The Isiphethu Hub at the 40th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) and the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), a joint programme of the DIFF and the eThekwini Municipality’s Durban Film Office that aims to develop the film industry, offers a range of free events, workshops and screenings of films at numerous venues around the City.
The DIFF, hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, opens on Thursday, 18 July, and runs for 10 days screening over 150 feature films, documentaries and short films, as well as offering free screenings, workshops and seminars in the Isiphethu Hub around the making, and the business of film.
The venues for the free screenings includetheMaharani Hotel, Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel, Marine Parade Garden Court Hotel, Albert Luthuli Museum in Groutville, Ushaka Marine World, K-Cap and Artizen Lounge in KwaMashu, Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi, Tate’s Kasi Grill in Clermont, Bay Of Plenty Lower Marine Parade, Ohlange Library in Inanda, and Denis Hurley Centre in Durban CBD.
The free industry programme takes place at the Marine Parade Garden Court from 19-22 July and then at the KZNSA Gallery in Bulwer Road, Glenwood from 23-27 July. Experts in their fields include the agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry, the Independent Development Corporation, the Film and Publications Board, The Independent Black Filmmakers’ Collective, KZN Film Commission and professionals such as Mahoro Semege, Sir Roelof Twijnstra, Edmund Mhlongo, Njabulo Biyela and Dr Janet van Eeden amongst others. The session topics include funding and entrepreneurship, documentary filmmaking, production, guidelines for film ratings, acting tools, screen writing, music and copyright, stop motion and 3D animation and editing.
A special gathering to exchange ideas and network will take place at KCAP in KwaMashu on 21 July from 13h00 where the KZN Film Commission, KCAP and DIFF will introduce international experts from Kenya, Nigeria and the UK to filmmakers from across the province.
An African Perspectives programme features six curated films by African directors: The Coffin Salesman (Nigeria) directed by Imoh Umoren, The Delivery Boy (Nigeria) directed by Adekunle Adejuyigbe, Return of the Don (UK) by Daniel Oriahi, Sembene! (Senegal/USA) directed by Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman, Sylvia (Nigeria) by Daniel Oriahi, and Youngun (UK) by Alex Melhuish.
Twenty-five years of Democracy in South Africa is celebrated in William Kentridge and Angus Gibson’s Freedom Square and Back of the Moon (Gibson’s 2019 feature Back of the Moon also premieres at DIFF this year in the competition section). One Humanity directed by Mickey Madodo Dube, Junaid Ahmed’s More Than Just a Game, and Sarafina! directed by Darrell Roodt.
A Decade Throwback at DIFF treats film-lovers to four films previously screened at the fest: Ayanda directed by Sarah Blecher, Akin Omotoso’s Man On Ground, Madoda Ncayiyana’s Izulu Lami (My Secret Sky) and Of Good Report by Jahmil XT Qubeka (Qubeka’s 2019 film Knuckle City will open the DIFF on 18 July).
A variety of shorts packages featuring creative inspirations and innovations in story-telling in under 40 minutes, provide a quick-bite, instant-satisfaction viewing for lovers of film. The packages are all available on the DIFF programme on the website.
The 15th Wavescape Surf Film Festival within the DIFF opens with a free public screening at the Bay of Plenty on the beachfront on 21 July at 19h00. Following this there are free screenings of worldwide surf adventure with epic visuals and amazing stories at Ushaka Marine World from 18h30 on 22 and 23 July. Attendees can bring picnic baskets, chairs and dress up warmly to enjoy this social event at both venues.
A selection of Durban Film Office commissioned micro-budget films will be screened at the Marine Parade Garden Court: Jersey Number 10 directed by Brian Khawula, Struck Blind by Lwazi Duma, Inyumba directed by Phumzile Lukhozi, Drive directed by Thabo Nyawuza and Unqobile by Sibusiso Masinga and Fanele Nxumalo.
Complementing the Isiphethu Hub is the Creative Corner at the Panini Room in the Maharani Hotel, Durban from 09h00 to 17h00 from 19-22 July. This free programme, focusing on the creative sector’s vital role to the motion picture industry, hosts discussions and exhibitions, providing networking, collaboration opportunities and entertainment for the public. Members of Durban’s growing television industry experts and organisations, such as the Writers Guild of South Africa and South African Guild of Actors will present sessions on acting, editing, costume, set, sound and make-up design. The programme sees DFM partner with the WGSA and SAGA for a daily Script-to-Live programme of live script-reading sessions of completed, and in-development scripts.
To attend these free events, and for general security purposes, members of the public are required to present ID’s and register at the relevant reception areas at the venues.