School of Arts

Durban International Film Festival Announces Award Winners

Durban International Film Festival award winners (from left) Downstream to Kinshasa; Ala Kachuu - Take and Run; and A Little Bird Reminds Me.
Durban International Film Festival award winners (from left) Downstream to Kinshasa; Ala Kachuu - Take and Run; and A Little Bird Reminds Me.

The 2021 Durban International Film Festival, organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities, has announced its award winners, ahead of the screening of the closing documentary film, Threshold by Brazilian director Coraci Ruiz.

CCA Director Dr Ismail Mahomed said: ‘I was delighted with the success of DIFF 2021, and it was very gratifying to view a large number of streams and also to see the huge enthusiasm from our South African audiences for the festival.’

In the spirit of being a champion for democracy, human rights, social justice, creative education and access to the arts for all, CCA introduced three new awards categories. ‘We wanted to recognise filmmakers, organisations, and institutions who share in our commitment to engage the cinematic arts to grow, mature and defend our democracy,’ added Mahomed.

The inaugural DIFF Promoting Access to Cinema Award was won by the mobile cinema project Sunshine Cinema for its outstanding work that takes sustainable and free screenings to a  variety of communities. The inaugural DIFF Film in Education award was won by non-profit media company STEPS for producing over 100 documentaries for a diverse range of public education projects. The third inaugural award, the DIFF Human Rights Award, went to filmmaker Mr Enver Samuels for creating documentaries that played a vital role in documenting the lives of South African human rights legends and unearthing the need for a thorough investigation into the deaths of assassinated political leaders such as Dulcie September and Ahmed Timol.

At the awards ceremony, the festival’s highest accolade of Best Feature Film went to Chinese director Shin Xin’s masterful A Little Bird Reminds Me. Xin received a cash prize of R50 000 and was also honoured with the award for Best Director.

The Best South African Feature Film award, with prize money of R25 000 went to the Cape Town production Sons of the Sea, directed by Mr John Guttierez, while best documentary was awarded to the Congolese director Dieudo Hamadi for Downstream to Kinshasa, and the Best South African Documentary award was shared by I Am Here, directed by Jory Sank and Murder in Paris, directed by Enver Samuels.

This year’s festival had a powerful selection of 53 short films. The Best South African Short Film was the Manzini Zungu- directed King Shaka-themed animation Shaka Inkosi Yamakhosi for its fresh, unique and decolonial take on history.The best African Short Film was the South African What Did You Dream? by Karabo Lediga and the Best Short Film was Ala Kachuu-Take and Run by director Maria Brendle from Kyrgyzstan.

The complete list of awards follows:

  • Best Actor: Seounggyun An – My Son
  • Best Actress: Tsholo Maseko – Pusha Pressa Phanda
  • Best Screenplay – My Son
  • Best Director: SHI Xin – A Little Bird Reminds Me
  • Best South African Feature Film: Sons of the Sea
  • Best Feature Film: A Little Bird Reminds Me
  • Artistic Bravery: Pusha Pressa Panda
  • Best South African Documentary: I Am Here
  • Best South African Documentary: Murder in Paris
  • Best Documentary: Downstream to Kinshasa
  • Best South African Short Film: Shaka Inkosi Yamakhosi
  • Best African Short Film: What Did You Dream?
  • Best Short Film: Ala Kachuu – Take and Run
  • Amnesty Durban Human Rights Award: I, Mary
  • DIFF Human Rights Award: Enver Samuels
  • DIFF Film In Education Award: STEPS
  • DIFF Access to Cinema Award: Sunshine Cinema

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