School of Arts

Durban International Film Festival officially launched during a drive-in cinema experience

Highlights from the DIFF opening night.
Highlights from the DIFF opening night.

The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities was officially launched during a drive-in cinema experience at the Durban Country Club.

Opening the festival CCA Director Dr Ismail Mahomed said, ‘At the Centre for Creative Arts, we believe that the power of the arts can continue to humanise us, whether it is presented in an assembled space or on an online medium. In this time, we need to invest in the power of the arts, but we also need to be able to draw on its power in a way that it challenges, stimulates and empowers us.’ He expressed his gratitude to all the partners who made the festival possible.

This is not a Burial, but a Resurrection by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese was the opening night film. A co-production between South Africa, Lesotho and Italy, this visually striking drama is set in the mountains of Lesotho. It opens with an elderly widow named Mantoa (Mary Twala), grieving the loss of her son. Determined to die and be laid to rest with her family, her plans are interrupted when she discovers that the village and its cemetery will be forcibly resettled to make way for a dam reservoir. Refusing to let the dead be desecrated, she finds a new will to live and ignites a collective spirit of defiance within her community.

Head of Programming Ms Chipo Zhou introduced the film, which is a final ode to the late South African actress Twala, ‘This story could not have been told at a better time, a time when the movement against gender-based violence is at its peak globally, particularly in South Africa,’ he said. ‘It inspires us to consider the role of African women in the development of a continent, by looking at the impact this one woman makes in her small village. We are inspired to move, to fight and to keep pushing for what we believe in. The DIFF believes in the power of the African voice, the celebration of our stories and in shifting paradigms for the betterment of future generations.’

Director Mosese expressed the hope that the ‘film will inspire people to fight for whatever cause they believe in.’

After the screening, filmmakers were “applauded” with hooting, whistles and flashing headlights.

The closing film Dust is set to screen in Durban on 19 September, alongside the announcement of the DIFF2020 awards. Tickets are R100 per car and are available on Quicket.

Sixty feature films, documentaries and shorts, will be screened free on On the website, audiences can rent films and will have two days to watch them. Screenings are limited, and films may sell out during the festival. Various Q&A’s will be hosted on the DIFF’s social media channels throughout the festival.

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