Acting CCA Director and UKZN lecturer Dr Lliane Loots congratulated all winners for their exceptional work in telling stories that speak to the human spirit. She noted that DIFF had honoured the truth-tellers ‘who have tapped into the zeitgeist of our 2019 seismic moment’.
‘The power of film – and of all critical arts – is to constantly be the conscience of nations,’ said Loots. ‘Reaching 40 years, this landmark South African film festival is a triumph for very single filmmaker who has shown work on this platform, every new film project that was born in our space, and every single audience member who made the time to come and watch and listen to these stories. Our focus has been on uniting Africa though film, and we join the decolonising movement that asks us to find a way to honour what is local and what comes from within.’
A highlight of the event was former CCA director Mr Peter Rorvik, who was a steady hand at the helm of the festival for more than a decade, receiving the DIFF Legacy Award. Rorvik shared the award with Roz Sarkin and the late Moosa Moosa, who co-founded DIFF, and the producer of Izulu Lami Julie Frederikse and its director Madoda Ncayiyana.
Rorvik said he was honoured to receive the award but called on the University ‘to get its act together and appoint a permanent CCA Director to ensure DIFF and other festivals like Time of the Writer, Poetry Africa and JOMBA continue’.
Awards handed out at the ceremony included:
- Best Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award at DIFF 2019: For Sama directed by Edward Watts and Waad al-Kateab
- Artistic Bravery: Letters Of Hope directed by Vusi Africa
- Best Cinematography: Divine Love directed by Gabriel Mascaro
- Best Editing: Cronofobia directed by Francesco Rizzi
- Best Screenplay: Les Misérables directed by Ladj Ly
- Best Short Film: Acid directed by Just Philippot
- Best African Short Film: Brotherhood directed by Meryam Joobeur. The film also received a cash prize of R20 000 sponsored by the Gauteng Film Commission.
- Best South African Short Film: Miracle directed by Bongi Ndaba. The film received a cash prize of R20 000 from the Gauteng Film Commission.
- Best Actor: Bongile Mantsai for Knuckle City directed by Jahmil X T Qubeka
- Best Actress: Nisrin Erradi for Adam directed by Maryam Touzani
- Best Documentary: For Sama directed Edward Watts and Waad al-Kateab. The film received a cash prize of R25 000.
- Best South African Documentary: Buddha in Africa directed by Nicole Schafer. The award is accompanied by a cash prize of R25 000.
- Best Direction: Divine Love directed by Gabriel Mascaro
- Best South African Feature Film: Back of the Moon directed by Angus Gibson. The film received a cash prize of R25 000.
- Best Feature Film: Les Misérables directed by Ladj Ly. The award is accompanied by a cash prize of R50 000.
- DIFF Legacy Awardees: Peter Rorvik, Roz Sarkin, Moosa Moosa, Julie Frederikse and Madoda Ncayiyana