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Find out how Digitlab successfully executed the virtual edition of the 5-day Durban FilmMart film festival.



registrations from 66 countries

Over 5x

attendees compared to in-person event


engagement touchpoints via event app

When You Want It All

Durban FilmMart - Digitlab

When Digitlab was tasked with handling the virtual edition of the Durban FilmMart film festival, they had their work cut out for them. They had to handle the entire attendee experience of the 5-day event from start to finish, from event marketing, to the registration, the payment, the conference platform, the webinar delivery, the broadcast-level production and finally the supporting data analytics. They were also tasked with bringing in 1,000 film industry professionals as attendees to the event through their marketing efforts.

As far as events go, Durban FilmMart was a complex one. The 5-day festival required multiple sessions happening at the same time, with high engagement between the attendees that needed to be tracked. They also wanted a way for the attendees to meet sponsors virtually in a 1:1 setting. Since the event was open to a global audience, they needed a platform that could help them process payments in multiple currencies as well as support various languages. “The biggest challenge was ensuring the conference offered a smooth and slick experience to attendees, so that it didn’t come across as just another webinar,” says Digitlab Operations Manager Natasha Papini.

Digitlab’s client also needed the technology platform for the event to be secure. “Durban FilmMart was going to be attended by people who have created films that they are showing to potential filmmakers, producers, directors or film companies. They didn’t want the content to be available to public before it was purchased,” says Kathryn Taljaard, Client Service Director at Digitlab.

Digitlab decided to search for an event technology platform that would enable them to meet all their client needs. After looking at several event tech providers online, they zeroed in on Cvent.

Ticking All the Boxes

Durban FilmMart 2 - Digitlab

Cvent ticked all the boxes for Digitlab, and more. The Digitlab team began by creating the website for the film festival on the Cvent Event Management solution. They used the e-marketing module to send marketing emails and clubbed their email marketing with other digital marketing efforts such as displaying targeted ads on social media and search engines. All this helped create awareness about the conference and drive registrations.

The Cvent platform easily and safely integrated with their Zoom account ensuring their event data synced seamlessly while also providing a secure environment to manage the intellectual property of their attendees.

The event’s multilingual audience, which also included sign language interpreters, were able to interact comfortably with the platform, thanks to its ability to support multiple languages as well as handle monetary transactions in various currencies.

Cvent also provided Digitlab with a native mobile event app that was fully integrated with the Cvent event management platform. The event app offered chat functionality and gamification features to enable attendee networking, helping create a vibrant and professional event experience that included engaging discussions and interactive audience participation.

Digitlab’s client wanted the app to highlight their sponsors to make them stand out to attendees. “They wanted the sponsorship package to be communicated a little better up front and be zhuzhed up, to make it a little more appealing to sponsors who take part. We got excellent support from the Cvent team in customising the solution,” says Kathryn.

Digitlab also leveraged Cvent solutions to handle one of the most important aspects of the conference — networking. “If you come to the FilmMart as a make-up artist, you want to be able to connect with fellow make-up artists and get noticed. If you come as a filmmaker, you want to get producers and directors to notice you. You even want your peers from the industry to connect with you, so you can learn from them. It’s all about the connection — so networking was a huge thing,” explains Kathryn. With Cvent’s help, Digitlab was able to create networking opportunities by enabling attendees to schedule 1:1 meetings with other — all from the comfort of their homes. Attendees loved this so much that Dubai FilmMart was easily able to meet the target for the number of appointments they wanted to see at the event.The person on the client’s team who was managing appointments was kept very busy, so it was a success on their side,” says Natasha.

The attendees were also able to interact with speakers and panellists through the live polling and Q&A options in the event app. “Attendees also leveraged the mobile app to connect and share contact details with each other,” adds Natasha.

Beating Benchmarks

  • 9,013 event website visits converting 1,059 registrations — that’s a conversion rate of 1 sale in every nine visitors
  • Attendees from across 66 countries — the conference brought in more than five times the attendees they normally attracted with a physical event
  • Stellar attendee experience — 98% positive sentiment for the virtual event on social media
  • Sky-high engagement with mobile app and appointments tools
  • 70% event app adoption rate with nearly 41K engagement touch points through the app
  • More than 1,000 people in attendance each day — over 95% show rate every day
  • Seamless data flow that ensured improved event reporting


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