South African films are set to take the centre stage at this year’s Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), which runs from 19 to 29 July, with a total of 66 local films to be screened. This is the biggest number of local films ever to screen at DIFF.
Other than the screening of films, the festival’s programme also features industry seminars and networking sessions, where filmmakers will get the opportunity to pitch their projects to potential financiers, co-producers and distributors.
Now in its 33rd edition, DIFF is supported by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
The event will open with the premiere of the NFVF-supported, first ever Venda feature film, Elelwani. Directed by Ntshavheni wa Luruli and starring Florence Masebe, the film addresses the convergence of modernity and traditional culture. It is about a progressive young woman growing up in new South Africa, who tries to shed her cultural past but later realises its value and that the past is still relevant in dealing with both the present and the future.
Other projects that have been supported by the NFVF that will also premiere at DIFF include Zambezia (the closing night film), One Last Look and Blitz Patrollie.
The NFVF, as mandated to spearhead the development of the local film industry and one of the key partners of DIFF, will host various activities as part of the festival. These comprise, among others, In Conversation with the Blitz Patrollie team on 20 July, film industry and media engagement on 21 July, and the NFVF Bursaries, Sediba and Spark presentation on 28 July.
This year will be the first time Zama Mkosi attends the festival as NFVF CEO. She says: “DIFF is one of the key projects in our annual calendar and each year we always strive to strengthen our involvement with the festival. To us it is not just about supporting the festival financially, our participation further involves ensuring that DIFF, as the country’s primary film festival, remains an empowerment platform for local filmmakers and that the sustainable legacy of the local industry is achieved in the long-term.’
The festival menu includes the launch of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Film Commission, which is scheduled to take place on Monday, 23 July. The establishment of the film commission in KZN is set to be a historic moment in the provincial film sector.
Other key events on DIFF’s calendar include among others Durban FilmMart, Talent Campus Durban, and the Focus on French Film, which will be boosted by the French South Africa Season 2012 & 2013, a two-year exchange programme between the two countries.
For full festival details including the screening schedule and synopses of all the films to be screened, visit www.durbanfilmfest.co.za