Director of The Tokoloshe which opens the Durban international Film Festival, Jerome Pikwane
Director of The Tokoloshe which opens the Durban international Film Festival, Jerome Pikwane
Sheila Munyiva and Samantha Mugatsia star in the closing film of the festival Rafiki
Sheila Munyiva and Samantha Mugatsia star in the closing film of the festival Rafiki

Durban - The best films in the Durban International Film Festival will qualify for the Oscar race. This is was announced on Tuesday at the festival launch.

University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa said festival was now the official SA Oscar qualifier. "These are exciting time in South Africa,” he said.

The festival hosted by the UKZN Centre for Creative Arts, eThekwini Municipality, the KZN Film Commission and the National Film and Video Foundation runs from July 19-29 at various venues in Durban.

Another new development this year is that parallel to DIFF will be the Brics Film Festival at the Playhouse from July 26-27.

DIFF manager Chipo Zhou said several Nelson Mandela films would be shown to celebrate his centenary.

“We are proud to be associating with Mandela’s legacy - and his legacy was moving beyond the trauma and healing which is the legacy we want to bring as film makers to the industry in Durban”.

Set to open the festival is a proudly SA horror titled The Tokoloshe and Zhou said it deals with stories of Africa.

“We grew up on tokoloshe stories in sub Saharan Africa. The bricks under the bed and the description of what the tokoloshe looks like and what it does are things we grew up with,” she said.

She says the film directed by Jerome Pikwane takes a western genre and brings it home to SA.

“It is one of those deeply layered films, it’s one of the dares, when you watch it, I dare you to see beneath the surface. It's very well brewed,” she said.

Running for four days parallel to the festival is the Durban FilmMart which includes seminars, masterclasses and panel discussions to uplift up and coming filmmakers.

A proudly Durban documentary directed by human rights lawyer and activist Shameella Seedat looks at former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Zhou said the documentary is one to look out for at the festival.