News on the march..… definitely something I’ll be keeping an eye on, and reporting as things develop. It immediately reminded me of the Spanish/Al-Jazeera co-production forum we reported on earlier this year in which 10 African filmmakers were to pitch their new film projects to Spanish film producers and TV commissioning editors including representatives of Al-Jazeera Documentary Channel – an event that took place as part of the Tarifa African Film Festival in Spain, in June.

Now that I’m reminded of it, I’ll have to go do some digging after this to find out what the outcome of that forum was.

Co-productions between African filmmakers and European production houses/financiers certainly aren’t new. Several African films we’ve talked about on this site fall under that umbrella; like Viva Riva!, for example – which was a Congolese, French, Belgian and South African co-production, funded by Canal Plus and Belgium’s film fund.

From Variety:

The Locarno Film Festival’s Open Doors co-production mart will focus on French-speaking Sub-Saharan Africa this year.

The prominent Swiss fest has recruited African cinema specialist Alex Moussa Sawadogo, who is director of Berlin’s AfriKamera film festival, as consultant in selecting a dozen participating projects to be announced in May 2012.

Open Doors this year is open to submissions from: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Djbouti, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles and Togo.

Purpose of the mart/workshop, which will run Aug. 4-7, is to help selected projects connect with co-production partners, especially European producers.

Open Doors also assigns a prize worth 50.000 Swiss Francs ($58,000), and other smaller cash nods offered by Gaul’s CNC and broadcaster ARTE.

Previous editions of Open Doors have focused on Central Asia, Greater China and, last year, India.

Locarno, which is dedicated to indie pics and cutting-edge fare, will have its 65th edition Aug. 1-11.

As I said, I’ll be paying attention to this from here on, and I’ll report on any progress.