“This Is Not A Burial, It's A Resurrection”. Picture: Supplied
“This Is Not A Burial, It's A Resurrection”. Picture: Supplied

DIFF manager Chipo Zhou chats about all things 'DIFF'

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published Sep 3, 2020

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The Durban International Film Festival has set its sights on putting on a film spectacular for the country despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

As the festival goes digital this year, film lovers can still get their dose of doccies, features and short films available free online.

Festival manager Chipo Zhou said while the format will be very different, they still expect to deliver a high-quality experience.

“I am humbled to be a part of the first virtual edition; the last few years have been nothing short of an amazing experience. We will have our opening night and closing night events at the Durban Country Club as drive-in screenings and we hope that will create a similar kind of hype as our previous events have done,” said Zhou.

Although the festival is virtual, it is geolocked to South Africa, but Zhou said it has garnered a lot of interest in participation. And they anticipate that the 59 shows from 33 countries worldwide will be sold out.

This year bookings will be reserved, starting a day before the festival, and there will be a limited number of daily tickets available for films which will be valid for streaming for 24 hours.

“All the films on offer are worth watching. “Our Lady of the Nile”, “Lusala”, “This Is Not A Burial, It's A Resurrection”, “Softie” and “143 Sahara Street” are just a few of my favourites on this year’s selection,” Zhou said.

This year’s festival also sees a few changes to the usual structure.

“Our screenings have expanded into greater KwaZulu-Natal with our drive-through programme, which we are very excited about. The isiZulu Scriptwriting Residency is under way, a programme we piloted last year that will now be a permanent feature of the Isiphethu programme. Our partnership with the US means our industry workshops for the Isiphethu will have a greater international engagement. And there will be lots of social interaction with film-makers, great films and engaging workshops,” she said.

Zhou said despite the pandemic, everyone banded together to make DIFF possible.

“Our stakeholders were very supportive. Covid-19 has affected all spheres of life and so we were very grateful to have had everyone’s support,” she said.

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