Ster Kinekor, the SouthAfrican distribution and exhibition conglomerate, is to expand its commitmentto the DV8 digital film-making combine headed by Jeremy Nathan and Joel Phirie.

Ster-Kinekor, which hadpreviously made distribution commitments to DV8 on a picture-by-picture basis,has now committed to bankroll the operation's next ten features and to bebecome an equity investor in the titles.

DV8's other partners, theNational Film and Video Federation (NFVF) and broadcaster SABC2, will alsoextend their support, with NFVF notably adding Ryan Haidarian to the firm'sgreenlight panel.

DV8 was started two yearsago with the ambition of making a slate of 12 low-budget films, with thepartners agreeing to finance them in bundles of four per year. It has so fardelivered two, Teddy Mattera's Max And Mona and Ian Gabriel's Forgivenessand now has eight in active development.

"We are incredibly excitedby our partners' continued commitment to the Dv8 films. Our first 18 months hasbeen about getting started, learning to walk. The renewed support offered bythe NFVF, SABC2 and the exciting Ster-Kinekor relationship will allow us toconsolidate our strategies, and concentrate on producing and distributingbetter local films," said Phirie and Nathan. "Our emphasis to date has been ondevelopment and production, but this will grow quickly to include both localdistribution and international sales."

Ster-Kinekor released Forgiveness on seven prints and launchedit on DVD on 1 Nov. Max and Mona willbe distributed on 22 Feb 2005 on a wide a 32 print release.

"Each film's releasestrategy must fit the content and audience profile. The SABC marketing supportis invaluable to help the films succeed at the box office, since individualfilms will have a marketing campaign that rolls out on a level that would notbe possible under any other circumstances." said Ster-Kinekor's marketingmanager for local content Helen Kuun,

"DV8 has completed the firstphase of its three year plan. Within this phase we have seen remarkableachievements from DV8's slate," said Eddie Mbalo, CEO of the NFVF. " As anadvocate for development of film in South Africa we feel that South Africaneeds to increase the volume of film product. DV8 has taken a stand in ensuringthat this objective is achieved."