Durban is once again playing host to film makers, actors and film students in town for the Durban International Film Festival. It's the 39th edition of the festival, which is the oldest in the country.
The red carpet started off slow. The first people to show up was the director of the opening film, The Tokoloshe, Jerome Pikwane who looked dashing in black, while his partner went for red carpet glam in a silver gown. Producers, Catharina Weinek and Dumi Gumbi, also arrived at the same time. Catharina wore a beautiful print maxi dress, while Dumi wore black.
The star of the film, Petronella Tshuma, also arrived early, wearing a Xhosa umbhaco inspired garment by Urban Zulu, who also accompanied her on the red carpet. The Tokoloshe is Tshuma’s second film to be chosen to open the DIFF. The first was 2013’s Of Good Report which was controversially not allowed to be screened by the Film and Publications Board. The horror-thriller is the second genre film to open the festival, after last year’s Serpent by Amanda Evans.
In The Tokoloshe, Tshuma plays Busisiwe, a destitute woman who gets a job as a cleaner at a neglected hospital in Joburg.
She not only has to deal with the dodgy hospital manager, but also discovers an abandoned girl who believes she’s tormented by a supernatural force. Busi must face demons from her past in order to save the child from the abusive monster that pursues them relentlessly.
Tshuma thinks it’s a step in the right direction, telling stories inspired by African myths and folklore.
“South Africans are more than ready. And especially this story; it hits home. And that’s where our hearts are. We need to be telling more. Let’s tell stories for our people and for ourselves.”
Other people of note spotted at the festival opening included stuggle icons, George Bizos, Max Sisulu; jury members like Uzanenkosi Mahlangu, film director and Jennifer Fox (whose film The Tale is screening at the festival).
Actress and producer, Terry Pheto was also there, wearing a red gown by Thula Sindi (who was also there by was too shy to take pictures.) Pheto's cast mate in her new film, Faces, Nigerian actress, Oreka Godis and the director, was also there, with the director, Joseph A. Adesunloye. Their film premieres on Sunday at the festival.
And the film? Well, we expected to be terrified and we were.
The Tokoloshe is a horror and it lived up to it's genre. So fans of horror will like it. We have to commend Petronella's performance in the film- she was able to carry the story and was very believable as Busi.
The score by Benjamin Willem, fit the atmosphere of the film and heightened the horror in the film. Jerome Pikwane's direction was great as was the cinematography by Trevor Brown, which at times was a love story to downtown Johannesburg.
The festival continues and ends on Sunday, July 28 at various venues in the city.