Africa's Biggest Content Market Discop, New Film Fest Look to Put Johannesburg on the Map

Johannesburg - Getty H 2016
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The Joburg Film Festival coincides with the three-day TV market, which is expecting more than 2,500 industry delegates.

The annual Discop Africa market, which opens Wednesday in Johannesburg, is looking to highlight what South Africa's biggest city has to offer for the entertainment industry in partnership with a new film festival, the Oct. 28-Nov. 5 Joburg Film Festival, taking place at the same time as Africa’s biggest TV content market.

"The partnership is really focused on trying to put Johannesburg on the map," said Patrick Zuchowicki, general manager of Basic Lead, the organizer of the Discop Africa market, which takes place at the city's Sandton Convention Center.

Discop Africa, which launched in 2008, is this year expecting more than 2,500 industry delegates for three days of business and socalizing. The event’s expanded floor plan is set to welcome 250-plus global and regional sellers of feature films, TV content, adaptation rights and packaged channels.

“Over 10,000 hours of prime programming at affordable prices will be offered across a floor plan that is now 100 percent sold out,”said Zuchowicki.

Meanwhile, Discop is this year putting a spotlight on the U.S. as its guest country, "recognizing the growth in collaboration between Africa and the USA." Among others, Turner is teaming with South African industry group Animation SA for the first-ever Kids’ Animation Pitching Competition.

Joburg Film Festival director Pedro Pimenta called the partnership with Discop a way to develop “talent and industry … organically in a balanced eco-system," adding: "In this age of convergence, it seems only appropriate to stimulate creative conversations between players both at creative and industry levels."

The film fest opened on Friday with Mandela’s Gun, a documentary-thriller hybrid directed by British helmer John Irvin. It will close on Saturday with the African premiere of Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation.

Companies in attendance at Discop include A&E Networks, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Canal+ Plus, China's CCTV, CBS Studios International, Fox International Channels, NBCUniversal International Networks, Sky News, Sony Pictures Television, Televisa Internacional, Turner and Viacom International Media Networks.

“Held twice a year in South Africa and in Cote D’Ivoire, Discop Africa offers the perfect platform to highlight and develop the latest trends and opportunities throughout the region and we’re delighted to see so many attendees confirmed from across the world," said Zuchowicki.

He added: "From Africa’s DTT transition gathering speed and the rapidly emerging role Francophone Africa plays in intra-regional co-production partnerships, to the increasing strategic importance of Africa for global television, this latest edition will showcase a vibrant industry which continues to go from strength to strength on the international stage.”