When Love Runs Out will screen at DIFF this year. Picture: Supplied

The 40th edition of the annual Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) started on Thursday with a press briefing in the city. 

Known as the biggest film festival on the African continent, DIFF will open with the world premiere of "Knuckle City", a South African film directed by Jahmil Qubeka while the Durban Film Mart, which is now in its 10th year, will open on Friday, July 19. 

This year the festival will screen 212 documentaries, feature films and short films at 15 venues across the city. 

Included in the line up of independent cinema are themes packages in the African Perspective, 25 Years of Democracy and Decade Throwback section to push focus on South African and African films. 

Speaking at the briefing, eThekwini Municipality acting mayor, Fawzia Peer said she was excited that DIFF was taking place. “This a great vehicle to facilitate opportunities for local filmmakers to network with global film role players so I must really applaud the stakeholders who put DIFF and the Durban Film Mart together,” she said. 

Peer said the platforms provided had built an indispensable bridge between continental filmmakers and also contributed immensely to exposing hidden talents in the local industry. 

She also said that in the current city's budget, they had set aside R15 million which was aimed at supporting developing projects and also promoting the local film industry. 
 
Festival manager Chipo Zhou said, “It has been encouraging to see the increase in the number of the films made for Africans, by Africans and Africans, grace our DIFF screens over the years. Partnering with the DFM has also helped galvanise an industry to develop our own narratives and creativity through the pitching forums each year.”