All you need to know for DIFF 2019 – Featured Durban Blog

All you need to know for DIFF 2019:

The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) presented by the Centre for Creative Arts, Universitty of KwaZulu-Nata has launched its programme for its 40th
edition which takes place from 18 to 28 July 2019 at various venues around Durban, South Africa.
Knuckle City

The DIFF, together with the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry development programme in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality’s Durban Film
Office, bring a combined 50 years of film to film-lovers and its hard-working creative industry.
The opening film of the festival is by acclaimed South African director Jahmil X. T. Qubeka’s. Knuckle City  is a riveting exploration of the psychology of a fighter from
the Mdantsane township of South Africa. Produced and edited by award-winning Layla Swart of Yellowbone Entertainment, together with Mzansi Magic.
“We are very excited to be opening our 40th edition with this gritty raw film by Jahmil” says Chipo Zhou, Festival Manager. “This is a film which we believe
will do very well as a cinema release, with boxing as the means to tell a the story, but its muti-layered narrative will resonate much deeper with audiences than what it appears at first. ”
In Qubeka’s words It is my intention to capture the essence of life in Mdantsane and the restless pursuit of being a champion within a society that often dictates you are a failure. I am determined with this film to give audiences a glimpse into a world rarely seen, and a deeper understanding of the multi-faceted individuals inhabiting our land.”

The Jury

 The DIFF programme includes 150 films from around the globe, comprising 74 feature films, 25 documentaries and 90 shorts; a community outreach programme, the Wavescapes Surf Film festival with 19 films focussed on surfing and water culture, the Isiphethu Hub a free industry programme for entry-level and emerging filmmakers, and the DFM for intermediate and professional filmmakers which includes the Talents Durban in partnership with the Berlin International Film Festival, a one-day Durban Does Docs documentary conference, a free Creative Corner which offers insights into costumes, make-up and set design, a finance forum for pre-selected film projects to pitch to potential investors and the like, and a full programme of master classes, workshops and seminars.

This year the inaugural Locations Africa Expo and Conference will happen as part of Durban FilmMart. It aims to highlight filming locations in Durban and Africa.

Feature films that are in competition this year include a meta-cinema work by director South African directed Roger Young, Love Runs Out, Angus Gibson’s
Back of the Moon (South Africa) set in Sophiatown in 1958, Cronofobia (Switzerland) directed by Francesco Rizzi a psychological drama about suspended
identity; a Brazilian drama Divine Love (Divino Amor) directed by Gabriel Mascaro tells the story registry office clerk who uses her position at the births,
deaths and marriages department to try to dissuade couples from getting a divorce.
Everything must fall
Riccardo Salvetti’s Rwanda: The Untold Story, (Italy) offers a new take
on the Rwandan genocide, through the first person experience, using live dramatic performance, intertwined with filmic reality; Tchaiko Omawale’s Solace
(USA) is a moving and artful portrait of a smart, driven, and self- destructive teenage orphan struggling to find her place; Vai (New Zealand) by director
Marina Alofagia McCartney is a portmanteau feature film by 9 female Pacific filmmakers. Chinese auteur, Zhang Wei’s The Rib is about the strained
relationship between a young man wanting a sex change operation, and his Christian father; Nigerian film Mokalik directed by Kunle Afolayan follows an
11-year-old boy from the middle-class suburbs who spends the day as a lowly apprentice at a mechanic workshop in order to view life from the other side
of the tracks.
Free Our Bodies
Some of the documentaries in competition include South Africa director Nicole Schafer’s Buddha in Africa, which recently opened the Encounters Film
Festival, Anbessa (Italy/USA) directed by Mo Scarpelli, a coming-of-age story that captures a boy taking on modernization, Maya Newell’s, In My Blood it
Runs (Australia), about an Aboriginal boy whose traditional skills are of no value within the modern education system. Fatma Riahi’s A Haunted Past (Qatar) is a personal portrait of a broken Tunisian-Bosnian family as ex-prisoner and ex-jihadist. Hamada (Sweden) by director Eloy Domínguez Serén, is a humorous, bittersweet portrait of three uncompromising twentysomethings cut off from the world in a refugee camp; Edward Watts and Waad al-Kateab’s For Sama (UK/USA/Syria) takes an intimate look at one young woman’s struggles with love, war and motherhood. Mother I am Suffocating. This Is My Last Film About You by Lesotho filmmaker Mosese Lemohang Jeremiah, is an extended, poetic letter to the protagonist’s mother and motherland. Sara de Gouveia, The Sounds of Masks (SA/Portugal) follows a compelling storyteller and legendary Mozambiquan masked dancer. My Friend, Fela (Brazil) directed by Joel Zito Araujo, explores the life of legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti. A Girl in Return (Denmark) directed by Katrine W.Kjaer, an intimate tale about what happens when an adopted teenage girl decides to reclaim her lost identity.
Noah Wise

“We are pleased to announce that once again, the winner in the documentary competition will automatically qualify for consideration for nomination for
an Academy Award,” says Zhou.
Spokie Gaan Huis Toe
Venues this year include Suncoast Cine Centre, Musgrave Ster Kinekor, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Denis Hurley Centre, EKhaya Multi-Arts Centre, Max’s
Lifestyle, Ohlange Museum, Tate’s Kasi Grill, Artizen Lounge, KZNSA, Bay of Plenty Lawns (Wavescapes Opening), Ushaka Marine World, Luthuli Museum, K-cap and
Garden Court.
Back of the Moon
The full programme will go online at the end of June 2019.
For more info go to or follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
To register for Durban FilmMart visit

Images courtesy DIFF. 
This edition by Fred Felton | Twitter @fredfelton

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