THE 33rd Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), which begins in just more than two weeks’ time, looks set to embrace African film more closely this year if a media launch earlier this week is anything to go by.

The launch, which was held at The Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, was attended by dignitaries and representatives from the film industry, as well as other organisations involved with the programme.

The full line-up was released at the event, with selected trailers revealed and highlights of the event discussed.

Showcasing an array of films from different genres, the festival takes place from July 19 to 29 with more than 290 screenings in 10 venues across the city.

Comprising 80 feature films, 40 documentaries and 45 short films, the DIFF also aims to share and broaden knowledge and skills between industry experts.

With a huge focus on the African film industry, a total of 66 South African films will make up this year’s programme. These will include 16 South African feature films – the highest number of movies to be screened in comparison to previous years – 19 documentaries, 27 short films and four films in the Wavescape section, with most of them being world premieres.

The opening film is Elelwani, with the concluding movie being Adventures in Zambezia, a 3D animation offering.

The DIFF has grown exponentially over the years, with the core focus being to commemorate and honour cinema and everything the world of film has to offer.

This week’s launch also demonstrated a 40-minute clip comprising trailers of each movie that will screen at the festival.

The movies are diverse, depicting different cultures and their subjects’ way of life.

The trailers touched on issues such as wildlife poaching, HIV/Aids and abuse. Each movie demonstrated a level of depth on its topic.

According to the director of the Centre for Creative Arts and DIFF, Peter Rorvick: “A lot of effort goes into making a film. Also, some of the trailers will be fed onto social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

“Because these films are so fresh in Durban, they haven’t had enough exposure like Hollywood has. If people see these trailers, they will develop an idea about what the films entail.”

Some of SA’s contributions include Accession, The African Cypher, All the President’s Elephants and Snare.

Contemporary Europe also makes an appearance at the fest with offerings such as Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre.

In addition, there is a focus on French film. This is part of an initiative supported by film industry representatives who have a deep interest in the growth in Africa.

Other important areas included in the DIFF programme are the Eco Lens project, which shines a light on ecological and environmental issues. Global cinema also comprises a major aspect of the DIFF, with some brilliant films from across the globe being screened.

Interesting trailers screened at the launch included Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna, which is set in India and stars Riz Ahmed and Freida Pinto; Oliver Roger’s Copposites, starring comedian Rob van Vuuren and Siv Ngesi, which looks hysterical; and Snare, which deals with rhino poaching.

All in all, this year’s DIFF programme offers a versatile line-up of films that delve towards a deeper understanding of different cultures and their histories.

• The DIFF runs from July 19 to 29 July. For further info visit