Every November, Hollywood’s wheelers and dealerscongregate on the picturesque seaside city of Santa Monica in California, all seeking to buy or sell the next great movie that will make ripples internationally. The American Film Market has been described as the gateway into the North American film and television industry – a gateway that leads into the rest of the world. All the major studios and agencies are represented here, and from time to time, even A-list actors and directors put in a technical appearance to boost the sales efforts of their teams.
Caught up in this melee is Hear Me Move, South Africa’s first dance film. The film’s writer and co-producer, Fidel Namisi, travelled to AFM to meet with some sales agents who are interested in getting the film to global audiences even before its official release in South Africa.
“It’s really quite something being in this place,” says Namisi. “From my hotel room, I can make out the iconic Hollywood sign on the hills in the distance. As a writer, it feels kind of weird being in the birth place of so many great scripts. As a producer, it’s a great learning opportunity to get a closer insight into how films are made. I’m really grateful to the DTI and the Association of Transformation in Film and Television for this opportunity.”
The American Film Market doesn’t only involve the buying and selling of completed films. It’s also the place where lots of deals between producers and financiers are initiated or finalized. Some of the upcoming projects being discussed at the 2014 AFM include Al Pacino’s Retribution, Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and Woody Allen’s new comedy starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone. “When you come to AFM, it makes you realize just how tiny the South African film industry is. It’s a very good reality check that makes me realize how much more work is yet to be done,” says Namisi.
Hear Me Move has already struck up quite a lot of interest amongst American distributors. “The tricky thing is finding the right partner for the film,” says Namisi. “We’ve had several offers already for US distribution, which we are considering. But for us the main thing is taking the time to carefully select the company that best understands what this film is really about. It’s much more than a dance film. It’s got a touching story, framed by dance. That’s not easy to do. Which is why to this day I still congratulate Scott (director Scottnes L. Smith) on a job masterfully done.”
Hear ME Move will hit cinemas in February 27th 2015.