DIFF announces films in competition

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), will host the Durban International Festival (Diff) from 22 July to 1 August 2021. This year, for its 42nd edition, the festival presents a programme of close to 140 feature films, documentaries and short films alongside the industry programme: Isiphethu.

On 22 July, Diff 2021 will open with a virtual screening of the action-thriller, The Eagle’s Nest, by Cameroon-born British director Olivier Assoua. From 23 July, all other films will be available to watch for free online. The documentary ‘Threshold’ by the Brasilian Coraci Ruiz is the closing film and will be screening on 1 August just after the annual Diff Award Ceremony. The Diff jury is composed of an international team of industry specialists; including South African producer Cait Pansegrouw, filmmaker Sam Soko from Kenya and Dutch producer Raymond Van Der Kaaij.

Head of programming, Chipo Zhou, has announced the films in competition. The films are diverse but have a common thread. “The Diff deliberately cultivates indigenous talent development and grants access to audiences and aspirant filmmakers particularly women, children, LGBT communities in highly conservative regions of the world. Ultimately, all the narratives in competition speak to this vision and are an illustration of the challenges of overcoming adversity and adapting to an altered world — one where, sadly, not everyone has fared so well. These are the kinds of stories that Diff sought out this year, stories of hope, stories that show the light at the end of the tunnel, even if for now, it seems like just a flicker,” said Zhou.

Documentaries in the 2021 Competition:

  • Areum Married, directed by Areum Parkkang,
  • As I Want, directed by Samaher Alqadi,
  • Downstream to Kinshasa, directed by Dieudo Hamadi,
  • Hard Livings, directed by Solomon Staggie,
  • I Am Here, directed by Jordy Sank,
  • I, Mary, directed by Aliki Saragas Georgiou,
  • Mein Vietnam, directed by Thi Hien Mai,
  • Murder in Paris, directed by Enver Samuel,
  • Postcard, directed by Asmae El Moudir,
  • The Colonel’s Stray Dogs, directed by Ashurs father, Khalid Shamis,
  • The Last Shelter, directed by Ousmane Samassekoou,
  • The Sit-In, Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show, directed by Yoruba Richen,
  • Zinder, directed by Aicha Macky.

Features in the 2021 Competition:

  • A Little Bird Reminds Me, directed by Shi Xin,
  • Granada Nights, directed by Abid Khan,
  • Lost, directed by Driss Roukhe,
  • My Son, directed by Equan Choe,
  • Nandi, directed by Khalid EL-Jelailati,
  • Pusha Pressa Phanda, directed by Dick d’vLz Reubïn,
  • Rickshaw Girl, directed by Amitabh Reza Chowdhury,
  • Sons of the Sea, directed by John Gutierez,
  • Valentina, directed by Cássio Pereira dos Santos,
  • The Eagle’s Nest, directed by Olivier Assoua.

The full programme consists of a selection of 52 short films curated for DIFF 2021. Tickets for the virtual screenings are only available from South Africa and free of charge. Tickets are accessible through a booking system which will open on 21 July.

The 42nd edition of the festival is organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, in partnership and with the support of the KZN Film Commission, the National Film and Video Foundation, Department of Arts & Culture, the Film and Publications Board and other valued funders and partners. To see the full programme, go here.