NFVF gets some new blood

Zama Mkosi.

Zama Mkosi.

The NFVF has been mandated by the government to develop and promote the South African film industry both domestically and internationally.

Mkosi has an impressive career in the industry: first-hand experience as an executive producer on TV shows such as Heartlines and Hopeville, work as a senior legal advisor at the Industrial Development Corporation media and movies unit. She studied intellectual-property law in Geneva, The Hague, Stockholm and Harare, and has been listed  by the Hollywood Reporter as one of the “most influential young women in the media in Africa”.

You have both production and legal experience in film and TV.  How does this affect the way you see your role as NFVF chief?

I would like to see the NFVF consolidating the good work it has done so far for the industry. It has been instrumental in building up the local industry with various training, policy, marketing and funding initiatives.
I would like to develop further our strong partnerships with departments such as the department of arts and culture so we can influence policy to a greater degree. Regarding the industry itself, some people do not understand what the NFVF is here for and have been critical of it. We need to allay those fears and engage and share our objectives and values.

You have said that the industry is too isolationist and that it needs to integrate with other businesses.

I would like to engage more with the private and business sectors. Synergies and partnerships can be formed for the benefit of both.

What do you see as some of the main challenges?

Training and skills development. This area needs a lot more focus, and this can be achieved through more funding opportunities. The NFVF has numerous training programmes for producers, such the Sediba advanced international financing programme, for writers, [and] the Spark screenplay programme, to name two. We also offer bursaries for people wishing to study filmmaking here and abroad. The critical thing is to develop a self-sustaining industry. Although the NFVF gets funding from the treasury, it must also look at ways to become more self-sufficient and to create sustainability. Filmmakers need to be more business-minded and look at the long-term objectives of their companies, not just one-off films. We need to create more exhibitor platforms — the NFVF has engaged in a digital roll-out platform strategy that will help build local audiences.

What are the NFVF’s expectations of filmmakers’ responsibilities?

They must balance the creative and business aspects of their work, and show they are not only committed to the completion of their projects and the creation of revenue streams but also growing their business ventures. They should not see NVFV funding as a commission but as an investment in their project.

What would you like to see in terms of industry development?

One area that is very important is animation. The revenues can be substantial and the reach wide. The animation industry employs many people on one film, so there is the added benefit of job opportunities. On our co-production market, the industry has grown phenomenally from co-production treaties we have with various other countries such as Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Britain, New Zealand, Australia and, most recently, Ireland. But we need to develop real co-productions, not just service agreements.

What do you like in a movie?

I want to see myself and my experiences reflected. We need to tell our own stories, but I would like to see more films that are contemporary. I want to be entertained. Some of my top South African films are Tsotsi, Jerusalema, White Wedding and How to Steal 2-Million. The NFVF is committed to continued investment in great South African stories and to see them reach a local and global audience.

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