School of Arts

Gearing Up for the Durban International Film Festival

DIFF 2018 Poster
DIFF 2018 Poster

The full programme for the 39th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) was announced during a media launch at the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani Hotel recently.

The Festival, hosted by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) in the College of Humanities, runs from 19 to 29 July 2018 under the theme “Evolution: No Filmmaker Left Behind”. The Festival offers 180 features films, documentaries, shorts and the 11th Talents Durban in partnership with Berlinale Talents.

Opening the Festival is the first feature film from South African director, Mr Jerome Pikwane, a horror flick called “The Tokoloshe”. The LGTBI love-story “Rafiki”, directed by Kenyan Wanuri Kahiu, will close the Festival.

Acting Dean for the School of Arts, Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa, said the Best Film and Best Documentary from this year’s Festival will compete in the Oscars. ‘We are proud as UKZN to reach out to the international community,’ she said.

Festival Manager, Ms Chipo Zhou, said, ‘With about 400 film-makers in attendance, the public can look forward to a feast of film and some fascinating insights into the world of cinema.’

Also announced was the launch of the Festival’s Isiphethu – Emerging Filmmakers Hub, an industry programme for emerging and micro budget filmmakers to use as a platform to engage with industry experts through masterclasses, panel discussions and workshops.

‘The programme is conceived as a vehicle to address the skills and knowledge gaps in the province,’ explained industry programme curator, Mr Russel Hlongwane.

The programme was named Isiphethu, the isiZulu word for “water spring” as it stands for a new beginning or inspirational source for filmmakers. The programme is free and speaks to the theme of this year’s festival “Leaving No Filmmaker Behind”. ‘Isiphethu will have high local relevance whilst introducing a sharp focus on the broader African film industry,’ he said.

The Festival also offers outreach activities that include screenings in townships areas, where cinemas are non-existent. Alongside the DIFF is the Durban FilmMart, a co-production market in partnership with eThekwini Municipality’s Durban Film Office.

In 2018, the DIFF continues its endeavours to grow cinema audiences and this year, free community-based screenings will take place at Solomon Mahlangu Hall (New Germany/Clermont), KwaMashu Fan Park, Umlazi W Section Library and The Workshop Amphitheatre.

Other screenings take place at Community ZA (formerly Artspace Gallery in Umgeni) and KZNSA Gallery, Musgrave Centre’s Ster Kinekor, Suncoast Cine Centre and Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, as well as Ushaka Marine World where the popular free ocean-focused film festival Wavescapes will take place in the public area.

DIFF opens at The Playhouse on July 19 and runs until July 29. The closing film is on July 28.

For more information, visit or any of the DIFF’s social media pages.

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