Five South African films will be screened at the prestigious Festival de Cannes along with content from the African Diaspora between Tuesday, 14 until Saturday, 25 May.
A dedicated exhibition stand will be set up to showcase content that highlights the diversity and plurality of African Film and television, under the banner of ‘Pavillon Afrique.’
Focused on the business of film in Africa and within the African diaspora, Pavillon Afrique aims to leverage recent industry advancements that are shaping African storytelling and the continent’s motion-picture business.
This group of African Filmmakers, which hails from 15 African countries, will be supported by the South African National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF).
Festival de Cannes is the world’s largest gathering of film industry professionals who come to sell films, find partners and expand their professional network. Now in its 72nd year, the festival is an important highlight on the global film festival calendar, bringing together filmmakers from across the globe to premiere new content.
The NFVF’s delegation of 11 filmmakers will be led by the newly appointed Chief Executive, Makhosazana Khanyile and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).
“The Festival de Cannes serves as a great platform to showcase not only South African content and talent but to also raise awareness around what we, as the African continent, can offer the world,” says Khanyile.
“Pavillon Afrique is about showcasing the interconnectivity of the African experience. As a continental block, we recognise that real strength lies in collective bargaining, shared skills and collaboration,” she adds.
The IDC is responsible for promoting sustainable, industrial development and innovation for the benefit of all South Africans and the rest of Africa.
“The film and television industry has great potential to be a catalyst for substantive growth and development in South Africa. International festivals like Cannes, provide the perfect platform to promote South Africa as a world-class filming and co-production destination,” says Maijang Mpherwane, the Head of the Media and Audio-visual Strategic Business Unit at the IDC.
South Africa will feature strongly in the documentary segment of the festival, with four films selected to be screened at the 'Doc Corner', a dedicated venue and tailored programme honouring the essential role documentaries play in contemporary societies.
The four documentaries scheduled for screening include The Rise, The Colonel’s Stray Dogs, African Warrior Queen and Influence. “We are excited to share films that give the world a small window into the inner workings of South African society. In today’s fake news era, documentary films are a powerful tool for shining a light on and driving the debate around important issues affecting the world,” Khanyile says.
One of only three films selected to be screened at Cannes is Lace, a short film produced by VIVA Pictures which follows Garvey, a man hopelessly in love, on the night he plans to propose to his girlfriend. However, what should be a night of excitement turns into a night of tragedy, which through technology, he relives over and over again.
Lace represents a new wave in South African cinema in which more diverse genres and film styles are coming to the fore and achieving international acclaim. Kgosi Chuene, Director and Writer of Lace says to emerge second overall, out of a total of 5 000 global submissions is a massive confidence booster.
“It proves that we can compete with the very best in the world. By telling compelling and uniquely African stories that resonate with international audiences, we realise that we could help change the way the world views Africa,” Chuene says.
Beyond the glitz and glam associated with Cannes, the festival is an important networking event for the global film industry. Niche distributors that specialise in purchasing foreign, art-house, and other dedicated film categories, often make their most important deals at the annual festival.