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Durban FilmMart Welcomes Netflix As Programme Partner For 11th Edition

Netflix, the World’s leading streaming entertainment service, has joined the Durban FilmMart as a new programme partner to the 11th edition of Africa’s premier film industry event which will host its virtual edition from 4 to 13 September 2020.

With 193 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries, and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages, Netflix has, in recent times, expanded their African content and distribution in line with global trends as the consumption of content transcending borders increases.

Netflix lead for African Originals,, Dorothy Ghettuba, and Director of Licensing and Co-Productions in Africa, Ben Amadasun will present a session: Netflix: Made by Africans, Watched by the World – Netflix on taking Africa’s stories to the World in which they unpack Netflix content ecosystem as well as how the team works with local creators to bring their stories to the global streaming service.

Netflix lead for African Originals, Dorothy Ghettuba, and Director of Licensing and Co-Productions in Africa, Ben Amadasun will present a session: Netflix: Made by Africans, Watched by the World – Netflix on taking Africa’s stories to the World at the 11th Durban FilmMart virtual edition (4 – 13 September).

Another panel, titled Africa’s Future is Female – Women Filmmakers on Centering Women in our Narratives will feature dynamic women creatives and producers in a conversation about representation of African women’s narratives on popular media.

Since its 2016 launch on the continent, Netflix has added hundreds of local licensed content from South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Senegal, Angola, Ghana, Malawi and many other African countries. In early 2018, Netflix announced its intention to“amplify local voices to bring new, diverse and never-before-seen stories from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) to the world …believing that great stories can come from anywhere and that some of the world’s best content creators are in EMEA.” By doing this, Netflix nearly doubled the number of produced shows and its investment since the previous year..

Since the announcement, Netflix has added two Originals from South Africa to its offering with the premiere of its first script-to-screen production, Queen Sono, earlier this year, created by South African Kagiso Lediga,and starring Pearl Thusi in the leading role as well as Blood & Water, a young-adult series directed by Nosipho Dumisa and starring a diverse cast of new and established talent like Ama Qamata, Khosi Ngema and Gail Mabalane. Other originals announced by the service include JIVA! a dance drama series from South Africa by Busisiwe Ntintili, an animated series Mama K’s Team 4, a ground-breaking partnership with Nigeria’s Mo Abudu for multiple originals and licensed projects and a yet-untitled six-part original series by Akin Omotoso. Lediga and Omotoso will feature in a panel discussion at DFM about their journeys in making their series for Netflix. In addition, Nosipho Dumisa will feature in a discussion around African storytelling.

“We know that great storytelling transcends borders. We have seen this is the success of both our original and licensed series, films and documentaries,” says Amadasun. “These stories from different countries, languages, and cultures are finding a worldwide platform, expanding our local filmmakers’ and talents’ audience base. We are really pleased to be partnering with the DFM, as it brings us closer to the African creative community with whom we can engage, exchange knowledge with and possibly partner with to create great African stories that will be watched by the world.”

“Netflix is one of the most significant role players in the development of the film industry on the continent, and the world, and its reach is expanding exponentially, so we are delighted that they are partnering with us to share their insights with African filmmakers at the DFM,” says Toni Monty, Head of the DFM. “This is a great opportunity for independent professionals and emerging filmmakers to understand Netflix’s vision for African stories, and how it drives, creates, and selects content.”

The DFM takes place online and registration is open at this link: www.durbanfilmmart.co.za/Brave-New-Cinema-2020.aspx

The Durban FilmMart 2020 is produced by the Durban FilmMart Institute with principal funding from the Durban Film Office and Ethekwini Municipality. The DFM 2020 virtual event is supported by the National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, Film and Publications Board, Gauteng Film Commission, IEFTA, Institut Francais – South Africa, Wesgro/Film Cape Town and Namibian Film Commission with the following programme partners – Berlinale Talent, Documentary Filmmakers Association, DOK.fest München, Dok Leipzig, FidaDoc, Hot Docs Blue Ice Fund, Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Independent Producers Organisation, Miradas Doc, Netflix, Norwegian South Film Fund, Produire au Sud, Rotterdam, Cinemart, Realness Institute, San Francisco Black Film Festival, SASFED, SWIFT, TRT 12 Punto, Writers Guild of South Africa, University of Cape Town’s Screen Incubator programme.

Biographies of Netflix representatives:

Dorothy Ghettuba

Dorothy is the Manager of African Originals in Africa at Netflix. In May 2019, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed her to chair the Kenya Film Commission for a three year period. The commission was established in 2005 to develop a vibrant local film and TV industry and position Kenya as a preferred filming destination for sustainable wealth and job creation. Dorothy is the founder and CEO of the Nairobi-based Spielworks Media, an African production company launched in 2009. Through her experience she is dedicated to developing creative talent, creating quality content and telling authentic African stories that resonate and engage audiences.

Ben Amadasun

Ben is the Director of Licensing for Africa at Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service. In Ben’s role, he nurtures key partnerships and drives the licensing strategy across Africa to support Netflix’s membership growth and streaming rates on the continent. His portfolio includes sourcing local programming that is relevant for the region and acquiring global rights for shows and movies from Africa. Ben is an accomplished media business leader with valuable experience in Africa, having filled various strategic roles on the continent, ranging from developing compelling business cases and driving growth of subscription-model television and free-to-air services. He has more than 20 years’ experience in business strategy and consulting, as well as a professional background in investment banking. Prior to joining Netflix, Ben was the senior vice president and CEO of Econet’s Kwese Free TV, working across the borders of various Sub-Saharan African countries. He enjoyed a successful stint at Modern Times Group’s TV1 in Tanzania, where he served as CEO and Head of Scripted Development.

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers.

Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry.

Catch him on Twitter: twitter.com/andrewgerm_za
And IMDb: www.imdb.com/name/nm5390453/