The Future of African Filmmaking Takes Centre stage at the 74TH Berlinale: European Film Market


By: Roxanne Francis



Our film industry has been dubbed “Africa’s most globally integrated and diversified economy” and it’s easy to see why. The recognition and platform given to the industry at the 74th Berlinale: European Film Market (EFM) once again positioned South Africa as a favourable film destination. In 2022, the *sector contributed R6.64 trillion (405, 8 billion USD) to the country’s GDP, bringing in $8.8 billion (USD) of total industry revenue, while boasting 750 cinema screens, the production of 400 local and international commercials and 150 international films (excluding TV productions).



“The total investment and direct contribution of the film industry to the economy of South Africa is projected at R3,86 billion and serves as conclusive evidence that there is an appetite for good stories in South Africa”, says Brand South Africa’s GM: Global Markets, Mr Jimmy Ranamane. “Platforms such as the Berlinale recognises South Africa for its exceptional skills within the film industry, its breathtaking locations for film production, and fosters co-production opportunities that could elevate the filmmakers’ vision”.



Despite the harrowing effects the global pandemic has had on the creative industry mere months before statistics were recorded, there was an upsurge of interest in the field.



Team South Africa, consisting of Brand South Africa through its Global South Africans programme, The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), Industrial Development Corporatin (IDC) Wesgro, The Durban Film Mart, KZN Film Commission and approximately local 14 filmmakers, brought all hands on deck at this year’s EFM in Berlin, Germany.



The EFM is a place where industry buzz words become action words: collaboration, co-production and untapped areas of creativity. “As we shape the sector and position South Africa as a film destination of choice, it is important to have a presence on such profound platforms such as the Berlinale”, says NFVF Acting CEO, Ms. Thobela Mayinje.



For this global event, the NFVF played a vital role in steering the value chain of filmmaking in South Africa, creating opportunities and forging beneficial and targeted partnerships through co-production programmes, Ms Mayinje added. The programme facilitated by the Foundation, focuses on training, as well as connecting filmmakers with co-production sales opportunities.



“Working in the co-production space and being able to access markets that would otherwise have posed as challenging, is important for SA filmmakers. Co-production does not only bring funds together, it also allows for a cultural exchange and gives us as filmmakers the opportunity to gain experience in the market”, says SA Director and filmmaker, Jacintha de Nobrega who made out part of Team SA in a bid to find a suitable co-production partner for her upcoming Norwegian film.



Brand South Africa’s mandate of promoting and positioning South Africa’s exceptional production facilities, cost competitiveness, quality infrastructure, efficient logistics, sophisticated financial market, customs and equipment and favourable weather conditions, was on full display. We acknowledge the partners who ensure that SA’s stories make it to the world’s stages and screens.




The African agenda at Berlinale was an unavoidable one, with the inaugural AfroBerlin dominating conversations like Navigating Filmmaking in Emerging Regions, Presenting the AfroPean identity in films: Historical figures & contemporary expression, In conversation with Tyron Ricketts: Telling stories with a long lasting social impact, Collaborating with European productions & financing African productions and From concept to reality or how to creatively fund a project: the case for an OTT, a documentary or a TV series.



In addition, the JETS Initiative (Junior Entertainment Talent Slate) which took place over two days, presented an opportunity to filmmakers and creatives like Producer and Director, Thabang Moleya to pitch their movie ideas to financiers, for opportunities in co-production in order to launch their projects.



Team South Africa’s agenda at the 74th Berlinale/EFM reinforced the importance of investing time, money, resources and talent in the creative industry, as we capture South African audiences the best way we know how – comedy, drama, inspiration and a sprinkle of suspense. The South African way.



*Additional Sources: NFVF/PwC