The inaugural Durban FilmMart gave its Hubart Bals Fund Award, with Euros 5,000, to Jenna Cato Bass for her project Tok Tokkie.

The prize is given to “the most promising African project presented at the DFM,” and the cash will go towards script and project development.

A total of 80 projects (both fiction and documentary) were submitted for the DFM, with 12 selected. Countries represented included South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia and Burkina Faso.

Durban, which ran July 23-26 allied with the Durban International Film Festival, is one of only two co-production markets in Africa. This inaugural year welcomed 185 delegates from 16 countries.

The jury selecting the winner was comprised of Matthew Plouffe of Focus Features; Peace Anyiam-Osigwe of the Africa FilmAcademy and Iwana Chronis of the Hubert Bals Fudn.

Chronis said: “Although the jury’s decision was unanimous, it was a tough choice because all the projects have enormous promise in some way.  “Tok Tokkie is fresh, innovative and original as well as having enormous commercial promise, that could appeal to South African, African and international audiences alike. In addition, we felt that theEuros 5,000 prize would really make a significant difference to this project.”

Tok Tokkie is described as a lo-fi, sci-fi noir, set during one night in Cape Town, following a team of misfits who serve as the city’s only ghost welfare unit.

”As a result of the meetings and connections made at DFM we hope that film financiers will be successful in identifying fundable African projects that will ultimately find their way to the big screen,” said Peter Rorvik, director of the Centre for Creative Arts and Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) and joint organiser of the DFM.  “Feedback from the funders and financiers in attendance is that the standard of the projects was very high and the producers and directors were well prepared, as a result of the input they had received from the master-classes and one-one meetings with the specialist speakers.”

CineMart Rotterdam’s Marit van den Elshout served as DFM’s international liason. She said: “It provides a focal point for international players to interface and engage about global trends affecting and ultimately impacting on how Africa accesses the global marketplace. Running a film festival and co-production market in tandem is essential to the success of a market of this nature for the long-term.”