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.