Durban International Film Festival

Durban is a popular holiday and tourist destination at any time of the year, with visitors traveling from within South Africa’s borders and beyond to enjoy the sun, sand, sea and many attractions of this vibrant city. From 29 July to 3 August 2008, the 29th Durban International Film Festival will give film-makers and audiences an added incentive to visit Durban – to enjoy some of the more than 200 films, representing 95 countries, to be shown in 26 venues throughout the city.

The Durban International Film Festival serves as a platform to bring together long-time masters of cinema and emerging innovative film-makers from around the world. In addition to the presentation of some of the past year’s best films, the festival will host a comprehensive workshop and seminar program for seasoned veterans of the film world to impart their knowledge and experience to aspiring film-makers.

The festival will open with the screening of Ralph Ziman’s “Jerusalema”, a nail-biting gangster thriller set on the unforgiving streets of Johannesburg. To go to the other extreme, the festival will close on an uplifting note with Mike Leigh’s comedy, “Happy-Go-Lucky”. In between these two extremes will be a range of feature films, short films and documentaries, which audiences will find entertaining, enlightening and even inspirational.

Festival director, Peter Rorvik, explains that the aim of the Durban International Festival is to open a window on the world by providing access to many different cultures as well as providing a space in which to allow the cinematic art form to transcend national boundaries. It is also the aim of the festival to use the medium of film to create understanding and acceptance of different cultures. In light of the recent xenophobic violence, a special program of films will be screened focusing on what many believe to be the underlying causes of the attacks – racism, poverty and migration.

Under the theme, African Perspectives, the Durban International Film Festival will once again shine the spotlight on films coming out of Africa. A highlight of the extensive program is the World Premiere of three films – John Kani’s screen adaptation of his play “Nothing But The Truth”; Durbanite Claire Angelique will present an in depth look at the dark side of Durban’s society in “My Black Little Heart”; and “uMalusi”, which has been directed by Mlandu Sikwebu and produced and filmed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka.

On a much lighter note, the ever popular Wavescapes Surf Film Festival, which is incorporated into the Durban International Film Festival, presents incredible surf screen action at the KwaSuka Theater, as well as films focusing on shark conservation. Surfers, along with those who wish they could surf, will be blown away by the outdoor screening of the film “Highwater” at the Bay of Plenty Lawns on 27 July.

Organizers of the Durban International Film Festival have pulled out all the stops to make sure that there is something for everyone, and audiences and film-makers alike will be enriched by the experience.