In a major film industry collaborative effort among Climate Story Lab South Africa, Doc Society – Climate Story Unit, STEPS, and the Global Impact Producers Alliance (GIPA), the five are set to host a festival dubbed, Climate Focus, at this year’s Durban FilmMart which takes place from July 19 to 22.

Seven Kenyan filmmakers, editors and content creators will attend the event. These include:-

  • Wanja Emily – Director – African Programmes, Impact Producer (Kenya)
  • Miriam Ayoo – Co-Coordinator, Global Impact Producers Alliance (GIPA) (Kenya)
  • Pete Murimi – Co-Director – The Battle for Laikipia, Development Executive Producer, BBC
  • Africa Eye (Kenya)
  • Cindy Makandi – Founder | Director, Tunga Afrika (Kenya)
  • Simeon Letoole – Human Rights Activist & Protagonist: Battle for Laikipia Film (Kenya)
  • James Smart – Managing Editor, Nation Media Group (Kenya)

Climate Focus promises stimulating sessions to seek tangible approaches to communicate the climate-crisis through film with panel discussions, hands-on dialogues around potential impact strategies to effect change through film, brainstorming sessions, and networking opportunities for film industry participants creating content for this sector.

Emily Wanja, who is Director of African Programmes at Doc Society – Climate Story Unit, says, “This climate focus at DFM is part of Climate Story Unit’s commitment to support transformative storytelling that advances a climate just and biodiverse future by storytellers, impact producers, and movement builders.

“Collectively we can envision, experiment and share how an abundant world for all could look like. DFM provides an opportunity to strengthen partnerships across the information ecosystem on the continent for this work to thrive.”

In the session titled Partnerships and Pathways to Reach Audiences, the need for collective focus and political will to effectively address climate change will be unpacked and paralleled with the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa, where miscommunication, denialism, and fake news hindered efforts to change behaviour and create impactful solutions.

The progress in reducing HIV/AIDS-related deaths was achieved through collective efforts.

The panel will address how the climate crisis needs a similar collective effort from all sectors including filmmakers through innovative partnerships with funders, broadcasters, and alternative distribution models, decentralised to unlock impactful audience reach.
Nadine Cloete (NFVF), James Smart (Nation Media Group), Pete Murimi (BBC Africa Eye), Noel Kok (NEWF), Nonto Sibanyoni (Sunshine Cinema), Theresa Hill/Tiny Mungwe (STEPS) and Cindy Makandi (Tunga Afrika) will take part in this session with Miki Redelinghuys (Climate Story Lab ZA) as moderator.

In a practical tool-kit-styled approach the session Impact Strategy in Action aims to equip impact producers with the insights necessary to create effective impact strategies.

The panel will explore key issues such as identifying target audiences, setting measurable goals, leveraging partnerships, and maximising impact through media and outreach efforts.

Tiny Mungwe (STEPS) moderates this session which features Emily Wanja (Thank You For The Rain Impact Producer), Rumbi Katedza (Transactions Director) and Anita Khanna (Temperature Rising Co-Director).

Well-known impact producers and strategists Liani Maasdorp (Climate Story Lab ZA), Emily Wanja (Doc Society), Nasreen Al Amin (Climate Story Lab Lagos) and Tiny Mungwe will feature on the panel in the Impact Hackathon moderated by Miriam Ayoo (Global Impact Producers Alliance).

One of the Africa Labs Showcase projects which has been working with mentors during the DFM, will participate in a high-energy, interactive session to unpack the impact potential of the film.

Aspiring impact producers will also have an opportunity to connect with GIPA members at a session at the DFM, to find out more about joining GIPA which nurtures the work of the unique, often overlooked, but powerful community of impact producers.

In a practical session Who’s Watching Our Films? Alternative Distribution Mapping, Doc Society – Climate Story Unit, CSL ZA, STEPS, DOCA, TUNGA Afrika partner in a session moderated by Cindy Makandi (Tunga Afrika) to ignite an initiative they have started to help film industry professionals to unlock both existing, new and effective distribution pathways to ensure stories reach the people they are meant for.

In this session, they will map out alternative distribution avenues that extend beyond conventional routes. The goal is to create an open-source model that filmmakers can use to discover viable distribution partners across the continent.

Award-winning impact producer Anita Khanna, (Uhuru Productions), says, “It’s shocking how little attention is being given to the biggest threat humanity has ever faced, but we know as activists that this is often because people face many challenges that are more immediate to them.
If we can use our artistry and our campaigns to, at the very least, keep people fully informed of what the climate emergency means to them, and at most, get people motivated to organise around climate demands, then we will see some serious movement. It’s a thing that artists have done in the past, around vital social matters, we need to be doing it now, on steroids.”