Durban International Film Festival Offerings Announced
The full programme for the 40th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), hosted by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) in the College of Humanities, was announced during a media launch at the Maharani Hotel.
The festival takes place at various venues across the city and surrounding areas from 18-28 July under the theme: Uniting Africa through Film.
Opening the DIFF is the action-packed Knuckle City by South African director Mr Jahmil X.T. Qubeka. The film explores the psychology of a fighter from Mdantsane, a South African township with a history of producing boxing world champions. Presented in isiXhosa, the film also digs deep into the notions of inherited toxic masculinity and the intense underbelly of the fighting world.
Said Qubeka, ‘I have such an affinity with the festival. It’s really close to my heart. I am deeply honoured to once again have my movie selected as the opening film. Can’t wait to be part of the DIFF.’
Acting CCA Director Dr Lliane Loots described the festival as a celebration of film over the past 40 years. ‘Reaching this landmark as a South African (and indeed African) film festival is a triumph for every single filmmaker who has shown work on this platform, every new film project that was birthed in our space and every single audience member who made time to came to watch and listen to these stories. As the DIFF celebrates its own space on the continent and globally, we are delighted to actively curate our focus on making space for marginal voices to be heard,’ she said.
Loots added that the DIFF continues its promotion of female-led productions, pledging itself to the “50/50 by 2020” campaign that has been signed by several film festivals globally. The festival is also committed to increasing its African content, ‘achieving 50% this year across all programmes, a number we want to maintain and improve upon in editions to follow,’ she said.
Partnering with the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, Isiphethu - Emerging Filmmakers Hub, an industry programme for emerging and micro budget filmmakers, will host their first isiZulu film-scripting workshop.
Ten insightful and impactful documentaries have also been selected to compete for Best Documentary and Best South African Documentary. The winner will automatically qualify for consideration for nomination for an Academy Award.
‘We are really excited about the calibre of films in our documentary competition this year. We had over 950 documentary submissions, covering a broad range of themes and topics,’ says DIFF Manager, Ms Chipo Zhou. ‘This year’s selection focuses on individual journeys, many around young people having to navigate intensely disrupted and relentlessly painful spaces, as well as the issues that gender, race and culture present. We look forward to sharing these films with audiences at the DIFF, and providing some stimulating food for thought and discussions with filmmakers who will be in attendance.’
The 12th Talents Durban in partnership with Berlinale Talents (Berlin International Film Festival) sees 18 pre-selected intermediate African filmmakers attend a five-day event to further develop their professional skills.
Programme booklets with the full screening schedule and synopses of all the films will be available free of charge at cinemas, and other public information outlets.
For more information, visit http://ccadiff.ukzn.ac.za/ or any of the DIFF’s social media pages.
Words: Melissa Mungroo