"Letters of Hope" won the award for Artistic Bravery at DIFF 2019. 
Picture: Instagram
"Letters of Hope" won the award for Artistic Bravery at DIFF 2019. Picture: Instagram

Durban International Film Festival goes virtual

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published Jun 8, 2020

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For the past 41 years, film makers, fans and other creatives within the film and entertainment industry have traveled from far and wide to visit and showcase at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF). 

This year however, things will be different due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the show must go on. 

They will have to tune in to the festival virtually from September 10 to 20. 

The festival recently announced that it will be screening over 50 selected films in its virtual version. 

"Home-bound film fans will be treated to screening cutting-edge films from around the world, with particular focus on South African and African films, DIFF is one of the premier platforms for the launch of African films. It has a competition for fiction feature films, documentaries and short films. The festival is committed to quality programming and is profiling and showcasing some of the best 2020 has on offer," read the statement from organisers.  

The virtual concept will still consist of all the exciting elements it usually conducts during the regular festival. 

"In addition to film screenings, the festival aims to include innovate (sic) ways of connecting with filmmakers and audiences online. 

Also, the yearly awards will resume as normal. The festival will offer an industry programme with seminars and workshops comprised of both local and international filmmakers and industry professionals, with the Isiphethu running from September 14 to 18. 

Isiphethu Hub remains an exciting space for the local audiences and people can expect a series of workshops, schools programme, and exchange of ideas by experts from across the world who will be part of the DIFF this year. 

Sakhile Gumede, Project Coordinator for Isiphethu said Isiphethu is a melting pot as well as a hub geared towards the exchange of ideas and uplifting emerging and aspirant film-makers across the province of KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as a whole. 

"We are excited about this year's programme despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The festival is saddened not to be able to put on their physical event, but also incredibly excited to be working on their virtual edition. The team has decided to adapt to new realities. The festival looks forward to hosting yet another successful edition and present as much of a full festival experience as they can offer," said Gumede.  

Chipo Zhou, head of programming said: “Of course, we all want to get back into the cinema, but since we are not able to, we need to adapt to this new virtual world swiftly. All creative industries are finding innovative ways to connect with their audiences, so we believe film festivals must also adapt,"she said. 

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