The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) invites filmmakers from across the world to submit their Short, Documentary or Feature Fiction films to screen in the festival from 18-28 July 2019 under the theme Reimaging DIFFerent.
With screenings of cutting-edge cinema from around the world, containing as always a special focus on both South African and African films, the festival exhibits films in a range of diverse venues in and around the city of Durban. DIFF is the premiere platform for the launch of African films and a key gateway to the African film industry. The festival also includes an annual local and international awards component.
As the DIFF turns a historic 40, we use this 2019 festival to celebrate a legacy of supporting South African and African film makers and our partnership with a global film industry. We are Reimaging African cinema as we recognize DIFF as a platform that opens space to discover, birth, seek out, and hear new and established film voices. We celebrate the decolonising of the embedded canonical film centres globally as we return to the need to find the hidden gems and create a platform where new film voices are discovered and born – this is the onward journey of the DIFF.
DIFF is looking for films that are the solution to questions yet to be formulated, a curated showcase of films that are part of a paradigm shift, the very best the African continent has on offer.
Only films completed in 2018 and 2019 and there is no charge for entry. Submissions will be accepted via an ONLINE SCREENER. All submissions must be entered via the DIFF Submission page at https://filmfreeway.com/DurbanFilmFest
The deadline for all entries is 15 March 2019.
Each edition of the festival features an extensive Industry Programme with seminars and workshops comprised of both local and international filmmakers and industry professionals. The programme is made up of the 12th Talents Durban (19 to 24 July 2019), presented in co-operation with Berlinale Talents, and the 10th Durban FilmMart (19 to 23 July 2019), presented in partnership with the Durban Film Office, as well as various other streams of programming.
A thriller/horror film and a LGTBI love-story have been selected respectively as the opening- and closing films of the 39th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), which takes place from 19 to 29 July 2018.
In a bold move to shift perceptions of how African stories can be told cinematically across genres, the DIFF has selected a South African debut thriller/horror feature TheTokoloshe, directed by Jerome Pikwane, for opening night and Kenyan director, Wanuri Kahiu’s tender story of lesbian love, Rafiki as its closing film.
“With the current global focus on giving womxn a voice in a world dominated by masculinity and systemic misogyny, we wanted to book-end the festival with films that tell stories about womxn, their strength and their survival. We also want to showcase, from a cinematic point of view, that there are many ways to tell these stories,” says Manager of DIFF, Chipo Zhou.
The Tokoloshe is directed by Jerome Pikwane, co-written with novelist Richard Kunzmann and produced by Dumi Gumbi and Cati Weinek of The Ergo Company.
In The Tokoloshe,which starsPetronella Tshuma, Dawid Minnaar, Kwande Nkosi, Harriet Manamela and Yule Masiteng, a young womxn, crippled by suppressed emotions, must find the courage to face an insatiable demon, wrought in her own childhood, when she tries to save the life of a girl-child abandoned in a rundown Johannesburg hospital.
“Using the horror genre I wanted to investigate how we suppress trauma, and what happens when the trauma comes to the surface. In effect, the Tokoloshe in South African mythology has become a foil for abuse that is ingrained in our society, ” says director Jerome Pikwane. “And the characters, their journey, their relationships are the focus and not the beautiful shots nor the CGI, although we have that too.”
“The film is not quite what one expects from its title, so I dare audiences to see beneath the surface,” says Zhou. “It is a horror film, crafted so intricately, unveiling the menace that is our everyday burden as womxn in this country. But the film depicts the story of a survivor, not a victim. It is a chilling story, one that needs to be told now and is particularly relevant as it gives voice to the voiceless.”
Closing film Rafiki, directed by Wanuri Kahiu, produced by Steven Markovitz (SA) and starring Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva,is a touching tale of two very different girls living in Nairobi, who fall in love. Co-written with Jenna Bass (SA), the film was thefirst Kenyan feature film to be invited to Cannes Film Festival 2018 as part of the Official Un Certain Regard selection, and was a project in the 2012 Durban FilmMart.
“Over the years of developing this film, we have seen worrying developments in the anti-LGBTI climate in East Africa,” says director Wanuri Kahiu. “Local films and international TV shows have been banned because of LGBTI content. This has muffled conversations about LGBTI rights and narrowed the parameters of freedom of speech. My hope is that the film is viewed as an ode to love, whose course is never smooth, and as a message of love and support to the ones among us who are asked to choose between love and safety. May this film shout where voices have been silenced.”
“We are delighted to be able to screen Rafiki at DIFF,” says Zhou. “The film speaks to the issues of patriarchy that has led the film to be banned in its own country, and closes a festival with a programme packed with films dealing with a host of current challenges that those marginalised in our society, and especially womxn, are “loudly” grappling with.”
“At this time alongside the #MeToo and, closer to home, the “#ItsNotOk campaigns, that seek to expose the perpetrators of violence against womxn, these films bookend a conscious and carefully curated selection of cinematic themes that also run as threads through the Durban FilmMart and through our new Isiphethu industry programme for emerging and micro-budget filmmakers.”
The DIFF is organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts. The Festival also offers an industry programme and 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, Talents Durban, in cooperation with the Berlinale Talent Campus and the Wavescape Surf Film Festival.
DIFF opens at The Playhouse on July 19 and runs until July 29. The closing film is on July 28.
For more information visit www.durbanfilmfest.co.za or any one of the DIFF’s social media pages, Durban International Film Festival.
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