School of Arts

Durban International Film Festival announces opening and closing films

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The Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities will host the 41st Durban International Festival (DIFF) from 10 to 20 September 2020. This year the festival will screen selected films, host seminars and workshops virtually and hold drive-in cinema screenings in Durban, Port Shepstone, Newcastle and Zululand.

CCA Director Dr Ismail Mahomed said, although the online space can never replace the power of assembly of an audience in a cinema or theatre they believed that in this current situation it becomes a viable space through which they can continue to inspire, challenge and entertain our audiences. ‘We do so with great empathy for members of the film-making industry whose projects may have been halted and whose livelihoods have been lost as a result of the global lockdowns,’ he said.

The opening night film is This is not a Burial, but a Resurrection by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese in which the late Mary Twala is the lead actress. The film is a co-production between South Africa, Lesotho and Italy that features predominantly South African actors.

Head of Programming at the CCA, Ms Chipo Zhou said, ‘This film sheds some light on the land issues in Lesotho by telling a very personal story through the journey of one woman. Its sophisticated imagery, the stunning, haunting landscapes that appreciate the depth of the magnificence that is the African landscape and how this was intertwined so effortlessly into the narrative is a true homage to African folklore.’

The thriller Dust, directed by Pieter du Plessis, with South African actress Shana Mans in the lead role, is the closing film for the festival. A story of female oppression and emancipation, it is a take on the current global discourse on women’s rights.

Community film screenings, school programmes and engagements with various community organisations around the city of Durban and the province of KwaZulu-Natal will be the pulse of this year’s Isiphethu industry-focused programme at the DIFF.

The Isiphethu programme remains a backbone of the DIFF and offers role players the opportunity to showcase their work and talent, and network with others in the film industry. The vibrant programme aims to entertain, educate, train and up-skill, instil confidence in young aspirant filmmakers and share information that is relevant to the film industry to empower young people.

A range of top facilitators, guest speakers and participants will headline several of these programmes as the festival continues to position itself as one of the biggest festivals on the African continent.

Ticket sales will open closer to the opening. Tickets for the virtual screenings are free and available through a booking system. Tickets for the drive-in screenings will be for sale, but with limited capacity.

The 41st edition of the festival is organised in partnership and with the support of the Durban Film Office, eThekwini Municipality, the National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture and other valued funders and partners.

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