The third Durban FilmMart wrapped with a host of monetary awards given to documentary and feature film projects by African filmmakers.
Durban Film Office head Toni Monty, addressing more than 400 delegates Monday on the market's closing night, said that its growth over the past three years is "a major indication that we are addressing the needs and challenges relevant to African cinema."
One of those awards came from Arte France, and went to Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu (Pumzi) and producer Steven Markovitz (Viva Riva! and more) for a feature film project titled Jambula Tree – a South African-Kenya co-production.
Plot details on Jambula Tree are being kept under wraps for now, although we can tell you that, broadly, it centers on 2 Kenyan girls, on 2 different paths, and the difficult decisions each has to make about the life each leads, and the ramifications of those choices.
The Arte France $7,300 prize was awarded for best feature project presented at the FilmMart, to a film that was also at the Cannes Film Market earlier this year, and is scheduled to go into production in 2013.
Steven Markovitz has certainly become quite the producing force in Africa, with Viva Riva!'s success, as well as upcoming initiatives like the ImagiNations Pan-African project, as well as African Metropolis, and Djo Munga's next feature, the China/DRC project Inspector Lou.
And Wanuri Kahiu is a filmmaker we've had our eyes on since the debut of her acclaimed sci-fi short Pumzi, produced under the Focus Features Africa First program some 3 years ago.
Let's hope Jambula Tree gets all the financing it needs, and Ms Kahiu is able to get behind the camera again and wow us.