops and progresses.