The 30th edition of the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), which closed on 2 August, drew 5,500 more visitors than last year, with a total attendance of 22,471 people at the 280 film festival screenings. This is despite the fact that due to a recession-motivated cut in funding, there were 26 less screenings this year.
Says Peter Rorvik, director of DIFF and the Centre for Creative Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal: “Workshop and seminar attendances were also up with 1,650 film enthusiasts attending 38 seminars and workshops, indicating a great level of interest in the creative and technical processes of filmmaking.
“Separately, aspirants from community organisations participated in the AV UKZN video production workshop for first-timers, while Mtuthuzeli Matshoba ran a programme for scriptwriting in indigenous languages. Talent Campus, a cooperation project with the Berlinale Film Festival, hosted 38 young filmmakers from 20 different African countries in a five-day workshop programme themed Roots and Shoots: Creating a new African Cinema.”
Newly appointed Minister of Arts and Culture, Lulu Xingwana, visited the festival and commented “The Durban International Film Festival has through the years become South Africa’s leading exhibition platform for local and international productions. It has demonstrated excellence in audience development programmes and contribution to the training and development of filmmakers.”
The Minister added that she was “glad to see the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the Provincial and local government all pulling together to deliver an excellent festival."
Two films viewed by the Minister were opening night film Izulu Lami (My Secret Sky) and Shirley Adams, which scooped a number of awards at the festival closing. The strong concentration of South African content comprised nine feature films, 23 documentaries, and 44 short films.
Festival manager Nashen Moodley said: “Higher attendance, a great group of filmmakers, including many new talents, excellent audience interaction and workshops, and deals made in the background … we’re really happy with the way the festival went, and look forward to an even better year in 2010. We’re grateful to our funders, the visiting filmmakers, and the Durban audience for making it happen.”