The Tokoloshe, a horror feature film by South African director Jerome Pikwane will open the Durban International Film Festival this year. In its 39th year, the festival which takes place from July 19 to July 29 will offer its audiences 180 features films, documentaries, and short films. The closing film Rafiki, directed by Kenyan Wanuri Kahiu is a LGTBI love-story.
Manager of DIFF, Chipo Zhou, explains the choice of these two diverse films that have women as their focus. “We wanted to book-end DIFF with films that tell stories about women, their strength and their resilience. We also want to showcase the fact that there are many ways to tell these stories from a cinematic point of view,” said Zhou.
“We are in a time of diversity, where women, racial minorities and LGBTI communities who have traditionally been underrepresented in film are having their voices brought to the fore,” says Zhou. “Referencing this global narrative, the films in this year’s festival will reflect these new voices as much as possible.”
Among the features in competition this year are South African films Farewell Ella Bella directed by Lwazi Mvusi, which follows a young woman on a journey to bury her father; High Fantasy directed by Jenna Bass, in which a group of young South Africans have to navigate a personal-political labyrinth when they wake up to discover they have swapped bodies; Sara Blecher’s Mayfair, a gangster film about a father and son; and The Recce by Ferdinand van Zyl, which explores the pain and suffering families endured during and after South Africa’s 20-year border war.
This year free community-based screenings will take place at Solomon Mahlangu Hall (New Germany/Clermont), KwaMashu Fan Park, Umlazi W Section Library and The Workshop Amphitheatre. Other screenings take place at Community ZA (formerly Artspace Gallery in Umgeni) and KZNSA Gallery, Musgrave Ster Kinekor, Suncoast Cine Centre and Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, as well as Ushaka Marine World.
“With about 400 film-makers in attendance, the public can look forward to a feast of film and some fascinating insights into the world of cinema,” concludes Zhou.
The DIFF is organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, National Film and Video Foundation, Durban Film Office and other valuable partners.