Festival Film

African Gothic – New Film Based On Reza de Wet’s Master Piece – Diepe Grond

African Gothic, a bold new international film version of Reza de Wet’s iconic masterpiece, Diepe Grond, will have its South African and African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in July.

African Gothic is a gritty, poignant drama set in a decaying farmhouse in the desolate heart of the parched Free State, about a dangerous and passionate relationship between deeply troubled lovers, their benign domestic worker and a hapless lawyer who pays them a visit. The production features two South African-born actors from Johannesburg who play the pivotal roles of Frikkie and Sussie: Damon Shalit plays the menacing Frikkie, and Chella Ferrow plays his beautiful and complex, sweetheart from childhood.

Shalit also wrote the screenplay and produced the film, which is directed by Gabriel Bologna. Shalit performed in the LA premiere of the play in 2005. Shortly thereafter he began writing the screenplay – a process, which was endorsed and supported by de Wet.

“After performing in the play, I felt compelled to embark on the journey to create the film.” says Shalit. “I was fortunate enough to be able to work directly with Reza de Wet in developing the screenplay, a somewhat daunting task as the play is such an iconic piece of theatre. The challenge came in how to take the play, set in one room, and expand it into a cinematic experience. So it was invaluable having her insightful input into this process.”

“When I read the screenplay of which Damon took pangs to stay true to the original text, I was surprised to discover that such a dark milieu and context was completely overshadowed by a deep love story. Aside from the spectacular symbolisms throughout the piece that represent the insidiously complex and dark legacy of Apartheid, there is a remarkable revelation about the nature of love itself: what unites people is not necessarily their common interests and pursuits, but in fact, their grief, their pain,” explains Bologna.

“What makes Frikkie and Sussie’s bond so strong is the mutual abuses they shared in their childhood – only they and they alone could understand one another, as their love was consecrated by the same scars, both emotional and physical.  Surprisingly, in some strange way, we are all like Frikkie and Sussie – our true search for love lies in finding someone who not only understands our joy, but even more so, our pain,” he said

“Reza de Wet, was one of South Africa’s most celebrated authors, who has won more theatre and literary awards than any other playwright. Though, sadly, she passed away last year, she has left behind a legacy in her native country of leading an artistic war against Apartheid.  When the government censors were clamping down on news, television and film, Reza led a hand-full of playwrights into a thriving artistic movement called, Theatre of the Struggle,” he explains.

“We are passionate about this story, and very excited about it coming to Durban, as it has a meaningful context in South Africa,” says Chella Ferrow who plays Sussie. “Reza de Wet wrote such powerful and courageous stories, and we are so proud to be bringing African Gothic to life on screen. When I think of her writing such a bold and daring piece during a time of so much oppression and secrecy, I am in awe. Her writing is extraordinarily fearless and potent in commenting on the complex nature of society and morality at that time.”

Frikkie and Sussie are carefully-crafted, fascinating characters – complex, intriguing, gritty and feral. Visually and emotionally, they would not be out of place in a Roger Ballen photograph. Their complexity and depth make them a challenge to perform.

Connie Jackson as Alina, the housekeeper, Damon Shalit as Frikkie and Chella Ferrow as Sussie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF
Connie Jackson as Alina, the housekeeper, Damon Shalit as Frikkie and Chella Ferrow as Sussie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF

It is hugely significant that this important piece of South African theatre will be seen by a new international audience, and that the pivotal characters of Sussie and Frikkie will be played by South African actors who have carved a career for themselves in Hollywood.

Shalit was born and raised in Linksfield, Johannesburg before moving to Houston with his family in his early teens. Ferrow grew up in Johannesburg and studied psychology through Wits and Unisa. She then moved to London in 1998 to do a post-graduate in acting. She has been living in New York for the past 11 years.

Chella Ferrow as Sussie and Damon Shalit as Frikkie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna, which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF
Chella Ferrow as Sussie and Damon Shalit as Frikkie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna, which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF

They are supported by established British actor Jonny Coyne, who plays the ill-fated Mr Grove, who was most recently seen in Hangover Part 3 and Gangster Squad; and  Alina, the housekeeper, played by US singer / actress Connie Jackson who was in Dreamgirls on Broadway and has been a backing vocalist for Phil Collins. The young Frikkie and Sussie are played by youthful Cape Town-born, UK based-actor David Verne, and Los Angeles musical-theatre performer Aviv Gadi. The parents are played by former South African actors, Glen Anthony Vaughan – who spent many years at PACT – and Maria Olsen, who moved from East London to Los Angeles in 2005.

Jonny Coyne as Mr Grove, Damon Shalit as Frikkie and Chella Ferrow as Sussie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna, which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF
Jonny Coyne as Mr Grove, Damon Shalit as Frikkie and Chella Ferrow as Sussie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna, which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF

Director, Gabriel Bologna, worked as an actor with the likes of Francis Ford Coppola and Mark Rydeland, Dick Van Dyke, before turning to writing and directing with his most recent film being Black Waters of Echo Pond. He is son of Hollywood legends, Joe Bologna and Renee Taylor.

“Like so much of film making, this has been a true labour of love and remarkable creative collaboration,” says Shalit. “Our film is not mere film adaptation of a play, but a wide-reaching artistic achievement that will hopefully spread global awareness about Reza de Wet, one of South Africa’s greatest playwrights, who died last year.”

African Gothic will have its South African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival. It is a joint SA and US production.  Visit for more info.

The Durban International Film Festival takes place in Durban, South Africa from July 18 to 28. African Gothic will be screened at 20 July 12:00 at Musgrave Ster Kinekor; 24 July 15:30 at Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre; 25 July 18:00 at Suncoast Cinecentre. For more info go to


Focus Features Sets Release Date for Fifty Shades Of Grey

The global release of Fifty Shades of Grey will start in North America on Friday, August 1st, 2014 with opening dates around the world to be announced. The Focus Features domestic theatrical release will be in theaters nationwide. Universal Pictures International is releasing the movie in the rest of the world.

Sam Taylor-Johnson is directing the highly anticipated film adaptation of E L James’ #1 bestselling book. Fifty Shades of Grey has been adapted into a screenplay by Kelly Marcel. Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti are producing the movie version alongside Ms. James.

Universal Pictures and Focus Features acquired the rights to the three books in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy in March 2012. Focus Features will market and distribute the first film in partnership with Universal. Fifty Shades of Grey has become a global phenomenon and the trilogy has been translated in over 50 languages worldwide since its release. To date, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold over 70 million copies worldwide in e-book and print, making it one of the fastest-selling book series ever.

Fifty Shades of Grey (first published in 2011) follows the relationship of 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele. Subsequent novels in the series, Fifty Shades Darker (2011) and Fifty Shades Freed (2012) explore the couple’s deepening relationship. For more information please see the official Fifty Shades of Grey Facebook page:

Focus Features and Focus Features International ( comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.

In addition to Fifty Shades of Grey, upcoming Focus Features releases include The World’s End, the new comedy reuniting director Edgar Wright with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; Closed Circuit, the suspense thriller directed by John Crowley and starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall; the true-life dramatic thriller Kill the Messenger, to be directed by Michael Cuesta and star Jeremy Renner; the comedic fable The Boxtrolls, the new animated feature from LAIKA, directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable with a voice cast that includes Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, and Tracy Morgan; Black Sea, the adventure thriller to star Jude Law for Academy Award-wining director Kevin Macdonald; and Dallas Buyers Club, the fact-based drama directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Jared Leto.

Focus Features and Universal Pictures are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast Corporation.


Elocution And Accent Reduction

Elocution is speaking in a polished and professional way. Accent Reduction is when you reduce your current accent (Collard, African, Afrikaans, European, etc.) so that you can sound more neutral English like what you hear in South Africa. The course makes you aware of the sound system (or phonology) of a language or dialect: which include identifying problems in the person’s current speech from the desired accent (such as pronunciation, speech patterns, and speech habits), changing the way one uses the mouth, teeth, and tongue to form vowel and consonant sounds, modifying one’s intonation and stress patterns, and changing one’s rhythm. Using this method, individuals trying to help their communication; will learn how to alter their speech to more closely resemble the accent of neutral English commonly used in SA and abroad, thus enhancing the clarity of their communication within the workplace.

Course Outline:

  • How to develop your voice using posture, relaxation + breathing;
  • Neutralizing any accent – resonance, pitch + tone;
  • Eliminating any/all speech faults – stuttering, mumbling;
  • Birth defects such as cleft palate/ cleft lip;
  • Strengthening weak oral muscles;
  • Reducing any accent: Collard, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Zimbabwean, Afrikaans, French; English (England), American etc.;
  • Communication skills in a private, public and corporate setting;
  • Public Speaking and confidence building;
  • Maximizing your vocal capacity giving you versatility and dynamics when speaking;
  • You will have better diction and clarity – articulation and enunciation;
  • Switch board, private and public sector and corporate sector, answering (phones), Front of house sales, etc;
  • You will learn how to gain confidence in speech within your working environment – verbal dynamics;
  • SWOT analysis;
  • Understanding your strengths and weaknesses and developing positive affirmations;

Overcoming all threats (fear, failure, criticisms etc.).


R2900 upfront. OR
Payment options on

Traveling as per AA rate (R2.09 per kilometer x 2) will be charged if needed to travel to you.

Discounts available on block booking.
5 or more gets a 10% discount.
10 or more gets a 20% discount.


13 weeks at 1hr per week OR 7 weeks at 2 hrs per week


Manual, 13 hrs of tuition, certificate and maintenance programme.


Biebie Productions
Tel: 084 625 4104


Despicable Me 2: Review

The Minions are at it again!!

Sure, there Gru, and a bad guy, and a bunch of other characters, but face it, you’re there for the Minions. Stuart and Jorge, Despicable Me 2Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have done it again, with daddy Gru thrust into a new adventure. The Minions are there to help (is rather, make us laugh), with Gru’s (Steve Carell) three girls (Margo – Miranda Cosgrove, Edith – Dana Gaier, Agnes – Elsie Fisher), and a new partner, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), from the AVL (Anti-Villain League). And let’s not forget a new ‘bad guy’, voiced by Benjamin Bratt. Gru’s three young daughters are a little older, leading to a few pre-teen laughs. There are a few nods to wards the spy movies of old, including a nod to James Bond – The Spy Who Loved Me, and a hint of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his cat. Steve Carell, as Gru, even hints at his previous spy film, Get Smart. In jokes aside, there are plenty of new one’s to keep you jiggling in your seat, and stay tuned for a rendition by the Minions at the end of the movie.

The plea for help comes early in the story, but feels slightly misleading, or is it? You’re expecting the story to take a certain route, with predictable twists, but it veers off in a totally perpendicular direction. There’s plenty for the adults, and bucket loads for the younger audience members. Parents will not be bored watching this with their children.

The voice casting is spot on, bringing life to the faces on-screen, with a ton of talent going into some very detailed sets. Even the gobbildy-goop spoken by the Minions sounds like it has meaning, developed in such as way as to keep continuity to their spoken words (similar to Klingon, from the Star Trek world).

Stuart and Jorge, Despicable Me 2Despicable Me 2, a fun adventure for the whole family, an afternoon with the children, or a night out with a significant other. You’ll be aching from laughter by the time the credits roll. Don’t leave too early though, because some of the biggest laughs come during these credits.

It’s heart-warming, it’s a spy story, a love story, and a story about family, Despicable Me 2 hits our cinema screens 5 July 2013.


The Lone Ranger World Premiere


From producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the filmmaking team behind the blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, comes Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “The Lone Ranger,” a thrilling adventure infused with action and humour  in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes. Native American warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice—taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.


Johnny Depp as Tonto
Johnny Depp as Tonto

“The Lone Ranger” also stars Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson and Helena Bonham Carter.

Tonto and the Lone Ranger
Tonto and the Lone Ranger

A Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films presentation, “The Lone Ranger” is directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski, with screen story by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Justin Haythe and screenplay by Justin Haythe and Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio. “The Lone Ranger” releases in S.A. theaters on July 12, 2013.

South African acting export, and SAMDB member, Tanit Phoenix (Spud, Death Race, Mad Buddies) was there with her significant other, actor Sharlto Copley (Elysium, District 9, The A Team).

Sharlto Copley and Tanit Phoenix


Durban International Film Festival / Durban FilmMart Forms Strategic Partnership With Durban Wild Talk Africa

Durban International Film FestivalThe Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal), with principal funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, and the Durban FilmMart (DFM), the joint project of the Durban Film Office (DFO) and DIFF, are pleased to announce that a strategic partnership has been formed with Durban Wild Talk Africa, the continent’s most respected natural history film festival and conference, which takes place at the Docklands Hotel in Durban from July 23 to 26.

Wild Talk AfricaThe return of Wild Talk Africa to Durban is supported by the City of Durban through Durban Tourism and the Durban Film Office. “We are pleased that after a number of years we can welcome back this prestigious conference and festival to our City,” says Philip Sithole, Head of Durban Tourism and Business Support. “Durban Wild Talk Africa combined with the continent’s two major film events – the Durban International Film Festival and the Durban FilmMart, firms up a truly strong film industry package for visitors and we look forward to welcoming the many local, continental and international industry guests to our shores.”

Durban Wild Talk Africa is considered to be Africa’s key film festival and conference for natural history and wildlife film and television programming. The event includes; workshops, seminars, masterclasses, open pitching sessions, commissioners panels and exhibitions, and is a valuable networking forum with both local and international delegates and industry leaders. This year DWTA will include the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition to be held at uShaka Marine World and sponsored by National Geographic, from 25 July to 25 September 2013.

The Durban International Film Festival is SA’s largest and longest-running film festival, which takes place from July 18 to 28. The Durban FilmMart, which runs parallel to the DIFF from July 19 to 22, is the continent’s premier film industry event, which provides opportunities for selected projects to pitch to financiers and producers, as well as offering a series of master classes and top-drawer networking opportunities with industry players.

A selection of natural history films have been chosen from 445 entries from across the globe, to be screened during 9 slots as part of the DIFF programme. These films were entered as part of Durban Wild Talk Africa’s ROSCAR Awards competition. The Durban Wild Talk Africa has scheduled its conference in the footprint of DIFF, as part of a greater vision to build Durban’s golden mile as a hub for film market activity in the month of July.

“Forming this strategic partnership with Durban Wild Talk Africa, adds a valuable new dimension to DIFF,” says Peter Machen, Manager of DIFF. “The Wild Talk Africa Film Festival selection complements our huge variety of more than 200 factual and fiction films screened at the DIFF. This, no doubt will add to the dynamic and vigorous discourse that usually takes place during the festival both informally and formally in seminars and workshops, as well as in the media.”

Durban Film Mart“We have chosen our dates to co-incide with the DIFF and DFM in a united effort to build the film festival and market environment for factual content and feature films in Durban,” says Donfrey Meyer, Director of Wild Talk Africa. “As the DWTA is an autonomous conference, running concurrently with the DIFF, we believe that film-makers and industry players will take advantage of the abundance of content, industry representation and opportunities to discuss, network and start conversations about content generation and distribution. There is a global focus on the natural history of this continent and, with this in mind, we are pleased to be welcoming commissioning editors and representatives from Discovery Networks International, NHK Japan Broadcasting Corp., BBC NHU, ORF Austrian Broadcasting Corp., ABC Australian Broadcasting Corp., National Geographic, SABC, NFVF, NHU Africa and others to Durban.”

“The success of the Durban FilmMart is clearly demonstrated by the fact that we have seen many of the projects pitched in the finance forum successfully make it to festivals and theatrical release over the past four years.” says Toni Monty of the Durban Film Office. “The DFM provides an important platform for the business of film to be conducted. This, together with the industry events at both the DIFF and DFM, promises to create a conducive environment for delegates to exchange ideas and forge partnerships and relationships.. All of this helps to further develop a dynamic and robust industry on the continent. We see the alignment with Durban Wild Talk Africa as a great opportunity to further promote and develop factual film content in Africa. We are hoping that film-makers and industry representatives attending the DFM will stay on a little longer to engage with Wild Talk Africa, and take in the additional industry opportunities available.”

Registration for the DWTA is now open on The delegate pass includes full access to workshops, seminars and panels, as well as evening networking events and functions.

Registration for the Durban FilmMart is now open on For more information about the Durban International Film Festival go to


South Africa To Celebrate Global Smurfs Day On 22 June

4 events in 3 provinces on 1 day as Smurfs show their love!

Smurfs 2

Following the announcement that South Africa will once again take part in Global Smurfs Day, details of the local celebrations can now be revealed.

4 separate events will take place in 3 provinces at the same time on Saturday 22 June as South Africans join together to spread a little love and goodwill … Smurf-style!

4 special venues have been chosen and will be painted Smurf-blue on Global Smurfs Day, thanks to the generous participation of Jack’s Paint and Hardware in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

The 2 chosen venues in Johannesburg are Oliver’s House in Zenzele and Abraham Kriel Langlaagte Campus in Observatory. Child Welfare in Phoenix has been chosen as the Durban venue and Percy Bartley House in Woodstock is where the Smurfestivities will take place in Cape Town.

Celebrities, the media and key partners of Sony Pictures Releasing International(SPRI) will all be joining in the fun and celebrations and lending a hand, or a cheer, to those painting each venue.

“A key message of Smurfs 2 and Global Smurfs Day is to spread love and goodwill. Without the generosity of our promotional partners, this day would not be possible. Thanks must go out to Jack’s Paint and Hardware, Bokomo, Idea Fruits, Checkers, Prima Toys, Sea Harvest, Tropika, UbiSoft, Sony Mobile,  Sony Home Entertainment, Ackermans, Popz Popcorn, Sony Music, Build-A- Bear Workshop and McDonalds for all their support and involvement in making what we certainly hope will be a special day for each of our chosen charities,” say Bashan Govindarajulu, marketing manager, SPRI, South Africa.

GSD Logo 2013


Despicable Me 2 Characters Tour Cape Town

The DESPICABLE ME 2 character costume tour over this school holiday season coming to Cape Town from 26 to 27 June.

Stuart and Jorge, Despicable Me 2

Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainments’s worldwide blockbuster Despicable Me entertained audiences around the globe in 2010, grossing more than $540 million and becoming the 10th biggest animated motion picture in U.S. history.  In winter 2013, get ready for the Minion madness in Despicable Me 2 which opens at cinemas nationally on 5 July.

Stuart and Jorge, Despicable Me 2

Christopher Meledandri  and his acclaimed filmmaking team create an all-new comedy adventure featuring the return of (former?) super-villian Gru (Steve Carell), his adorable girls, the unpredictably hilarious Minions… and a host of new and outrageously funny characters.

The minions, Stuart and Jorge can be met  at the following venues:-

15H30 TO 17H00       2 OCEANS AQUARIUM

09H30 – 11H00           STER KINEKOR PROMENADE
12H00 – 13H30           STER KINEKOR TYGER VALLEY
15H00 – 16H30           NU METRO GRAND WEST CINEMA

09H30 – 11H00           STER KINEKOR CAPE GATE
12H00 – 13H30           NU METRO CANAL WALK
14H30 – 16H00           NU METRO CANAL WALK
17H00 – 18H30           NU METRO V & A WATERFRONT


34th Durban International Film Festival 18-28 July 2013

2013 sees the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF),  with principal funding by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, return for its 34th year to celebrate the beauty and diversity of global cinema. From 18 to 28 July, Durban will be illuminated by the glow of the silver screen, with over 250 screenings in 11 venues across the city. Alongside this smorgasbord of the best of contemporary cinema from around, comprising 72 feature films, 48 documentaries and 45 short films, the festival offers a comprehensive workshop and seminar programme that facilitates the sharing of knowledge and skills by film industry experts.

African Focus

The burgeoning African film industry will once more be represented at DIFF 2013, although South African film retains the key focus, with 12 feature films, as well as 16 documentaries and a generous helping of short films – most of them receiving their world premiers on Durban screens in July.

This year’s opening night film is the ground-breaking African-noir work Of Good Report by filmmaker-on-the-rise Jahmil XT Qubeka. Telling the story of a serial killer obsessed with beautiful young girls, the film expands the language of African cinema. The festival’s closing film acknowledges Angela Davis, an important figure in the African diaspora, with the film Free Angela – and all political prisoners, directed by Shola Lynch.

High-profile South African films being showcased include Layla Fourie (which received its world premier at Berlin earlier this year), The Forgotten Kingdom which is set in the movingly beautiful landscape of Lesotho, Felix, which tells the story of a young township boy intent following his dreams of being a musician, and The Good Man, an intriguing look at a globalised reality.

Other local films include Everyman’s Taxi Ian Robert’s anarchic celebration of the new South Africa, Andrew Worsdale’s long-awaited Durban Poison and Khumba, the latest outing from Cape Town animation studio Triggerfish that won best South African film at DIFF 2012 for Adventures in Zambezia and has gone on to widespread commercial success around the world. Blood Tokolosh tells the disturbing story of a man who finds himself under the spell of the mythical Southern African creature, while Angel of the Sky reprises the role of South African pilots during the second world war. Actorholic comes from Oliver Rodger, who gave us last year’s Copposites, and African Gothic is a US/South African co-production based on the Reza de Wet play Diepe Grond.

From further afield, DIFF 2013 presents a number of cinematic gems, most of which are engaged in expanding the language of African cinema while dealing with significant issues around life on the continent. Tall As The Baobab Tree, from Senegal, tells the story of a poor couple who try to sell their daughter off into a forced marriage. Yema, from Algeria, tells the metaphoric story of a how a mother’s relationship with her sons is defined by war and violence, while Virgin Margarida chronicles a dark chapter in Mozambican history. The Battle Of Tabato is a fascinating blend of history, music and surrealism while Le Presidente bends the form of the fiction film while asking fascinating questions. Something Necessary chronicles an intimate moment in the lives of two people from very different sides of history, while It’s Us deals with tribalised violence in Kenya with hope and vibrancy.

Contemporary Europe

This year’s programme showcases the multiple perspectives that define the cultural landscape of contemporary Europe and, and the diverse ways in which the continent’s narratives are rendered. With support from organisations and partnerships such as EUNIC, World Documentary Exchange and Festival Scope, audiences can expect a feast of top class European films including the new Sally Potter film Ginger and Rosa which tells the story of two close friends during the liberal years of the 1960s. The Look of Love is the new film from DIFF regular Michael Winterbottom while Me and You is the first film in more than a decade from master filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci. These are just a few of the European feature films which will showcase the power of European cinema at DIFF 2013, and which will be accompanied by a wealth of European-produced documentaries.

American Independents

While mainstream American cinema is often derided for dominating the global culture, the country is also home to a wealth of independent filmmakers who struggle against the monolith of Hollywood as much as filmmakers anywhere in the world. DIFF 2013 offers a showcase of this strong strand of independent filmmaking including Wrong the latest film from Quentin Dupieux who gave us the DIFF cult-hit Rubber in 2011 and Spring Breakers from Harmony Korine, the enfant terrible of American independent cinema. Francine tells the small and delicately drawn story of a socially inept woman who has just come of out prison, while The Place Beyond the Pines is the highly anticipated new drama from director Derek Cianfrance who gave us Blue Valentine.

Sexual Identities

This year DIFF acknowledges the wide diversity of sexual identities being explored prolifically on contemporary screens, no doubt a reflection of a global trend towards a broader dialogue around sexual difference. From Dennis Cotes drama Vic+Flo Saw a Bear which chronicles the relationship between an ex-convict and her much younger lover to the documentary Valentine Road which provides a sociological post-mortem on the death of a young transgender boy to Interior. Leather Bar which examines contemporary masculinity through reconstructing a censored scene from the 1980 Al Pacino film Cruising, DIFF 2013 explores a very broad continuum of sexuality. Laurence Anyways tells the sprawling but immaculately rendered tale of a transgendered man and her female lover. Dust presents a diverse group of siblings forced to confront their unfulfilled lives while Two Mothers portrays the difficult involved in a gay couple adopting a child in progressive Germany.

In keeping with a broad acceptance of diversity, DIFF’s focus includes not only GLBT sexuality but also an exploration of heterosexuality in films such It Felt Like Love in which a young girl is determined to lose her virginity and The Future in which a young girl becomes a sexual companion to a blind former action hero. Una Noche tells of two Cuban boys, one of whom has unrequited feelings for the other, as they attempt to escape across the ocean to Miami.

Documentaries that deal with sexuality gender include Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer, I Am Divine a biopic about the gender-bending singer and artist Divine and Born This Way, about the lives of gay and lesbian people in Cameroon. Then there is the short film Atlantic Avenue which deals with the sexual attraction between a young man and a physically challenged woman.


With literally hundreds of Zombie films currently scheduled for release around the world, DIFF 2013 showcases a selection of films from the current Zombie wave. Headlining this mini-focus area is the long-awaited remake of the Evil Dead which conforms in many ways to the classic zombie genre, as does Zombie Fever 3D, one of the first zombie films from Russia, although its tongue is planted deeply in its cheek. On a more serious note, there’s the slow, mournful and thoroughly beautiful Halley which tells of a man whose body is rotting away. Frankenstein’s Army tells of a secret Nazi lab in which all manner of strange machines have been stitched together with human bodies. Then there’s Harold’s Going Stiff, an ultra-dry British zombie comedy with a big heart.

World Cinema

As well as these focus areas, DIFF 2013 offers a host of award-winning films from around the world, including works from many of contemporary cinema’s great masters. From Chinese director Wong Kar Wai comes The Grandmaster, which opened Berlin earlier this year, while Canadian director David Cronenberg descends once more into the darkness with Cosmopolis based on the Don deLillo novel. Takeshi Kitano, the king of stylised violence, delivers Outrage Beyond, while the enigmatic Closed Curtain comes from banned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. Deepa Mehta gives us a gorgeously sprawling rendition of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children while Danish dogma director Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt will chill you to the bone. Then there’s the exciting news that Ashgar Farhadi, whose A Separation won both the best Foreign Picture Oscar this year as well as best film at DIFF, returns with his latest film The Past.

Feast of Doccies

In addition to the best fiction features from around the world, DIFF 2013 has a wealth of documentaries to satisfy a broad spectrum of tastes and interests. And of course, there’s a strong selection from South Africa, where the documentary form is growing in stature and volume. Riaan Hendrick’s The Devil’s Lair transports us deep into a claustrophobic drug den on the Cape Flats, while celebrated local documentary-maker Damon Foster gives us a window into the lives of crocodiles with Touching The Dragon. Angels in Exile is a moving documentary about two proud yet impoverished children who live on the streets of Durban and The Creators pays tribute to the creative power of South Africa’s youth, including acclaimed graffiti artist Faith 47. From further afield, Drama Consult tells the cannily directed story of Nigerian entrepreneurs heading to Europe to explore the possibilities of economic co-operation, while African Metropolis is a collection of short slices of reality from around the continent. The Spirit of 45, from British feature director Ken Loach looks at the enduring influence of the labour movement during the war years while More Than Honey looks at the importance of maintaining the earth’s bee population. Algorithms presents the riveting story of blind chess players in India and Fidai is a very personal story set against the Algerian battle for independence.

Wavescape Surf Film Festival

For the ninth year, DIFF partners with Wavescape to bring you a feast of surfing cinema and shark stories including 11 features and 5 shorts. Bending Colors (Jordy Smith) chronicles the rise South Africa’s prodigal son who goes from teen sensation to world super star. In Revolution true life adventurer Rob Stewart goes on a mission to reveal the rapidly deteriorating circle of life on planet earth while The Heart and the Sea is a soulful and unpretentious tribute to the surf lifestyle. Other Wavescape films, including Immersion, Desert Rebels and Water From the Moon, take us around the world for some of the sickest waves on the planet.

Wavescape opens with a free outdoor screening at the Bay of Plenty Lawns on Sunday 21 July, before locating at Ster-Kinekor Musgrave Monday 22 July to Friday 26 July.

The Films That Made Me

For the first time this year, DIFF presents a repertory section in which film fans and filmmakers have the opportunity to access a slice of film history. In The Films That Made Me, South African director Jahmil Qubeka presents five films that have been influential in his growth as a filmmaker. The five films that he will present are: Oliver Schmitz’s Mapantsula, Akira Kurosawa’s Ran, John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, Jean Jacques Annaud’s Quest for Fire and Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi. After each screening, Qubeka will lead a discussion regarding the importance of the film. These screenings will be part of the Talent Campus Durban programme but will also be open to the public.

Talent Campus

The 6th Talent Campus Durban will bring together the creativity of 50 selected filmmakers from 18 different countries in Africa, chosen from over 450 submissions, who will take part in a series of masterclasses, workshops and industry networking opportunities during the Durban International Film Festival. Supported by German Embassy, Goethe-Institut and KZN Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Talent Campus Durban, a cooperation with Berlinale’s Talent Campus, entices filmmakers to enhance skills, develop collaborations and interface with the dynamic future of the film industry in Africa, and the world.

Durban FilmMart

Now in its 4th year, the Durban FilmMart, a partnership project with the Durban Film Office, and supported by the City of Durban, is a film finance and co-production market presented in three strands – Finance Forum, Master Classes and the Africa in Focus seminars. 23 selected African projects (11 fiction features and 12 documentaries) will have an opportunity to hold one-on-one meetings with potential financiers, co-producers, and distributors in the Finance Forum. The documentary projects will also have an opportunity to pitch their projects to a panel of international commissioning editors in DOC Circle, a structured pitching forum co-ordinated in association with the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA). The fiction feature programme is coordinated in association with Rotterdam International Film Festival’s CineMart. The DFM master class and networking programme is open to registered delegates only. See for further details.

Wild Talk

DIFF is pleased to announce that a strategic partnership has been formed with Durban Wild Talk Africa, the continent’s most respected Natural History Film Festival and Conference, which takes place at the Docklands Hotel in Durban from July 23 to 26. A selection of nine natural history films have been chosen from 445 entries from across the globe, to be screened at the Durban International Film Festival.

Durban Wild Talk Africa is considered to be Africa’s key film festival and conference for natural history and wildlife film and television programming. The event includes; workshops, seminars, masterclasses, open pitching sessions, commissioners panels and exhibitions, and is a valuable networking forum with both local and international delegates and industry leaders. This year DWTA will include the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition to be held at uShaka Marine World and sponsored by National Geographic, from 25 July to 25 September 2013. Registration for the WildTalk conference is available at .


Principal screening venues are Suncoast Cinecentre; Ster Kinekor Musgrave, Cinema Nouveau – Gateway, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre; Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu; and the Blue Waters Hotel. Other venues include the Bay of Plenty Lawns, the Upstairs at Spiga D’oro and the Luthuli Museum on the North Coast, which will have a special programme of screenings.

Tickets should be acquired through the respective venues and prices range from R25 to R35 (R50 for 3D screenings), except at Luthuli Museum, Blue Waters, Ekhaya and Bay of Plenty lawns, which are free of charge. The Short Film programme at Upstairs at Spiga d’Oro costs R20.

Programme booklets with the full screening schedule and synopses of all the films are available free at cinemas, and other public information outlets. Full festival details can also be found on or by calling 031 2602506.

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) the Durban International Film Festival is supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, City of Durban, German Embassy, Goethe Institut, Industrial Development Corporation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture, and a range of other valued partners.


Local Film Distributor Celebrates Tempo Nominations For Three Films On Its Slate

The nominations for Huisgenoot’s popular Tempo awards, which recognise and honour the best in Afrikaans film, television, radio and music of the year, have been announced. The magazine’s readers are able to vote for their favourites, with entries closing on 12 July. This year, the nominations for the Afrikaans Film of the Year award include three movies distributed by Indigenous Film Distribution.

“The Tempo awards are an annual highlight on the Afrikaans entertainment calendar,” says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution. “They represent the cream of the Afrikaans cultural scene, and we are excited to see that three of the films we distributed are among the top five that have been nominated. That means we are accurately gauging what audiences want to see.”

The first of the three films nominated is popular romantic comedy ‘Fanie Fourie’s Lobola’, which recently won the audience awards at the Seattle International Film Festival, the Sedona International Film Festival in Arizona, and the Jozi Film Festival. The movie is about a couple, an Afrikaans man and a Zulu woman, who fall in love and have to navigate their way through the complicated process of lobola – payment by the bridegroom’s family, in cash or cattle, to the bride’s family. It was directed by Henk Pretorius with Zethu Dlomo and Eduan van Jaarsveld playing the couple.

Next on the list is heart-warming feel good film ‘Klein Karoo’, directed by Regardt van den Bergh. It tells the story of Cybil, a dedicated young teacher who will do anything in her power to ensure that her dream of building a recreational centre at the local farm school comes true. She’s engaged to the town’s top winemaker, but she soon realises that he is not what he seem. When she meets Frans, a television journalist, her world is turned upside fdown. The film stas Donnalee Roberts, Hykie Berg and Tim Theron.

The third film is Afrikaans musical ‘Pretville’, directed by Linda Korsten and starring Marlee van der Merwe, Terence Bridgett, Marno Van der Merwe and Steve Hofmeyr. It celebrates the thrill of first love by paying tribute to the music of the 50s and the foot-tapping classics that evoke innocence and discovery.

“Overall, it’s been a good year for South Africa films, and for Afrikaans content in particular,” says Kuun. “It’s become increasingly clear that local audiences across the board are keen to be entertained. Romantic comedies are performing really well. Over and above that, it’s reassuring to witness the evolution of production quality, as is apparent in all the films that have been nominated.”