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Arguably the continent’s biggest film event, which attracts both film-lovers and industry representatives from across Africa and beyond, the DIFF is a ten day celebration of world class cinema.

Local films at the 27th Hilton Arts Festival

An interesting selection of films will be on offer at the 27th Hilton Arts Festival taking place at Hilton College from 13-15 September.

As part of the 237 scheduled events this year, a feast of film has been programmed with the organisers welcoming for the first time to the festival, the Durban International Film Festival, the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, Enviro Champions, and films by independent film makers.

The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) will feature six films to be screened over the weekend in the Lecture Theatre B. There are five South African features and documentaries: Buddha in Africa (Nicole Schafer’s delicately observed documentary about a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Malawi) which won the Best SA Documentary at DIFF and this qualifies for a consideration for a nomination for an Oscar; Dying for Gold (a devastating documentary about how the mining industry was a key force in shaping apartheid South Africa); Letters of Hope (set in 1976 South Africa about a 16 year old boy who wants to be a policeman against the wishes of his father); the Afrikaans film (with English subtitles) Spokie Gaan Huise Toe/ Little Ghost Goes Home (a highly experimental feature which takes a self-exploratory journey into the past guided by the spirits of nostalgia) and Uncovered (a griping thriller set against the compromised political reality of post-apartheid South Africa). The sixth film includes an authentic Namibian tale entitled The White Line – a love story reminding us that the apartheid laws extended beyond South Africa’s borders.

A number of independent filmmakers will be presenting films at the festival: Sides of a Horn (Sir Richard Branson’s story of Africa’s poaching war told from both sides of the fence) and Siyabonga (a docufiction story of a tenacious aspirant actor wanting to be in a locally made film). There will a screening of Buddha in Africa (in addition to the DIFF screening)

For the adventure and thrill seekers: the adrenaline pumping, edge-of-your-seat shorts that make up the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival celebrates the finest mountain related filmmaking from across the globe. VIMFF has an exhilarating programme which is centred around mountain adventure including rock climbing, trail running, alpinism, mountain biking, white water paddling and extreme skiing; and an enviro-culture programme focusing on environmental issues with themes addressing river conservation and the anti-dams movement in the Balkans; Patagonia; Global Warming and Mountain Usage.

Another newcomer to the fest is Enviro Champions. Situated in the basement of the Grindrod Theatre, the Enviro Champions offer a selection of free movies and talks relating to the global issue of pollution and its effects on our world. The eco programme includes Eating up Easter (the remote islands in the Pacific and how they are dealing with the giant snowball of globalisation and the massive influx of tourism where they are debating what this means to their small community), and Our Oceans (a journey of discovery along one of the longest, and richest, coastlines in the world, highlighting the impending threats, and all the while promoting the protection of our oceans). Dr Andrew Venter (Executive Producer) and Lauren van Nijkerk (Producer) will be at the Saturday screening for Q&A/ discussion after. Dr Venter will attend the Sunday screening for Q&A. Also part of the Enviro Champions programme, is Otelo Burning, the surf film set in Durban based on a true story.

In amongst the doccies and features are a handful of shorts. Included here is The Litterboom Project, a two-minute video that focuses on stopping plastic pollution from ending in the ocean. Another two-minute clip entitled The Parley Corona, and Street Surfer, an eight-minute video following Frank Solomon, a big wave surfer from Cape Town who travels inland to meet Thabo and Mokete, two exceptional men who indirectly serve the environment through recycling as a means of income.

There will also be an eco-themed stall at the market and make sure to look out for the goby fish made of wire to collect plastic bottles.

Some film-screenings are free of charge, and others are ticketed. The full programme is now available.

The festival is presented by Hilton College and tiso blackstar in  association with  Grindrod, Black Coffee, Extreme Events, DWR,  Absa, Bidvest Car Rental, FNB, KZN Dept of Art & Culture, BASA, Southern Sun PMB, Stella Artois, Redlands Hotel,  Martizburg Sun, Caxton, SA Artist, Loud Crowd Media, Sappi.


Award-winning documentary comes to Cape Town

The award-winning documentary, Buddha in Africa, directed by KwaZulu-Natal filmmaker Nicole Schafer, which scooped the Best SA Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival in July, and won an Audience Choice Award at Encounters in June this year, is coming to Cape Town in August. It will be screened at the Silwerskermfees, the Labia Theatre, Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education in Mowbray and Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha.

Buddha in Africa follows Enock Alu, a Malawian teenager growing up in a Chinese Buddhist orphanage, who feels torn between his African roots and Chinese upbringing. Set against China’s expanding influence on the continent, Buddha in Africa provides a unique insight into the forces of cultural soft power on the identity and imagination of an African boy and his school friends growing up between two cultures.

Buddha in Africa is an international co-production with Momento Films in Sweden, has the Paris based sales company CAT and Docs representing the film internationally and AfriDocs as its African broadcast partner.

The film’s latest Best SA Documentary Award automatically qualifies it for a consideration for an Oscar nomination, as the DIFF is one of the qualifying festivals for the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences.

The Silwerskerm screening takes place at the Theatre on the Bay on 23 August.

The Labia Theatre screening takes place on 25 August with the filmmaker in attendance for a Q&A after the event.

The Documentary Filmmakers Association will screen the film at its docLOVE event at the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education, in Mowbray on 29 August. Those interested in documentaries as well as learning more about the DFA are encouraged attend – entrance is free.

The Documentary Filmmakers Association will present another DocLOVE event at the Bertha Movie House at Isivivana Centre on 4 September – entrance is free.


Durban International Film Festival announces director Zhang Wei’s The Rib as Audience Choice

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Durban International Film Festival, which wrapped in the City on 28 July has announced that the Audience Choice Award has been given to the Chinese film The Rib directed by Zhang Wei, about a Chinese man who attempts to convince his religious father to accept his transgender identity.

In this feature film, directed, produced and financed by Wei, Li Jianguo, a devout Christian and a volunteer at his church, finds out that his only son, Li Huanyu, plans to have sex reassignment surgery – and legally requires his consent. The close-knit parish regards this as a sin or sickness that can be prayed away, and Li initially rejects his son’s desire to become a woman. But when the flamboyant Liu Mann, one of his Li’s transgender friends, commits suicide in an act of desperation, the old man renews his effort to better connect with his son, leading to a spiritual transformation for both of them.

“We are delighted that a film which provides a voice for the LGBTIQ+ community has found its way to the south of Africa, and not only found its audience but impressed them thus to vote for it as the their best film at the festival,” says Chipo Zhou, the DIFF Manager. “This film is a powerful feature, exquisitely filmed, that touches on so many of society’s taboos from gender and sexual identity to religion and suicide and the intersection of these. Our heartfelt congratulations to the filmmaker for his artistic bravery, and we hope the film gets the recognition it deserves as it progresses along it distribution journey.”

Zhou reports that the Festival was well received this year, with 212 documentaries, features and shorts screened at venues around the city. “The DIFF’s Isiphethu Hub supported by the KZN Film Commission and the IDC was able to provide workshops, panel discussions, pitches and general networking opportunities for emerging and aspiring filmmakers,” she says. “The 10th Durban FilmMart, the DIFF’s partner programme with the Durban Film Office, had a record number of delegates this year – a testament to the growth of the programme and the trust and support by the industry as a whole.”

“We saw a large number of films by first time directors making their mark and taking awards, which we take as a sign that the industry is open to new voices. This is space for dialogue, more so, the home of the development of African talent and it is the festival’s role to showcase and celebrate these films to the best of our ability.”

The festival, which is hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal, is supported by the eThekwini Municipality’s Durban Film Office, the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission and the United States Consulate in Durban.

The 40th Durban International Film Festival announces its award winners

The 40th Durban International Film Festival announced its winners at its awards ceremony on 23 July at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel in Durban, South Africa.

A total of 19 awards were given out at the ceremony:

Best Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award at DIFF 2019For Sama directed Edward Watts and Waad al-Kateab.

Artistic Bravery: Letters Of Hope directed by Vusi Africa.

Best CinematographyDivine Love directed by Gabriel Mascaro.

Best Editing: Cronofobia directed by Francesco Rizzi.

Best ScreenplayLes Misérables directed by Ladj Ly.

Best Short FilmAcid directed by Just Philippot.

Best African Short Film: Brotherhood directed by Meryam JoobeurThe film also received a cash prize of R20, 000 sponsored by the Gauteng Film Commission.

Best South African Short Film: Miracle directed by Bongi Ndaba. The film received a cash prize of R20,000 from the Gauteng Film Commission.

Best Actor: Bongile Mantsai for Knuckle City directed by Jahmil XT. Qubeka.

Best Actress: Nisrin Erradi for Adam directed by Maryam Touzani.

Best Documentary: For Sama directed by Edward Watts and Waad al-Kateab. The film received a cash prize of R25, 000.

Best South African Documentary: Buddha in Africa directed by Nicole Schafer. The award is accompanied by a cash prize of R25, 000.

Best Direction: Divine Love directed by Gabriel Mascaro.

Best South African Feature Film: Back of the Moon directed by Angus Gibson. The film received a cash prize of R25,000.

Best Feature Film: Les Misérables directed by Ladj Ly.  The award is accompanied by a cash prize of R50, 000.

DIFF Legacy Award: Peter Rorvik.

DIFF Legacy Award: Roz Sarkin and Moosa Moosa.

DIFF Legacy Award: Julie Frederikse and Madoda Ncayiyana.

DIFF is included as a Documentary Feature Qualifying Festival by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences. This means that both the winners of the Best Documentary – For Sama – and Best SA Documentary – Buddha in Africa – automatically qualify for consideration for an Oscar nomination.

The features jury was made up of Emrah Kilic (Turkey), Diarah N’Daw-Spech (USA), Laurence Boyce (UK), Diana Keam (South Africa) and Mohammed Siam (Egypt).

In the documentary jury were Patricia Van Heerden (SA), Florian Weghorn (Germany), Tracy Clayton (UK/SA), Rehad Desai (SA) and Ziyanda Macingwane (SA).

The short film jurors were Jaime E. Manrique (Colombia), Silas Miami, (Kenya), Jacintha De-Nobrega (SA), CJ Obasi (Nigeria) and Mpho Ramathuthu (SA).

DIFF continues until Sunday, 28 July at various venues around Durban.

Durban FilmMart 2019 finishes strong

After a bumper four days of meetings, networking, pitching and forums, the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry development programme of the eThekwini Municipality’s Durban Film Office and Durban International Film Festival (Centre for Creative Arts, UKZN), closed in style with its awards ceremony at the Southern Sun Maharani Hotel in Durban, South Africa on 22 July.

Addressing the audience of 300 filmmakers from South Africa, Africa and across the globe, Toni Monty, head of the Durban Film Office and the Durban FilmMart, said, “We have enjoyed a packed programme, this year with a record number of more than 1000 delegates registered for the DFM, representing 40 countries, 19 of which were from Africa. This year we had 50 projects in our Finance Forum, Talents Durban, Jumpstart, Realness Writers’ Residency and CineFAM programmes who pitched their film projects in development to potential financiers, filmmakers, producers, partners, festivals, distributors and agents in hundreds of meetings.”

“As we reach our tenth anniversary this year, we are reminded of the value that the DFM provides the developing African industry,” says Monty. “The Mart acts as a springboard that enables film-makers to meet and network, benchmark themselves, gather information and learn. Of course this would not be possible without the support of development organisations, our partner markets, and other funding bodies, all of whom we graciously thank.”

“The DFM would like to acknowledge the eThekwini Municipality, the principal funder of the DFM for its involvement in supporting the market, which has become a vital cog in the engine of making film on the continent.”

This year 20 official DFM film projects were pitched at the Finance Forum through the sponsorship of the Industrial Development Corporation and the National Film and Video Foundation. Six CineFam Africa television series projects were mentored by Caribbean Tales, Canada; Jumpstart (Produire au Sud, France) and the Realness Script Writing Residency hosted scriptwriters’ labs for a total of 10 projects; and HotDocs Canada, together with Don Edkins of Afridocs, mentored 13 documentary projects.

Supported by Berlinale Talents and the Goethe-Institut, Durban Talents hosted 18 young filmmakers, and 3 Talents Press.

A number of delegations were hosted including the in-bound delegation from Canada with support from the Canadian High Commission and Telefilm Canada.

The Awards/Grants:

The CineMart Award, sponsored by the co-production market of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, went to the fiction project, Sunflowers in the Dark (Zimbabwe) produced by Ben Mahaka, Tapiwa Chipfupa and directed by Tapiwa Chipfupa. The project is given an opportunity to attend the Rotterdam Lab, a five-day training and networking event for producers from all over the world.

Produire au Sud of Festival des 3 Continents (Nantes)/ IFAS awarded the fiction film Sunflowers in the Dark (Zimbabwe) produced by Ben Mahaka, Tapiwa Chipfupa and directed by Tapiwa Chipfupa an opportunity to attend its developmental workshop programme, PAS, where they will be given tools, expertise, and opportunities to develop European networks.

Carthage Film Festival awarded Pieces of Salma (South Africa) produced by Khosie Dali and David Horler and directed by Imran Hamdulay, an opportunity to participate in their programme in Tunisia.

Sørfond awarded the project Mami Wata (Nigeria) produced by Oge Obasi, directed by C.J.  Obasi  with an opportunity to pitch at the Sørfond Pitching Forum in Oslo later this year.

NFVF CineFAM-Africa Incubator Accelerator Programme Award of a R50 000 development grant went to Sylvia Vollenhoven for Buckingham Palace.

Videovision Entertainment awarded the “Best South African Film Project” to The Bursary (South Africa) produced by Brett Michael Innes and directed by Nomawonga  Khumalo. They receive a prize valued at R75 000, which guarantees its release once it is completed. The prize also includes marketing and distribution support from Videovision Entertainment.

Stage 5 Films Award for the ‘Most Promising Narrative’ went to The Bursary (South Africa) produced by Brett Michael Innes and directed by Nomawonga  Khumalo. They receive a R50 000 cash prize accompanied by an additional R25 000 worth of script coverage, production support, market analysis and packaging for further finance.

Durban FilmMart Talents Award for the Durban Talents Project Selected as a project for DFM went to Twelve Pangas directed by Xola Mteto (South Africa).

Versfeld & Associates, communications consultants awarded Those Who Dwell in Darkness (South Africa) produced by Dolly Mhlongo and Sithabile Mkhize, and directed by Michael James; The Home (South Africa) produced by Justin Cohen, Jessie Zinn, and Chase Musslewhite, and directed by Jessie Zinn and Chase Musslewhite; and Talents Durban project And Who Will Cook? by Samira Vera-Cruz (Cape Verde) was awarded one-on-one publicity consultations.

The broadcast stream, Afridocs, that flights African and other international documentaries across 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa on a weekly basis, gave a €2500 award, funded by the Bertha Foundation, to Kongo is Burning (Uganda / Congo) produced by Ali Musoke and directed by Arnold Aganze.

DoK Leipzig Award went to Black Women and Sex (South Africa) produced and directed by Godisamang Khunou who will be given an opportunity to participate in the 2020 DoK Leipzig programme in Germany.

Hot Docs Blue Ice Award, a cash prize of 2000 Canadian Dollars went to the documentary project Kongo is Burning (Uganda / Congo) produced by Ali Musoke and directed by Arnold Aganze.

The DFM ended on 22 July, but the Durban International Film Festival continues until July 28. 

FPB supports the development of the local film industry

The Film and Publication Board (FPB) is proud to be a partner of the 40th edition of the renowned Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) through its participation at the 10th Durban Film Mart (DFM) – a platform dedicated to the growth of local and African filmmakers.

“As a regulator of film content, we have a vested interest in seeing our filmmakers flourish”, says Acting CEO of the FPB, Dr Maria Motebang. “The focus of this festival on empowering the creative industry through workshops and Master Classes is a concept that we buy into whole heartedly from the perspective of our role in brokering a balance between creative expression and social cohesion,” she adds.

The FPB classifies the content of films released to the South African market with an emphasis on protecting children from content that could harm or impede their development. The parastatal takes its marching orders from the Constitution and laws of the country which, while engendering freedom of expression, also provides for the rights and dignity of all groups within society to be upheld. This delicate balancing act speaks directly to the National Development Plan (NDP) goal of nation building in a land of multiple identities, all of whom deserve protection.

“We are all fascinated by the power of films to reflect our lived reality – our human stories, our social stories,” Dr Motebang explains.” At the FPB we believe that the telling of African stories holds a special ability to create cohesion from diversity. It is our obligation, and equally that of the creative industry, to tell these stories in a responsible manner that builds instead of dividing.”

This is the dual message that the FPB took to filmmakers attending DIFF and DFM in 2019: “let’s push forward in telling our African stories” and “let’s do so within the parameters of our content regulation in a way that respects the social norms and values of all African countries”.

DIFF Manager, Chipo Zhou says: “The FPB is one of DIFF’s main programme partners and they have this year augmented their ongoing support by coming on board as the official sponsors of the Awards for Best Documentary and Best S.A Documentary for which the festival has an Oscar Qualifying designation, a testament to their commitment to supporting the film industry. We are grateful for their continued backing and their consistent participation in our various industry programmes.

Dr Motebang confirms: “We have a renewed focus in the organisation to work with our stakeholders in creating an understanding of the need and importance of content classification in films and games. This is becoming more crucial as our increasingly digital world breaks down the borders between cultures, and places pressure on the sovereignty of countries.”

The making of musical documentary The Sound of Masks


Mozambique was under Portugal’s control for over four centuries before gaining independence in 1975. Since then, many stories have been told about the country’s past and post-colonial state, but none as visually entrancing as Sara Gouveia’s musical documentary film, The Sound of Masks. Screen Africa spoke to Gouveia about what went into the making of the film…

Gouveia spent most of her early years living in Portugal. As a creative and curious young girl, she enjoyed expressing herself through visual and performing arts. However, it was only later in life – while pursuing her studies in visual arts – that her interest in filmmaking surfaced.

“When I was 18 I moved to the UK to study visual arts and that’s when I started experimenting with photography and video. I instantly fell in love with both mediums… In 2007 I was invited to study for an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, so I took that opportunity, which took me to China for a year. In 2008, I moved to South Africa and I worked on a documentary film with Angela Ramirez and Calum MacNaughton called Mama Goema: The Cape Town Beat in Five Movements (2011). I would say it was after we finished that film that I decided I wanted to pursue filmmaking as a career and I haven’t looked back since,” Gouveia shares.

In 2013, Gouveia and some of her industry peers decided to open their own film and video production company – Lionfish Productions – in Cape Town.

Lionfish has produced a variety of projects over the past six years but the documentary film, The Sound of Masks, has been their biggest undertaking thus far. The idea for the film came about in 2011 after one of Gouveia’s many trips to Mozambique. “I was interested in working on a project that looked at colonial history, since I grew up in Portugal, so there was that historical connection,” she says. “I felt we had been told a narrative in Portugal that didn’t seem to reflect what I had seen in southern Africa or how people in Mozambique perceived the Portuguese, so I started to question that Euro-centric version of history.

“When I met Atanásio and his dance group they spoke of that history through their work, so it seemed fitting to make a film with them,” she explains. Atanásio Nyusi is a legendary Mapiko dancer, a compelling storyteller, a father and a librarian who Gouveia was first introduced to when Nyusi’s dance group, Massacre de Mueda, performed at the Out of the Box Festival in Cape Town in 2011.

“I was intrigued by their performance, which was a mix of traditional and contemporary dance, music and theatre, and I was particularly captivated by the way Atanásio directly addressed the audience, asking uncomfortable questions, kind of like saying, ‘Let’s not forget’,” expresses Gouveia.

In The Sound of Masks, Nyusi performs the enchanting Mapiko dance – the traditional masked dance of the Makonde that originates from the north of Mozambique and Tanzania. “The masks can represent anything the sculptor feels inspired to create, such as men, women or even animals and the lipiko (dancer) represents a spirit,” Gouveia expands.

The Mapiko dance has evolved with each generation. Nowadays it is used as a catalyst for social commentary and is also performed during initiation rites of passage, as well as in various celebration ceremonies.

In the film, Gouveia delves into Nyusi’s life behind the masks, revealing his beliefs, fears and aspirations as a father and a custodian of the Mapiko tradition.

“Atanásio’s journey is emotional. He’s trying to leave a legacy as an artist and his plight in promoting Mapiko in a contemporary context is inspiring, but he has also realised that he has perhaps failed to pass this knowledge down in his own home. That becomes clear when he says he feels indebtedness towards his son. This is the moment he realises the growing distance between the two of them and all the stories he could have shared with him; sometimes we don’t notice things until it’s too late. These aspects of Atanásio’s life converge to comment on the tension between past and present, tradition and modernity, in a radically shifting country.”

Through Nyusi’s journey, the film explores significant events in Mozambican history and what remains today. These stories are told by ex-combatants that Nyusi spends time with in the Zona Militar in Maputo – an old military neighbourhood.

“The neighbourhood was initially an area of Portuguese military headquarters and during the war it was occupied by Mozambican combatants. This was a central area of the city with access to hospitals, schools, supermarkets and other facilities that made life easier for soldiers. The group of Makonde combatants in the area made a point of keeping their traditions alive and, these days, one can still find Mapiko being performed under the large mango tree, usually during specific national commemorations or during the initiation rites, when the place comes alive,” Gouveia shares.

The area is also where Nyusi and his group hold their dance rehearses. Most of these dancers are descendants of the ex-combatants and use the dance to teach the newer generation to keep their heritage alive.


In 2013, Gouveia and her small team from South Africa commenced production on the film. She says that she imagined the film having two story-worlds: “the first was the vérité-world, where we see Atanásio in his day-to-day life, and the other was the oral storytelling world, where his art, memories and traditions come together to tell mythological stories that also teach.”

However, the team soon realised that the dances on location didn’t translate well on camera and opted for a studio set-up for the dance scenes. “Once that space had been established we could then have the dance sequences on location and it was easier for the audience to take meaning from the stories being told. Intercutting archive with the dance sequences allowed us to highlight the meaning behind some of the masks,” says Gouveia.

The archival material used in the film was obtained from different sources including INAC (Instituto Nacional de Audio-Visual e Cinema), ZIMMEDIA, Moving into Dance Mophatong, RTP and Notícia, as well as from the personal archive of both Atanásio Cosme Nuysi and Paolo Israel.

The film was shot on the Sony FS7 camera with some sequences shot in 4K. “(It) offered us great slow-motion options, which for the dance sequences was a must. You can also record sound into the camera, which is wonderful,” says Gouveia.

The studio sequences were filmed in Cape Town at the Höerskool DF Malan. The rest of the film was shot periodically on various trips to different parts of Mozambique. Additional scenes were shot on the Unity Bridge across the Ruvuma River, on the border between Mozambique and Tanzania.

In 2017, Gouveia partnered with a Portuguese production company named Ukbar Filmes: “I showed them a very rough cut of the film then and they saw the potential and jumped on board… They managed to find finishing funds in Portugal, which allowed us to wrap the film in November 2018, just ahead of its premiere at IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam).”

In terms of post-production duties, Khalid Shamis handled the offline edit: “I wanted to work with him for two reasons: firstly because he is a really talented storyteller, and secondly because he is familiar with Mozambique and I thought it would be beneficial to have someone who knows the energy of the place in the edit room,” says Gouveia.

Tiago Correia-Paulo, a Mozambican musician and songwriter, created the soundtrack for the film. Online was done in South Africa and Portugal by the respective production companies.


The Sound of Masks had its world premiere at IDFA and its African premiere at the 2018 Marrakech International Film Festival.

The film is screening at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) – currently running until 28 July – where it is competing in the Documentary Film section, and all this after making its first appearance at the Durban FilmMart in July 2014, where it was awarded the Most Promising Documentary Pitch.

Most noteworthy, The Sound of Masks will make its way to Mozambique for the Maputo Fast Forward Festival happening in October later this year.

“The film really comes down to connecting past, present and future: knowing the past, to understand the present and to imagine the future,” concludes Gouveia.


Director and DOP: Sara CF de Gouveia

Editor: Khalid Shamis

Sound: Pedro Góis

DIFF2019: Izulu Lami director Madoda Ncayiyana has new film in development

Durban director Madoda Ncayiyana’s acclaimed isiZulu language film Izulu Lami (My Secret Sky), which opened the Durban International Film Festival in 2009, has free screenings in the ‘Decade Throwback’ programme in this year’s 40th edition of the festival. Filmed in rural KwaZulu-Natal and on the streets of eThekwini, Izulu Lami is a heartrending tale of suffering and redemption. It was also one of the first ever Zulu-language feature films, so popular that it stayed on circuit in Durban for three months.

Ncayiyana’s upcoming feature film, Love Handles, has completed development and is currently closing financing. A romantic comedy about a full-figured woman who mixes traditional Zulu dance and with modern moves, Love Handles will be shot in KZN in early 2020. The longstanding KZN production company, Vuleka Productions, comprising Ncayiyana and Julie Frederikse will produce, with Anant Singh and Sanjeev Singh of top South African and international company, Videovision.

Izulu Lami will be screened on Monday, 22 July at the Maharani Hotel and Tuesday, 23 July at the Luthuli Museum in Groutville on the North Coast. The director and producer will be in attendance at these screenings.


DFM2019: KZNFC talks micro-budget filmmaking – challenges and solutions

On day-one of the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM) – currently running until 22 July at the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel in Durban, South Africa – the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZNFC) presented a session on micro-budget filmmaking in KwaZulu-Natal and the challenges that local filmmakers face when making these films.

The major outcome of the session was the announcement of the KZNFC’s ‘Made for TV’ or micro-budget film programme. The initiative was launched after the commission conducted research on micro-budget filmmaking in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

The KZNFC’s research found that the made-for-TV/micro-budget film industry in KwaZulu-Natal faces the following challenges:

  • Poor story quality
  • Lack of reliable skills
  • Development and production delivery turnaround times
  • Lack of administrative capacity
  • Slow improvement in quality
  • Informal production process
  • Unreliable distribution methods
  • Flooding by Tier 5 practitioners

These findings led to the birth of the Made for TV initiative which is the brainchild of the KZNFC’s Film Fund. The objective of the Film Fund is to stimulate the growth of the film industry in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, solely targeting KwaZulu-Natal-based companies and companies producing films in the province. The Film Fund provides, Development Funding, Production Funding, Marketing and Distribution Funding, and Markets and Festival Funding.

KZNFC Production Development manager, Simphiwe Ngcobo said that the Made for TV programme is a “quality boost” initiative – on behalf of the KZNFC and its Film Fund – specifically targeting micro-budget films. With this in mind, the KZNFC has reserved an impressive 40% of its funding budget this year for made for TV/micro-budget films.

Scope of the Made for TV programme:

  • The initiative aims to empower KwaZulu-Natal-based filmmakers to create TV films of competitive quality.
  • The programme will address the issue of low-quality films produced through financial, structural, mentorship and resource support.
  • The programme will encompass a specific call for Made for TV film proposals.
  • Over a period of 12 months, successful applicants will refine their proposals, develop scripts, and produce and deliver TV films of 60min in length. This process will be guided by industry professionals, practitioners and the KZNFC’s production and development team.

Ngcobo said that all this couldn’t be done without the programme’s vital industry partners, namely the SABC, KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF), and the Durban Film Office (DFO).

For more information visit the KZNFC website.

The DFM is the industry arm of the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), currently taking place at various venues in and around Durban until 28 July.

Cast and crew set to attend world premiere of Back of the Moon at DIFF 2019

Back of the Moon will have its World Premiere at the Durban International Film Festival – 19 July at 7.30pm – at Suncoast CineCentre, with the cast, director and key crew in attendance.

Back of the Moon is directed by Academy Award® nominee, Angus Gibson and stars Richard Lukunku, Moneoa Moshesh, Lemogang Tsipa, Siya Zulu and Thomas Gumede, set in 1958 Sophiatown. On the eve of his home being demolished by apartheid police, Badman a notorious gangster decides to fight them to the death. But then Eve, a gorgeous torch singer is thrust into his orbit. On the last day of his life Badman finds something worth living for.

Commenting on the gala screenings, Videovision Entertainment’s director of Acquisition and Distribution, Sanjeev Singh said, “We are thrilled to have the World Premiere of Back of the Moon at the 40th edition of the Durban International Film Festival. Back of the Moon gives us an authentic snapshot of life in Sophiatown, an area of Johannesburg that was a hub of black intellectualism and a hotbed of political activity which was destroyed by the apartheid state.”

Videovision Entertainment will also be screening SARAFINA!, MORE THAN JUST A GAME and FREEDOM SQUARE AND BACK OF THE MOON in DIFF’s commemorative section, Celebrating 25 Years of Democracy.

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