South African Focus – Durban International Film Festival July 16-26th
While DIFF is a vital showcase for the ever-expanding African film industry, South African film remains the festival’s key focus, with 14 feature and 13 documentary films and 30 short films – most of them receiving their world premieres on Durban screens.
This year’s opening night film see the African premiere of Ayanda, the second fiction feature film from South African filmmaker Sara Blecher who opened the festival in 2011 with Otelo Burning. Ayanda tells the story of single-minded 21-year-old Afro-hipster Ayanda (Fulu Mugovhani) who has a talent for taking neglected pieces of furniture and bringing them back to life. Eight years after her father’s death, his prized auto repair garage is in financial trouble and in danger of being sold, but Ayanda does everything in her power to hold onto his legacy.
Then there’s Breathe – Umphefumlo, the Isango Ensemble’s contemporary adaptation of Puccini’s La Boheme, the low-budget horror The Actor from Aiden Whytock, the politically inclined Bonnie-and-Clyde tale Impunity from Jyoti Mistry and the long awaited Necktie Youth from Sibs Shongwe-Le Mer. Other South African fiction feature films include Dis Ek, Anna, based on the famous Afrikaans novel and directed by Sara Blecher, and the dramatic thriller Lady Grey from Alain Chouquart.
South African documentaries include Blood Lions, which follows a South African conservationist and an American hunter on their journey through the lion hunting industry, Coming of Age, which follows the lives of two teenagers in Lesotho, Glory Game – The Joost van der Westhuizen Story, which chronicles the famous rugby player’s battle with Motor Neuron Disease, and The Shore Break which documents the attempts by a foreign mining company to mine titanium in the Eastern Cape.
Tickets should be acquired through the respective venues. Prices range from R20 to R40, except at Luthuli Museum, Ekhaya, Elangeni Hotel, the Denis Hurley Centre, Sizakala Centre in Clermont, the Durban Music School and Bay of Plenty lawns, which are free of charge.