Durban International Film Festival Brings Stories From All Corners Of The World

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) will host the Durban International Festival (DIFF) from 21 to 30 July. The 43rd edition of the festival programme speaks to the curatorial theme of: “Adaptation, Survival and Sustainability”. The festival will present a selection of South African premieres, including twenty carefully curated feature-length documentaries, of which six will be live screening at  Suncoast CineCentre in collaboration with Avalon Group.

The documentary programme

The documentary programme consists of a selection that shows audiences different corners of the world, from the heart of a glacier in the Italian Alpes (N-Ice Cello, directed by Currado Bungaro) to the evening skies of Beirut (Kash Kash, directed by Lea Najjar), from the farms in Argentina (The Delights directed by Eduardo Crespo) to the disputed land of Umkhumane, in Durban South Africa (uMkhumbane in me by Malcolm Nhleko).

Some of the other international documentary features include:

  • Wind Blows in the Border from Brazil by directors Laura Faerman and Marina Weis, about the fight for ancestral lands.
  • Adam & Ida, directed by Jan Tenhaven, tells the story of Polish-Jewish twins who survived the Holocaust.
  • Portraits of the Future, directed by Virna Molina from Argentina who’s project is a philosophical and human essay about the “new normality” that affects us.
  • Batata, directed by Lebanese -Syrian filmmaker Noura Kervokian follows the plight of Syrian Migrant workers.
  • Forgotten Dreams, directed by Marwa El Sharkawy from Egypt, follows the story of a young, talented, colloquial poet who discovers he has kidney failure.
Scene from Wind Blows in the Border (Brazil)
Scene from Forgotten Dreams (Egypt)

DIFF is bringing a special ode to homegrown music by presenting a selection of three documentaries by first-time filmmaker Malcolm Nhleko. The filmmaker, who is well-known in the music industry as a studio owner and producer and the sound engineer of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, brings the first two stories of a series titled Legends Speak that document the lives of legendary musicians Madala Kunene in uMkhumbane in me and Themba Mokoena in Talking Guitar. In Sonny Boy – the making of a sound man, he tells his own life story, being a bi-racial boy, from his humble beginnings in rural KwaZulu-Natal as an orphan to his unlikely rise as a successful sound engineer on the world stage.

Scene from Sonnyboy (South Africa)

Also documenting a vital part of the history of Durban’s music is Music Is My Life, the official story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo leader Joseph Shabala, directed by Mpumi Supa Mbele. Music Is My Life is one of the six African documentaries that have been selected in partnership with Encounters Documentary Film Festival. Encounters and DIFF have formed a long-standing strategic partnership, creating an enhanced platform for African filmmakers. These co-presentations preclude filmmakers from being forced to choose one or the other festival to launch their films. This affords increased visibility and reach for South African and African documentaries. 

The other six documentaries selected in partnership with Encounters include:

  • No U-Turn, directed by Nollywood filmmaker Ike Nnabue goes back to the path he took at the dawn of his adult life when he wanted to reach Europe.
  • No Simple Way Home, directed by the South-Sudanese Akuol de Mabior, is an intergenerational conversation that charts the struggle to reconcile family and country.
  • Girl Taken, directed by Simon Wood and Francois Verster, tells the incredible story of two parents whose baby was stolen from Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town at birth, who miraculously found her 17 years later, and who then lost her again.
  • Taamaden, directed by Seydou Cisse, follows three young immigrants from West Africa who take the viewer into the world of African spirituality in the age of new technologies.
  • African Moot, directed by Shameela Seedat, shares the story of the competitors in the prestigious African Human Rights Moot Court Competition.
  • The Double Futures of Athlone, directed by Premesh Lalu, is a cultural history of Athlon, one of Apartheid’s ‘dumping grounds’ for the victims of forced removals.

Other South African stories included in the programme include:

  • Black Mambas, directed by Lena Karbe, follows an all-female anti-poaching unit in Kruger National Park
  • Lesotho the Weeping Motherland, directed by Lwazi Duma Nk, speaks about the effects of climate change in the agricultural sector.

Programme and details

DIFF 2022 will be presented in a hybrid edition with online screenings at www.durbanfilmfest.com and a diverse live programme offered at Suncoast CineCentre, Durban. The live screening schedule is accessible on ccadiff.ukzn.ac.za. Tickets for the live screenings will be available directly at the SuncoastCineCentre www.cinecentre.co.za and will open on 1 July. The entire festival programme will be released online on July 1st at www.durbanfilmfest.com.

The 43rd edition of the festival is produced by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, in partnership and with the support of KZN Film Commission, the National Film and Video Foundation, KZN Department of Arts & Culture, Avalon Group and other valued funders and partners. 

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: twitter.com/andrewgerm_za Instagram: instagram.com/andrewgerm_za IMDb: www.imdb.com/name/nm5390453/

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