Wavescape Festival Unveils Ocean-Conscious Line-up For Durban International Film Festival

The Wavescape Surf and Ocean Festival presented by VANS has announced a bumper lineup of 19 films at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), with the addition of a unique evening of talks dedicated to the ocean.

In keeping with an increasingly urgent mandate to conserve our oceans and our planet, Wavecape brings Slide Night, featuring talks by ocean thought leaders on a wide range of topics – including science, sustainability, adventure and activism – to its programme of films to be screened at DIFF from 21 to 26 July.

Slide Night, which is attended by sellout crowds in Cape Town every December, will be hosted by PETCO and Wavescape at the South African Association for Marine Biological Research at uShaka Marine World on Thursday 25 July. Well known ocean advocate, free diver and Durban surfer Olivia Symcox will MC the evening, with talks ranging from how to recycle your trash to a Sea Shepherd skipper speaking about the activist group’s work in South Africa.

Wavescape also announced several blockbuster documentaries for DIFF, including Andy Irons: Kissed by God and Trouble: The Lisa Andersen Story that will be screened at Musgrave Ster Kinekor.

The award-winning Cape Town big wave movie Satori, as well as the Mikey February classic Can’t Steal Our Vibe, and two other short films will be screened on opening night at the Bay of Plenty in Durban on Sunday 21 July at 7pm. This screening is free, and the members of the public are invited to wrap up warmly and bring picnics as well as chairs or blankets to sit on.

The festival then moves on to two days of free screenings at uShaka Marine World and three nights at Musgrave Ster Kinekor. Several African premieres will be screened, including How to Learn How to Surf, a hilarious spoof of surf culture fresh off its world premiere in the US. Thank You Mother features South Africa and Australia, and is narrated by Australian filmmaker Albert Falzon, who made the seminal 1970 surf film Morning of the Earth.

What is a surf film festival without huge waves? Wavescape will present the African premiere of White Rhino, featuring gigantic waves in Hawaii, Tahiti, and Fiji. Nordurland, the other premiere, is shot in the Arctic Circle, and will no doubt have Durban surfers running for their wetsuits, which they do when water temperatures drop below 28 degrees Celsius.

Other films include the ode to the ocean, Emocean, filmed in Australia, California and Hawaii and featuring conservationist Sacha Guggenheimer, Pipeline surfing legend Jamie O’Brien, big wave pioneer Jeff Clark, iconic surf filmmaker Paul Witzig, and Hawaiian photographer Brent Bielmann.

Transcending Waves, directed by the Gauchos del Mar brothers Julian and Joaquin Azulay, who will be in attendance, features a sweeping epic shot in the Falkland Islands, where they try to use surfing to help heal the scars created by the 1982 War between Britain and Argentina.

Andy Irons: Kissed by God is the untold and tragic story of Andy Irons’ bipolar disorder and opioid addiction.

To book for SLIDE NIGHT ONLY at Ushaka Marine World, go to

To book for Wavescape at Musgrave Ster Kinekor, book online

More information at

For more information about the DIFF go to

Bay of Plenty lawns, 7pm, Sun 21 July
Arena 5, Village Walk, uShaka Marine, 6.30pm, Mon 22-Tue 23 July
Ster-Kinekor, Musgrave Shopping Centre, 6.30pm, Wed 24-Fri 26 July


South African Premiere Of Buddha In Africa At Durban International Film Festival

Buddha in Africa, directed by KwaZulu-Natal-based filmmaker, Nicole Schafer, has been selected into the International Documentary Competition at the 40th Durban International Film Festival (18 to 28 July) for the second leg of its South African Premiere.

This delicately observed documentary about a Malawian teenager caught between his African roots and Chinese upbringing; was chosen as the Opening Night feature for the Encounters Documentary Festival in Cape Town and Johannesburg where it also received a Backsberg Encounters Audience Award. The film had its World Premiere at the prestigious Hot Docs Canadian International Festival in April and the Sydney International Film Festival in June with several more local and international festivals lined up for this year.

The film follows the intimate story of Enock Alu, a Malawian teenager growing up in a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Africa. Once the star performer with dreams of becoming a martial arts hero like Jet Li, Enock, in his final year of school, has to make some tough decisions about his future. Will he return to his relatives in his home village or study abroad in Taiwan? Set against China’s expanding influence on the continent, Buddha in Africa provides a unique insight into the impact of cultural soft power on the identity and imagination of a young boy and his community.

“Most of the focus of Chinese involvement in Africa has been on the economic impact, whereas this story shows the influence of Chinese culture,” says writer and director Nicole Schafer. “For so long Africa has been influenced by Western culture and economic systems. I was struck by how this orphanage is strangely reminiscent of the Christian missions during the colonial era, only here African children have Chinese names and instead of learning about the West, they are learning about Chinese culture and history. I feel that the orphanage is the perfect metaphor to explore not only the impact of Chinese involvement in Africa, but also as a mirror for the legacy of Western colonialism on the African continent.”

Enock Alu (16) is one of three hundred orphans from rural Malawi growing up in a charity-based NGO founded by a Buddhist monk from Taiwan. It is one of several similar institutions around Southern Africa aimed at using Chinese culture and Buddhism to uplift the lives of orphans in Africa.

Filmed over five years, this essential film provides a valuable insight into some of the challenges affecting vulnerable children in Sub-Saharan Africa and poses complex questions around culture, identity, imperialism and the impact of foreign development aid.

“I feel Enock’s internal conflict of trying to hold onto his own culture and then the sacrifices that come with embracing the opportunities afforded by Chinese engagement in many ways reflects the dilemma around the future development of the African continent. How does Africa move forward and participate within an increasingly globalised world without becoming victim to yet another system of economic and cultural domination?”

Schafer goes on to say, “There are big differences between Western and Eastern perspectives and we worked hard to balance the African and Chinese points of view in the film. I have been interested in how different audiences have responded to the film. International audiences seem to be more interested in the political context, while locally, in South Africa, audiences have been deeply moved by Enock’s personal story. As a filmmaker, I have chosen to document his story, and am pleased it is providing a diverse global audience the opportunity to examine the complex and layered world in which we Africans find ourselves.”

The film is an international co-production between Thinking Strings Media based in the KZN Midlands in South Africa, and Momento Film in Sweden. Renowned Paris-based company CAT & Docs will be representing the film internationally. AfriDocs is the African broadcast partner.

The project received the IDFA Most Promising Documentary Award when it was first pitched at the Durban FilmMart in 2011 and has since been awarded funding from several international funds including the IDFA Bertha Europe Fund in the Netherlands, Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Doc Fund and the Alter Cine Foundation in Canada, Chicken & Egg Pictures in New York, the South African National Film and Video Foundation and the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission.

The film premieres at DIFF on Saturday, July 20 at 4pm at Musgrave Sterkinekor, and has a second screening at Suncoast Cine Centre on Thursday, July 25 at 6.30pm.

For more information go to


Durban International Film Festival Reveals Programmers For Its 40th Edition

As the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) gears up for its 40th edition, eight programmers have been working tirelessly for four months to consolidate a strong programme for this major milestone in the history of film on the continent.

DIFF, organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, takes place this year from 18 to 28 July in venues around Durban, South Africa. It takes the record of being one of the oldest and largest festivals in Africa, presenting over 150 films, while also offering workshops, industry seminars, discussion forums and outreach activities that include screenings in townships areas, where cinemas are non-existent.

“In celebration of 40 years of DIFF, we are proud to reveal our strong line-up of programmers,” says DIFF Manager Chipo Zhou. “Our features panel includes Tsitsi Dangaremba (Zimbabwe), Gabrielle Kelly (USA), and Peter Machen (SA/Germany), the documentaries panel is made up of Theresa Hill (South Africa) and Nataleah Hunter-Young (Canada); while the shorts panel comprises Lisa Ogdie (USA), Fibby Kioria (Uganda) and Chioma Onyenwe (Nigeria).”

“The role of the programmers is vital in the shaping of a festival, and we are very excited to be working with such internationally-acclaimed and recognised individuals, representing a diverse range of expertise and interests. Their task, to select 150 films from an incredible 12300 entries to this year’s festival, was a formidable challenge, and we are most grateful to them. We had, as part of the DIFF extended family, 60 reviewers from around the globe to support them, and we look forward to locking down the programme over the next few weeks, and delivering a festival befitting its “fabulously fortieth” year.”

Zimbabwean playwright, poet, activist and award-winning novelist and filmmaker, Tsitsi Dangaremba, has produced several documentaries and short short films, and has credits on most of Zimbabwe’s feature film classics. Her award-winning short film Kare Kare Zvako (Mother’s Day, 2005) was screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

Theresa Hill, with 20 years of experience working in the documentary industry, is responsible for acquisitions, programming, marketing and planning for the online platform AfriDocs, and is also board member of the Ladima Foundation, a Pan-African non-profit organisation which aims to contribute to correcting the major imbalances within the industry.

Well-known writer and critic, former manager of the Durban International Film Festival, and long-time programmer of the fest, Peter Machen, who is currently based in Berlin, makes a welcome return to the programming fold. Peter heads the media cooperative The Communication Factory and works for a plant-based advocacy organisation, and continues to write and reviews films on a number of platforms.

Nataleah Hunter-Young is a film programmer, media artist, and doctoral student in Communication and Culture at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. She has experience in supporting the programming for the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as the Durban International Film Festival.

Lisa Ogdie is a shorts programmer for the Sundance Film Festival and also Membership and Talent Development Manager for BAFTA Los Angeles. She has been part of the Sundance shorts programming team since 2009, selecting the Sundance short film slate from over 9,000 submissions, and has moderated Q&A discussions and panels for BAFTA Los Angeles, Sundance, Toronto Film Festival and the American Pavilion at Cannes.

Screenwriter/Producer Gabrielle Kelly is on the Faculty of the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles, with expertise and a passion for global storytelling, particularly in Asia. She has mentored labs and screenwriting masterclasses around the world, programmed, judged and created film festivals from Guam to Azerbaijan and is an expert on Media Labs and international story development for screens and pages. She worked with New York director Sidney Lumet and in Hollywood with numerous directors, writers and producers. As well as running producer Robert Evan’s company at Paramount for several years, she has also worked at HBO, CBS Films, Eddie Murphy Productions and Warner Bros.

Fibby Kioria is a Programme Director of Maisha Film Lab, a leadership development organization founded by Mira Nair to empower visionary filmmakers in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda by giving them the tools to tell their own stories through film. She was the Line Producer on the Mira Nair and Zippy Kimundu short documentary portrait of Robert Katende, A Fork, a Spoon & a Knight. She went on to produce the music video for the song ‘# 1 Spice’ from Disney’s Queen of Katwesoundtrack. She is also an Associate Producer at Afro Films International.

Nigerian filmmaker, Chioma Onyenwe has a background in economics and management from University of Lagos and Imperial College London. She plunged into fulltime film-making in 2014. She is the Programme Director for the Africa International Film Festival. Her first feature 8 Bars and a Clef, was nominated for the 2016 AMAA Award for Best First Feature Film.

For more information, visit or any of DIFF’s social media pages.

Awards Festival

39th Durban International Film Festival Awards

The 39th Durban International Film Festival held its awards ceremony on Saturday (July 28) at Suncoast CineCentre on as filmmakers and film-lovers gathered to watch the official closing film Rafiki, directed by Wanuri Kahiu.

A total of 17 awards were given out at the ceremony:

Best Feature Film: The Reports on Sarah and Saleem, directed by Muayad Alayan, and produced by Muayad Alayan, Rami Alayan, Hans de Wolf, Hanneke Niens, Rebekka Garrido, Rodrigo Iturralde, Georgina Gonzalez, and Alejandro Duran. The award is accompanied by a cash prize of R50 000.

Best South African Feature Film: High Fantasy, directed by Jenna Bass and produced by David Horler and Steven Markovitz. The film received a cash prize of R25 000.

Best Documentary: New Moon, produced and directed by Philippa Ndisi-Hermann. The film received a cash prize of R25 000.

Best South African Documentary: Sisters of the Wilderness, directed by Karin Slater  and produced by Ronit Shapiro. The award is accompanied by a cash prize of R25,000.

  • Best Direction: Constantin Popescu for Pororoca
  • Best Cinematography: Liviu Marghidan for Pororoca
  • Best Screenplay: Jennifer Fox for The Tale
  • Best Actor: Bogdan Dumitrache for his role as Tudor in Pororoca, directed by Constantin Popescu
  • Best Actress: Maisa Abd Elhadi for her role as Bisan in The Reports on Sarah and Saleem
  • Best Editing: Anne Fabini, Alex Hall and Gary Level for The Tale
  • Artistic Bravery: was won jointly by High Fantasy, directed by Jenna Bass and Supa Modo directed by  Likarion Wainaina.
  • Best South African Short Film: Stillborn, directed by Jahmil X. T. Qubeka and produced by Huanxi Media Group, Xstream Pictures, and Yellowbone Entertainment. The film received a cash prize of R20 000 sponsored by the Gauteng Film Commission.
  • Best African Short Film: Aya, directed by Moufida Fedhila and produced by Appel d’Air Films. The film also received a cash prize of R20 000 sponsored by the Gauteng Film Commission.
  • Best Short Film: -The Patience of Water(La Paciencia Del Agua), directed by Guillem Almirall,. The film received a cash prize of R20 000 from the Gauteng Film Commission.
  • Audience Choice Award: The State Against Mandela and the Others, directed by Nicolas Champeaux and Gilles Porte, which received a cash prize of R25 000.
  • Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award: Silas, directed by Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman and produced by Appian Way, Big World Cinema and Ink & Pepper Productions.
  • Best Wavescape Film: Heavy Water, directed by Michael Oblowitz

DIFF has recently been included as a Documentary Feature Qualifying Festival by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences, which means that both the winners of the Best Documentary, New Moon and Best SA Documentary Sisters of the Wilderness, will now automatically qualify for consideration for an Oscar nomination.

The Shorts jury included creative media education and development  specialist Alicia Price and Leon Van Der Merwe of the Cape Town International Film Market and Festival. The fiction feature jurors were SA Producer Bongiwe Selane, Nigerian actor  Hakeem Kae Kazim and Nigerian actress Nse Ikpe-Etim. The documentary film jury included South African producer Uzanenkosi, Zimbabwean producer Nakai Matema, Nigerian filmmaker Mahmood Ali-Balogun and Berlin-based freelance filmmaker, writer and curator, Dorothee Wenner.

The festival continues until Sunday, 29 July,  at various venues around Durban.  DIFF 2018 is part of a month-long feast of film in Durban, including the BRICS Film festival and industry programmes, the Durban FilmMart, Isiphethu, Talents Durban, and the Nature Environment and Wildlife Film Congress.

See for more information and the programme.


Baby Mamas Takes To The Silver Screen In Its African Premiere At The 39th Durban International Film Festival

The all new comedy drama, Baby Mamas will feature at the 39th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF). The week-long festival runs from 19th to 29th July at cinemas across Durban, and Baby Mamas will make the Sunday 22nd viewing a lot more interesting.

Set in Johannesburg, Baby Mamas revolves around the daily lives, loves and drama of four professional women who are all in different stages of their own real-life baby mama drama. Sharing similar experiences, a sisterhood develops among these four very different women, they find in each other the strength and courage it will take to navigate the treacherous waters of the relationships, good and bad, that they have with the men in their lives.

The film is written and directed by Stephina Zwane who also wrote and directed feature film; Love and Kwaito. Zwane co-Produced Baby Mamas with Salamina Mosese, under their production company, Sorele Media. The SAFTA winning actress, Mosese is also a lead in Baby Mamas along with sought-after actresses Kay Smith, Thembisa Mdoda and Dineo Ranaka.

“It’s important for such stories coming out of Africa to be told, our generation is fortunate to have the privilege of being able to tell our story ourselves, so the first thing I’m going to do is to always tell a unique African story.” said director Stephina Zwane.

“Right at the forefront of our stories there will always be leading women attached. Baby Mamas provides the other side of this narrative that is so often told from a negative perspective, which is not entirely true. This is why it is important to provide varying voices and realise that the female-perspective and experience deserves a platform too,” added Zwane.

Having travelled the world to cities such as New York, the African Premiere is a critical milestone for any film, as it makes the journey toward its local country release. The film screens at the Musgrave Ster Kinekor Complex at 16:00 on Sunday 22 July as part of the DIFF screening line up. The film promises to make you laugh, cry and show you a different side to modern-day Baby Mamas.

As part of the Emerging Black Filmmaker’s Fund (run by the IDC, DTI and NFVF), the film is set to release across cinemas in South Africa on October 12th 2018.


Awards Festival

Women Shine At ZIFF 2018

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF announced its awards on Saturday night July 14th, and African women topped the lists, dominating many of the top categories. The development and recognition of women within the film industry was a reoccurring theme throughout both ZIFF and the inaugural DISCOP Zanzibar.

Amongst a record number of over 4,000 entries across all all categories and from over 140 countries, East African filmmakers also featured prominently with the stunning Kenyan film Supa Modo taking home the coveted Golden Dhow for Best Feature Film.

The films in selection crossed a broad spectrum of topics and genres and represented over 40 countries including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda South Africa, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Western Sahara, Niger, Iran, The United States, France, Ghana, Belgium, Tunisa, Swaziland, India, United Kingdom and many more.

Women filmmakers took home a total of 10 awards, with the documentary Silas directed by Anjali Nayar, Hawa Essuman taking home two awards; Best Documentary and Best International Film.

The Chairman’s Bi Kidude Award, named after the legendary Zanzibar musician, was awarded to Rahmatou Keita from Niger for her moving and romantic plea for cultural preservation, The Wedding Ring.

The Wedding Ring – Bi Kidude Award

The Emerson Foundation’s Award for Best Film from Zanzibar was also awarded to a woman, Barke Ali, while the SIGNIS East African Talent Award went to Ugandan woman Kemiyondo Coutinho for Kyenvu.

In the inaugural version of the category for Best TV Series, South African Lucilla Blankenberg for her series Jab.

JAB, Best TV Series

The Ousmane Sembene Awards for Short Film went both went to women, with Tanzania’s Esther Mndeme and South Africa’s Rea Moeti taking home the honours for their films Leah and Mma Moeketsi respectively.

Best Short Film overall was won by Tunisia’s Moufida Fedhila for Aya, while the Best Short Swahili Film was won by Faith Musembi for her film Pendo.

Additionally, women were in the spotlight throughout the event with the Ladima Foundation hosting two events and also awarding the Adaiaha Award for Best Documentary from an African Woman to New Moon, from Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann.

Ladima Adiaha Award – New Moon

The Ladima Women of Influence Panel was especially well received with its focus on tangible steps to be taken to assist the development and recognition within the film and media industries. The panel included Bikiya Graham-Douglas, a Nigerian actress, singer, entrepreneur and the founder of Beeta Universal Arts Foundation, Biola Alabi, an African media expert with over 25 years of local and global media experience, Theresa Hill: South Africa: General Manager STEPS/ Acquisition Manager AfriDocs,   Dr. Mzuri Issa Ali: Zanzibar: Director TAMWA, Giselle Portenier, a Candian award-winning journalist and filmmaker, and Farida Nyamachumbe a filmmaker from Zanzibar.

Women from across Africa and the globe were in strong attendance, with a marked increase from previous years. Their success in the awards roster is testament to the hard work and persistence of many, both men and women, who continue to focus on creating gender parity within the industry. ZIFF has made a concerted effort over the past few years to include and promote women filmmakers and this year the results can be seen.

For all the ZIFF winners, visist:

Festival Film

Table Manners Has Its World Premier At DIFF 2018

World Premiere of Leli Maki Esq.’s Table Manners takes place at this year’s DIFF on 23 July at Suncoast at 8pm.

Table Manners is a film about loss, love and finding oneself through one’s passion. Megan (Diaan Lawrenson) loses everything when her husband, Lloyd (Neels Van Jaarsveld), gets arrested for tax fraud and has to rebuild herself by rediscovering her love for cooking and the flavors of life. With the help of her best friend Lindiwe (Renate Stuurman), she learns that the path back home begins with realizing that she is enough and all she needs is her family, food and love. Life’s 3 courses made easy.

Producer Nkuli Sibeko

The script was written and produced by SAFTA Award winning writer and actress Nkuli Sibeko who drew from her own love of cooking and family as the inspiration for the script. This is the director’s theatrical debut, and Leli Maki Esq. drew inspiration for the film’s visual aesthetic from the connection that food has to emotions.

Director Leli Maki Esq

“In Table Manners the challenge was to channel Megan’s emotions through her relationship with the food; visually representing the sensation of her anger through burnt chocolate proved a challenge for us which my team and I met head on and with gusto. We’re proud of our film” says Maki.

Diaan Lawrenson and Renate Stuurman headline this visual feast for all the senses. Neels Van Jaarsveld, Thabo Malema, Fiona Ramsey and John Lata round off the strong cast as they all take turns tasting and learning from Diaan’s tasty yet wise creations.

Table Manners is the third film from the Jack&Jill Productions company which has had past successes at both Durban International Film Festival and the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles.  The company self-funded its first two feature length projects: Freedom Mixtape, a documentary which was  Durban International Film Festival 2014 and Winsome, a romantic comedy which was in competition in the Best First Feature Narrative category at the Pan African Film Festival 2015.

Table Manners will screen on 23 July at Suncoast at 8pm with further screenings on 24 July at 17h00, at Gateway and on 27 July at18h30 at Suncoast.

For the full DIFF programme go to

Festival Film

The Tale, Starring Laura Dern, Will Have Its SA Premier At This Year’s Durban International Film Festival

The Tale, starring Laura Dern will have its SA Premiere at this year’s Durban International Film Festival on Saturday, July 21 at 14:15 at Suncoast CineCentre followed by a screening on July 23 at 16:00 at Musgrave Ster Kinekor. The director Jennifer Fox will be in attendance at the DIFF to present her film, and at the Durban FilmMart where she will be participating in a panel session entitled The Medium is the Message, where she will be discussing the transition from documentary film-making to narrative film-making.

Laura Dern

The Tale chronicles one woman’s powerful investigation into her own childhood memories, as she is forced to reexamine her first sexual experience – and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive. The film is written and directed by Sundance Grand Prize winner and Emmy® nominee Jennifer Fox, who based it on her own true story.

Starring Laura Dern (Oscar® nominee for “Wild” and “Rambling Rose”; Emmy® winner for HBO’s “Big Little Lies”; Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “Enlightened,” “Recount” and “Afterburn”), together with Isabelle Nélisse (“Mama”), Elizabeth Debicki (“The Night Manager”), Jason Ritter (“Kevin (Probably) Saves the World”), Frances Conroy (Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “Six Feet Under”) and John Heard (Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “The Sopranos”), with Common (Oscar® winner for “Selma”) and Ellen Burstyn (Academy Award® winner for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”).

An accomplished documentarian working in New York, Jennifer (Laura Dern) is completing her latest project about the lives of women around the world. She receives a series of phone calls from her mother, Nettie (Ellen Burstyn), who has found a short story Jennifer wrote at age 13, in which she describes various encounters with her riding instructor, Mrs. G (Elizabeth Debicki), and her running coach, Bill (Jason Ritter), while at summer camp. Nettie is unnerved by the implications of her daughter’s writing, but Jennifer is nonplussed. She has always looked back with fondness on the time she spent with these two charismatic adults.

Egged on by Nettie and encouraged by her supportive fiancé (Common), Jennifer yearns to know more and sets out on a journey, 30 years later, to find those people from her past – the children, now adults, who also attended the camp back then – and eventually the coaches themselves. But the more she learns, the more her memories shift and the more questions she unearths. As Jennifer’s frustration mounts, she finds herself turning inward to get to the truth, imagining conversations with her 13-year-old self (Isabelle Nélisse) and even Mrs. G and Bill in an effort to understand how and why events occurred so long ago.

An unforgettable meditation on the elusive nature of memory, The Tale is the first narrative feature from Jennifer Fox, whose documentary films have earned international acclaim for their groundbreaking artistry and unflinching honesty. Based on Fox’s own life story, THE TALE sees the filmmaker bravely pushing forward the boundaries of conventional storytelling, creating a dialogue between past and present to illustrate the interplay between memory and trauma.

“My goal was not to ask, ‘Did this happen?,’ because I always remembered it,” explains writer and director Fox. “It was, ‘How and why did it happen, and how and why did I spin it as a positive story?’ There was a lightbulb moment when I was making another film about women all around the world, and it seemed that every other woman – regardless of class, culture or color – had an abuse story to tell. Their stories just floored me, because they had a system or a paradigm that looked like my story. Suddenly, I couldn’t see it as my own private little narrative and knew that it was time to investigate what happened in the open space of a fictional film.”

The Tale is produced by Jennifer Fox, Oren Moverman, Laura Rister, Mynette Louie, Simone Pero, Lawrence Inglee, Sol Bondy, Regina K. Scully, Lynda Weinman and Reka Posta. Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Geralyn Dreyfous, Wendy Ettinger, Abigail E. Disney, Robert & Penny Fox, Jayme Lemons, Amy Rodrigue, Ali Jazayeri, Jason Van Eman, David Van Eman, Ross Marroso and Ben McConley are executive producers.

The Tale will be on MNET in SA in August this year.

The Full programme for DIFF can be downloaded here: or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Festival Film

DIFF – Celebrating Through Film, The 100th Anniversary Of President Nelson Mandela’s Birth

2018 marks the 100th anniversary celebrations around the globe of President Nelson Mandela’s birthday, and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) is honoured to present three films that provide fascinating insights into one of the most celebrated statesmen to have ever lived.


The DIFF, which is organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts and takes place from 19 to 29 July will feature Celebrating Mandela One Hundred, An Act Of Defiance and The State Against Mandela and the Others.

Celebrating Mandela One Hundred, is a documentary feature produced and conceptualised by Anant Singh, and made with the support and endorsement of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.  The film traces Mandela’s life from his roots in the rural village of Mveso, to becoming one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen. Celebrating Mandela One Hundred takes us beyond the political and into the personal, and features exclusive interviews with family members, close friends, comrades, politicians and international celebrities, telling us the story of a man who became an international icon.

An Act Of Defiance directed by Jean Van De Velde, tells the story of Bram Fischer who managed to reconcile his white Afrikaner roots with his desire for justice, joining the struggle against apartheid out of principle. He defended Nelson Mandela and his comrades in the Rivonia Trial of 1963 and 1964 – playing a crucial role in preventing the ANC-leaders being sentenced to death – and was an underground guerrilla at the same time.

Linking in with this film The State Against Mandela and the Others directed by Nicolas Champeaux, Gilles Porte, is a documentary based on recently recovered archival recordings of the Rivonia Trial hearings. Although Mandela took centre stage during the historic trial, there were nine others who, like him, faced the death sentence and were subject to pitiless cross-examinations.  The film transports us back into the thick of the courtroom battles and attempts to redress the historic balance by putting Mandela’s comrades centre stage. State Against Mandela and the Others is a reminder, says co-director Gilles Porte, “that all great things that happen in this world are achieved collectively.”

For the full programme and more information The Full programme for DIFF can be downloaded here: or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Festival Film

Award-winning Documentary “The Fun’s Not Over” Comes To DIFF

Durban filmmaker Michael Cross’ award-winning documentary film, “The Fun’s Not Over – The James Phillips Story” will have its local premiere at the Durban International Film Festival on Saturday 21 July 2018 at Musgrave Centre at 8 pm.

Filmmaker Michael Cross

The film, which recently won the Audience Award when it premiered at this years 20th Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival, tells the story of the life and untimely death of James Phillips who died aged 36 in July 1995.

James Phillips at Jamesons Johannesburg (1986)

He was a composer, musician, bandleader and the voice and conscience of a generation of white South Africans.  Cross’ film examines his extraordinary journey and his multiple musical incarnations.

Phillips’ Afrikaans alter ego Bernoldus Niemand’s 1983 single, “Hou My Vas Korporaal” (“Hold Me Tightly, Corporal”) became an anthem of the End Conscription Campaign and spawned “alternative” Afrikaans rock music and the Voëlvry movement.

In 1985, with his beloved Cherry Faced Lurchers, he recorded the gut-wrenching “Shot Down” that addressed both white privilege and the violence of the apartheid state.

James Phillips’ legacy is that of one of this country’s most aware, articulate and passionate artists. He was a genius, a satirist, a poet and probably one of the most accomplished songwriters that South Africa has ever produced.

“The Fun’s Not Over” tells James’ story in his own words and through the voices of journalists like Max du Preez, satirists Zapiro and Pieter Dirk Uys, his musical collaborators and label-mates like Koos Kombuis and Vusi Mahlasela, contemporary artists like Jack Parow and his friends and family.

“The Fun’s Not Over – The James Phillips Story” will be it screens, in competition, for Best South African Documentary Feature at the 39th Durban International Film Festival on Saturday 21 July 2018 at Musgrave 3 at 20:00 and Wednesday 25 July 2018 at Musgrave 3 at 18:00.

For information on DIFF go to or follow The Fun’s Not Over and DIFF on social media.