Durban Wild Talk Africa
April 19 to 23, 2009 in Durban
ROSCAR Awards submission deadline: November 28, 2008
Web link for entry form: www.wildtalkafrica.com/roscar_docs/ROSCAR_AWARD_ENTRY_FORM_2009.doc
Festival programmer: Sophie Vartan, festival director and head of the Natural History Unit of Africa
What is your programming mandate?
Ultimately, we are looking for originality and producers have the opportunity of entering their productions into our 12 ROSCAR Award categories [which include best editing, best newcomer and best natural history production with a limited budget].
Which film stood out from your most recent fest?
Undoubtedly the winner of our Best of Festival ROSCAR Award, The Queen of Trees, produced by Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble. It is a remarkable story of an African fig tree and its dependence on an extraordinary relationship. I enjoyed it immensely.
How has the mainstream obsession with the green movement affected your festival?
For the 2007 festival, delegates wanted us to incorporate conservation issues. We therefore invited our South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, to speak at the opening event. We screened Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The 11th Hour to a packed audience. Because of the interest, there will be more of a focus on conservation issues, and seminars will include discussions about how the filmmaking industry can work together with conservation groups.
What are some of the biggest challenges in putting on the festival?
We have attendees from Animal Planet, National Geographic, NHK and local broadcasters SABC and e.tv, [as well as] the top South African wildlife filmmaking production companies. Our biggest challenge is to have more international delegates attend the festival. To encourage them, we will be organizing pre- and post-tours for delegates to visit the Big Five game reserves, which are in close proximity to the festival’s venue, ICC Durban.