Documentary Filmmaker Don Edkins on ‘Creating an African Voice’ 

Variety | 7/20/2019 | Christopher Vourlias
Click For Photo: https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/don-edkins.jpg?crop=0px,948px,3264px,1839px&resize=700,393

DURBAN–For the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, a new strand was created to look at the unique challenges and opportunities facing documentary filmmakers in Africa.

The two-day program, Durban Does Docs, offers a series of conversations, seminars and workshops with an intensive focus on the aesthetics, funding, distribution and audience development of documentary films on the continent. Sessions include a roundtable with international documentary festival programmers, and a panel discussion with commissioning editors from a host of African and international broadcasters, including ARTE and the BBC.

Program - Friday - Don - Edkins - Veteran

To open the program on Friday, Don Edkins, the veteran filmmaker and executive director of non-profit group Steps, addressed the importance of community in documentary filmmaking, as well as its potential to galvanize people across Africa.

“For me, in my work as a filmmaker and producer, the documentary genre has a particular role,” he said. “It’s about real people, about real situations, about looking at the state of our societies, about challenging the status quo, and making it possible to talk about difficult issues, and also about inspiring people.”

Edkins - Career - World - Days - Freelance

Edkins reflected on his long career in the documentary world, from his early days as a freelance photographer to his first films about how migrant labor was destroying families in Lesotho. After joining a loose collective of filmmakers documenting the effects of apartheid in South Africa and neighboring countries, he learned “how as a group, as a community, we could do more by focusing on one issue, have more voices speaking together but from different perspectives and experiences.”

Several years later, Edkins would bring that lesson to bear on a monumental project focused on the HIV and AIDS crisis affecting southern and eastern Africa in the 1990s. “The documentary films being made about it were being made by European and American filmmakers,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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