This July sees the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) return for its 36th year of cinematic celebration.
From 16 to 26 July, the city will be illuminated by the wonder and diversity of global cinema, with over 200 screenings in 9 venues across the city. Alongside this selection of the best of contemporary cinema, including 74 feature films, 50 documentaries, 74 short films and 23 surf films, the festival offers an extensive workshop and seminar programme in which industry experts from around the world share their knowledge and skills.
This year’s diverse line-up includes an expanded focus on African cinema with a selection of Africa’s Lost Classics and a showcase of this year’s FESPACO winners. Other focus areas include a cross-section of contemporary cinema from Brazil and an investigation into the filmmaking landscape of a changing Tunisia, as well DIFF Beat, which celebrates a number of music-based films, and Just One Earth, which presents a selection of environmentally- and sustainability themed titles. In addition to the generous selection of feature films and cutting edge documentaries, DIFF 2015 will screen 10 packages of short films and a selection of thrilling surf films in the Wavescape Surf Film Festival.
South African Focus Films
While DIFF is a vital showcase for the ever-expanding African film industry, South African film remains the festival’s key focus, with 14 feature and 13 documentary films and 30 short films – most of them receiving their world premieres on Durban screens.
This year’s opening night film see the African premiere of Ayanda, the second fiction feature film from South African filmmaker Sara Blecher who opened the festival in 2011 with Otelo Burning. Ayanda tells the story of single-minded 21-year-old Afro-hipster Ayanda (Fulu Mugovhani) who has a talent for taking neglected pieces of furniture and bringing them back to life. Eight years after her father’s death, his prized auto repair garage is in financial trouble and in danger of being sold, but Ayanda does everything in her power to hold onto his legacy.
Then there’s Breathe – Umphefumlo, the Isango Ensemble’s contemporary adaptation of Puccini’s La Boheme, the low-budget horror The Actor from Aiden Whytock, the politically inclined Bonnie-and-Clyde tale Impunity from Jyoti Mistry and the long awaited Necktie Youth from Sibs Shongwe-Le Mer. Other South African fiction feature films include Dis Ek, Anna, based on the famous Afrikaans novel and directed by Sara Blecher, and the dramatic thriller Lady Grey from Alain Chouquart.
South African documentaries include Blood Lions, which follows a South African conservationist and an American hunter on their journey through the lion hunting industry, Coming of Age, which follows the lives of two teenagers in Lesotho, Glory Game – The Joost van der Westhuizen Story, which chronicles the famous rugby player’s battle with Motor Neuron Disease, and The Shore Break which documents the attempts by a foreign mining company to mine titanium in the Eastern Cape.
DIFF 2015’s principal screening venues are Suncoast CineCentre, Ster Kinekor Musgrave, Cinema Nouveau Gateway, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu and the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel. Other venues include the Bay of Plenty Lawns, the KZNSA Gallery, the Denis Hurley Centre, Sizakala Centre in Clermont, the Durban Music School and the Luthuli Museum on the North Coast. The festival hub is once more housed at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel.
Tickets should be acquired through the respective venues. Prices range from R20 to R40, except at Luthuli Museum, Ekhaya, Elangeni Hotel, the Denis Hurley Centre, Sizakala Centre in Clermont, the Durban Music School and Bay of Plenty lawns, which are free of charge.
Programme booklets with the full screening schedule and synopses of all the films are available free at screening venues and other public information outlets. Full festival details can also be found on www.durbanfilmfest.co.za or by calling 031 260 2506 or 031 260 1816.
The 36th Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (a special project of the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Humanities, Cheryl Potgieter) with support from the National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development & Tourism, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, City of Durban, German Embassy, Goethe Institut, Industrial Development Corporation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture and a range of other valued partners.
Tags: cinema, diff, Durban, Durban International Film Festival, South Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal