IT’S no secret that KwaZulu-Natal is a popular area for filming in SA. Drawcards are the province’s versatile weather, its landscape, and its cultures.

It’s not often one finds all the above in one location.

In Durban there is easy access to beaches, mountains, game parks and cultures such as Indian, Asian and African.

So from Pakistan to West Africa to Malaysia (as a location scout once put it), stories set in these countries could all be shot easily in the city.

Some of the biggest productions that have been filmed in Durban are Thunder, Blood Diamond, Blue Crush, Spud: The Movie (a sequel is being filmed), and Mr Bob.

Many films at this year’s Durban Film Festival have been shot partly or entirely in and around Durban and KwaZulu-Natal.

Here is a short list of some of the films and the local sites that can be seen in them.

Sleeper’s Wake: The film, based on the novel by Alistair Morgan and directed by Barry Berk, was filmed in Port Edward and Joburg.

It’s about a man who loses his family in a car accident after he falls asleep at the wheel. While taking refuge in a small coastal town, he forms a relationship with a provocative 17-year-old girl.

Healers: A dedicated KwaZulu-Natal doctor and matron embark on a mentorship programme after losing five doctors from their rural hospital.

Instead of feeling despair about the dysfunctional system, they try to create something positive amid the crisis.

Rockstardom: Described as “a portrait of the aspirations of an artist”, it tracks the life of singer/songwriter Brendon Shields from his sleepy Free State town of Bethlehem, through his pursuit of stardom.

Producer/director/editor Michael Cross said that some of the film was shot in Durban.

“The first music video I made with Brendon for the song Rockstardom was shot near Tollgate Bridge and some of the footage of him performing the song Simonstown was filmed at Unit 11, a venue that’s sadly no longer,” he said.

Legends of the Casbah: Through this film, directors Riason Naidoo and Damon Heatlie present an indepth cross-section of the Indian community in SA in the 1950s.

The film visits iconic Durban spaces in the legendary Grey Street area, the “Casbah”, where it introduces the audience to politicians, gangster kingpins, sportsmen, beauty queens and others.

Expect to see scenes from the “Casbah”, the Victoria Street Market, Curries Fountain, the Gale Street Passive Resistance site, Durban’s northern beaches, Durban Country Club and more.

Uhlanga – The Mark: A young rural boy witnesses a community attack on his family, forcing him, his mother and two sisters to seek refuge in another village.

However, a generational curse seems to follow them.

The film features top poets and Ukhozi FM’s Linda Sibiya and Sbo da Poet.

Director Ndaba ka Ngwane said that the film was shot in KwaSanti, Pinetown, Pietermaritzburg, Central Durban, Dududu and KwaCele on the South Coast.


• For more details about these films and their screening dates, times and venues see, click on the DIFF link and select programme.