Durban International Film Festival. Picture: Supplied
Durban International Film Festival. Picture: Supplied

Durban International Film Festival 2021 promises to be bigger and better

By Entertainment Reporter Time of article published Jul 24, 2021

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The 42nd Durban International Festival (DIFF) has officially opened. The prestigious South African international film festival is arguable one of the biggest festivals on the African cultural calendar.

This year the festival is screening selected films and hosting seminars and workshops online.

The festival officially kicked off on Thursday, August 22, with an indie feature film “The Eagle’s Nest” by Cameroonian-British director Olivier Assoua.

Shot in Cameroon, it tackles challenges that refugees and immigrants are facing in many countries around the world.

“In 2018, CNN published a report stating that six migrants and refugees die every day on the journey to Europe by boat.

“They also exposed how black Africans were sold as slaves in India, which made me think: What can I do? How can I tell the world that African lives matter?” explained Assoua.

The film was also made to give young people in Africa the unique opportunity to showcase their talents to the world.

“I am pleased to say that Felicity Asseh, who plays Samantha in the movie, has gained some international recognition,“ adds Assoua.

Commenting on the festival, DIFF marketing manager, Marlyn Ntsele said: “I kept on thinking about the knocks that the film industry had to take and how the film industry showed their resilience throughout this pandemic.

“I believe DIFF owes it to those filmmakers to keep going, as film festivals play an essential role in the value chain.”

She further expressed her gratitude to all the sponsors and partners, and encouraged audiences to continue sharing their reviews on social media.

“It is an honour for the KZN Film Commission to be part of the 42nd DIFF. We wish to congratulate the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the festival team to continue to deliver during these trying times,” said Carol Coetzee, CEO of the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission.

The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission will also be presenting various workshops as part of the Isiphethu programme taking place from Monday, July 26 to Friday, July 30.

Feature programmer Firdoze Bulbulia also thanked all the filmmakers, who in spite of the global pandemic, were still able to create feature films.

“We encourage the audiences to get online and watch as many films as possible,” says Bulbulia.

As director of The Nelson Mandela Children’s Film Festival, Bulbulia also curated a children’s film programme for DIFF consisting of 10 films selected for young viewers, and three workshops as part of the Isiphethu programme.

“We are delighted to be celebrating and commemorating Mandela‘s legacy and to continue to use his work to inspire the next generation. We believe that film is a unique medium that can entertain, educate and inform.

“We have films and participants from South Africa, India, Poland, The Netherlands, Iran, Germany, the USA, Argentina, Egypt, Serbia and France. The festival, therefore, acts as a platform for empowering young South Africans to participate in the global dialogue on film and media,” adds Bulbulia.

For more information on the programme, workshops and seminars visit their website.

Tickets for the virtual screenings are free.

The festival runs till Sunday, August 1.

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