DeWalt developing international mentorship program

Minds Eye Entertainment principal Kevin DeWalt has piloted an international producer mentorship program that he plans to turn into a worldwide initiative to support filmmakers in developing countries.

On his latest film, Faces in the Crowd, which just wrapped a one-month Winnipeg shoot earlier this week, DeWalt, with the support of his coproducers (Forecast Pictures and Radar Films of France and Winnipeg’s Frantic Films) invited Nigerian filmmaker Temitope Ekundayo Idowu on set as an observer.

‘His intention is to build up the quality of production in Nigeria so I got the idea that he should observe a Canadian picture being made,’ explains DeWalt, who is currently President of the International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers (IQ), a worldwide networking organization made up of over 100 filmmakers from 60 countries.

IQ sponsors the cost of bringing filmmakers from developing countries to their annual conference and DeWalt met Idowu through this sponsorship program.

Cast and crew of Faces in the Crowd helped raise the money to bring Idowu to Canada for the shoot through raffles and draws.

‘It was a wonderful experience for me and very inspiring,’ says Idowu, who is a director and producer and runs his own production company in Lagos, Nigeria.

‘Everyone was so charitable in giving me the benefit of their expertise which was amazing,’ he adds. ‘Back home we have challenges in terms of access, funding and skillset so this opportunity will help me adapt what I have learned for my own work. I’m all fired up now.’

In particular, Idowu says the opportunity to learn more about shooting on digital formats, including the RED camera, was incredibly valuable, as he is looking at ways to increase the production values of Nigerian films.

‘It is challenging to work on 35mm because of the lack of labs in Nigeria so the best option is HD formats,’ he says. ‘If we have a good understanding of how it works and the technology behind it we can produce some outstanding works.’

DeWalt now wants to make sure other filmmakers in developing countries get a similar mentorship opportunity.

‘I will put forward a motion at our next IQ conference in October to set up a worldwide program to sponsor filmmakers from developing countries to observe on IQ member projects,’ says DeWalt, who was the founding chairman of the Canadian Film and Television Producer’s Association National Mentorship Program and started a credited film program at a Regina High School.

‘Training and mentorship is something I am very passionate about.’