Out of Africa

Claire Diao, participant of the 2012 Durban talent Press, interviews Nashen Moodley, who was the manager of the Durban International Film Festival for 11 years and is now the director of the Sydney Film Festival.

Nashen Moodley (far left) with his colleagues at the Press and Publicity panel of the Durban Talent Campus.

After eleven years working for DIFF, why did you move to Australia?

It was something really exciting for me – a new festival with such a large audience – 122 000 people this year. The income from the ticket sales is incredibly important and vital to the festival's success and I wanted to work within that kind of context. And also, to work within the context of marketing and micro-marketing, finding niche audiences for particular films. That also means that I'm learning quite a lot more about the film festival business.

What do you miss about the Durban Film Festival?

Well, I'm here, so there's nothing to miss! It's great to see the festival going on with the time, to see so many people. Of course, I miss my colleagues and the constant interaction I had with South African filmmakers, but I try to keep a connection with the African film industry as far as possible.

What good experiences from Durban did you bring to Sydney?

I think one of the things we did with Durban over the years, was to have hundreds of filmmakers attend DIFF. This year, there are loads of people attending the festival, going to FilmMart, Talent Campus or Talent Press. The first year I worked for the festival, 11 years ago, we had one guest - a single filmmaker. Sydney is far away from other places so travelling there is not always easy, but I would like to increase the number of filmmakers from other countries.

Has the focus on African film increased at the Sydney Film Festival, since you took over the reins?

I think there's been more focus on Africa and Asia. There's a slight reconfiguration in the programming style but I think I programmed more films from Asia and Africa than, say, independent American films.