Riding the wave at DIFF


A tumultuous documentary about a schism that splits Papau New Guinea villagers apart, a flowing depiction of South Africa’s surfing dolphins, and a music video by Paul McCartney and filmmaker Jack McCoy premiere at the 2011 Wavescape Surf Film Festival, adding a unique variety to the 32nd Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), which is supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder) and runs from July 21 to 31.

Dramatic scenes of violence in the feature documentary Splinters, unique submarine cam footage by McCoy in McCartney’s song Blue Sway and breathtaking sequences of dolphins riding waves off the East Coast in Surfing Dolphins summarise the new releases at the festival.

Wavescape opens on the Bay of Plenty lawns on Sunday 24 July, when two short family surf films will be screened on a giant screen. The festival moves to Musgrave where all 12 films in the lineup will show over five days.

The two films to open the festival at the beach, Leave a Message and Chasing the Swell, will entertain all age groups, with amazing women surfing, huge waves, horrible hold-downs and crazy skills. Leave a Message features six of the best female athletes in surfing today, taking two years to make at breathtaking locations around the world.

Manager of Wavescape Steve Pike said: “It’s no longer about gender, and who surfs better than who. Leave a Message elevates surfing to new heights of grace and power.’

In Chasing the Swell, South African big wave surfers play a pivotal role in a quest to follow a giant swell around the Pacific Ocean. The famous one minute hold-down that nearly killed pro surfer Shane Dorian at Mavericks is recorded in the documentary.

The lineup promises to offer something for everyone, from A Dingo’s Tale, a classic profile of Dean “Dingo’ Morrision, who according to Rabbit Bartholomew is the “most barreled human being ever’. Footage in the film does nothing to dispute this theory.

“If you want to see the most amazing tube riding,’ says Steve Pike, “other films are ridiculously good examples, such as Jamie O’Brien in Who is J.O.B?, Brian Conley in My Eyes Won’t Dry 3, Rob Machado in Melali: The Drifter Sessions and the tube by Andy Irons in High Five that posthumously won him an award at the SURFER poll.’

A standout this year is the quality of the musical scores of many of the films.

Other films include a fun, short animated film Lino, and a profile of red-hot talent Julian Wilson in Scratching the Surface, which features some pioneering film camera technology.

Still Point is a fascinating left-of-field film that won the Best Surf Film at the Byron Bay International Film Festival this year. The film, narrated by legendary surf icon Micky Dora, sweeps one along a compelling exploration of the link we have to the ocean, including interviews with the elders of surfing, such as Mark Cunningham, Tom Morey, Mike Doyle, George Downing, Skip Frye, and Buffalo Keaulana.

Wavescape films are screened at Ster Kinekor Musgrave. Other DIFF screenings will take place at Nu Metro Cinecentre Suncoast, Ster Kinekor Musgrave, Cinema Nouveau Gateway, the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Ekhaya KwaMashu, The Royal Hotel, Luthuli Museum (Groutville) and other venues.

For film synopses, screening schedules and programme details on the 32nd Durban International Film Festival visit www.cca.ukzn.ac.za.

The Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre For Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) with support by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, HIVOS, City Of Durban, German Embassy of South Africa, Goethe Institut of South Africa, Industrial Development Corporation and a range of other valued partners.


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