Photo: Africa Geographic

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has for the first time thrown its support behind the Nature, Environment and Wildlife Filmmakers Congress (NEWF) taking place at the Durban Botanic Gardens this week

The NFVF and NEWF share a common objective of growing content in the film and television industry, particularly content that tells unique African narratives.

The NFVF is an agency of the Arts and Culture Department, created to ensure the equitable growth of South Africa’s film and video industry. In its role as the national film funding body, the NFVF said it was important to be at the centre of conversations and initiatives pertaining to the film industry.

NEWF is a hub where wildlife and adventure filmmakers, photographers, scientists and conservationists in Africa converge to have robust conversations about how films can be effectively utilised in natural resource conservation.

The congress offers best practice sharing opportunities, a skills transfer platform and a space to recognise excellence in the wildlife genre.

NFVF acting chief executive Shadrack Bokaba said: “Our mandate is clear – it is to afford people who did not previously have access to the film industry an opportunity to participate in the industry.”

The wildlife genre had many barriers to entry for an average South African filmmaker, Bokaba added, and it was the foundation’s responsibility, as a national film body, to engage with experts in this field, understand its challenges, potential and gaps, to make the necessary strategic interventions to change and develop it.

A group of emerging filmmakers and students were given an opportunity to attend the congress, with the hope of nourishing their interest in wildlife filmmaking. The NEWF programme offers a stimulating variety of topics, focusing on current trends, the future and placing the spotlight on award-winning South African productions, one of which is a Saftas 12 winner.

Conservation practitioners who work closely with Mozambican and South African communities affected by the illegal wildlife trade and the crime syndicates that drive it, share their thoughts and experiences – the processes of underwater filmmaking will be discussed, as well as the impacts of colonialism and apartheid – and the perception that conservation is a “white thing”.