national Arts Festival Banner

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The Durban International Film Festival has announced a significant increase in attendance for its 32ndedition which concluded on July 31. Supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), National Film and Video Foundation, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism and other valued funders and partners, the festival recorded total attendance of 29,792 including attendance of 2,452 at the festival’s workshop and seminar programme. This reflects a 19% increase on 2010 attendance figures. The success of the 2nd Durban FilmMart and 4th Talent Campus Durban programmes and the strong international linkages all bode well for industry development locally and across the continent.

Says DIFF Director, Peter Rorvik: “We are extremely pleased with the increase in attendance and this clearly shows that there is an eager audience in South Africa for cinema from around the world. It was also great to see so many sold-out screenings and that the South African films did particularly well at the festival. We congratulate the many award-winners, and thank the juries and also the audience for voting in the audience awards. Apart from the aforementioned funders, the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and DIFF would like to acknowledge HIVOS, City of Durban, German Embassy of South Africa, Goethe Institut of South Africa, Industrial Development Corporation, KZN Department of Arts and Culture and other valued partners who support our efforts. We look forward to the 33rd edition of the Durban International Film Festival, which takes place from July 19 to 29 and have already begun planning a range of exciting enhancements.”

Durban International Film Festival Award Winners

Best Film: Nader and Simin, A Separation (Iran), directed by Asghar Farhadi. “…a masterpiece! We are awarding Best Film for the simplicity and precision of Asghar Farhadi’s craft and his portrayal of the complexities of this family and society in a way that is subtle and universally understood.” The film is noted for “astonishing performances by the ensemble cast.”

Best South African Feature Film: Skoonheid (South Africa), directed by Oliver Hermanus “The film is meticulously made, and tells a complex South African story with universal appeal. The film's subtlety, control and knowledge of film history reveal a director on a remarkable trajectory.”

Best First Feature Film: The Dynamiter (USA), directed by Matthew Gordon. In presenting this award, the jury “applauds an exciting new talent. Matthew Gordon shows remarkable maturity and restraint whilst delivering a powerful and emotional film.”

Best Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev for Elena (Russia). “...we see a master filmmaker at work. Through this seamlessly constructed film, Andrey Zvyagintsev invests this seemingly simple story with immense emotional impact, while treading a line of ambiguity that challenges his audience.”

Best Actress: Nadezhda Markina in Elena (Russia). “In a performance that is both subtle and profound, Nadezhda Markina in the title role of Elena, creates a character whose quiet composure and desperation to protect her family, leads us down a complex path that ultimately keeps us sympathetic even as she commits a heinous crime.”

Best Actor: William Patrick Ruffin in The Dynamiter (USA). “At just 14 years of age and acting for the very first time, William Patrick Ruffin delivers an effortless central performance that is deeply engaging and deeply moving, providing an anchor for the film as a whole. We see a very bright future.”

Best Cinematography: Mikhail Krichman for Elena (Russia). “With a cool eye, from the first shot to the last shot, the cinematography of Mikhail Krichman is precise and crisp. Krichman employs dazzling technique that morphs with each scene, creating a beauty that starkly contrasts the chilling narrative.”

Best Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi for Nader and Simin, A Separation (Iran). “This screenplay is simultaneously a complex multi-layered narrative, while at the same time addresses simple and basic interactions. This magnificently written film forces us to confront the human foibles inherent in all of us, and in microcosm powerfully examines broader society.”

Special Mention Feature Film: Skoonheid (South Africa), directed by Oliver Hermanus “…for the courage to explore this taboo subject matter in Africa today through this powerful film.”

Special Mention South African Feature Film: Eldorado (South Africa), directed by Shaldon Ferris and Lorreal Ferris. “This year there was a remarkable selection of South African films which represented a great diversity of content and genre. Among these great films we'd like to give a special mention to Eldorado, from first-time filmmakers Shaldon Ferris and Lorreal Ferris.”

Best Documentary: Position Among the Stars (Stand van de Sterren) (The Netherlands), directed by Leonard Retel Helmrich. “With its incredibly intimate portrayal of life in Indonesia’s slums, this daring documentary illuminates family relations while treating its subjects with dignity.”

Best South African Documentary: Dear Mandela (South Africa/USA), directed by Dara Kell and Chrisopher Nizza. “A movie about courage, this documentary is beautifully shot, socially relevant and still manages to offer humour as it reveals a growing grassroots political literacy in South Africa’s informal settlements.”

Best Short Film and Best South African Short Film: Dirty Laundry (South Africa), directed by Stephen Abbott. “With a fresh storyline and strong acting, this is a colourful and humorous mini-snapshot of the "dirty laundry" of ordinary South Africans.”

Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award: Sobukwe, A Great Soul (South Africa), directed by Mickey Madoda Dube. “... Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe’s dream that the people of Africa be treated with dignity, and enjoy equal opportunities to land and housing, became the foundation and struggle of every freedom-fighting organisation. An important film about a compassionate leader and historic fighter for justice and equality.”

DIFF Wavescape Surf Film Festival Audience Award went to A Deeper Shade of Blue (Australia), directed by Jack McCoy. The DIFF Documentary Audience Award was won by Fire in Babylon (United Kingdom), directed by Stevan Riley while the DIFF Feature Film Audience Award went to The First Grader (Kenya, United Kingdom, South Africa), directed by Justin Chadwick.

The Durban FilmMart saw an increased number of project entries (126 in total) from which ten feature films and ten documentaries were selected for pitching meetings during the Finance Forum, alongside a programme of industry seminars and masterclasses. DFM, a partnership project between DIFF and the Durban Film Office, and supported principally by the City of Durban, culminated with the presentation of a number of awards.

The Hubert Bals Fund Award of 5000 €uros towards script and project development, for ‘The Most Promising African Project’ went to69 Messaha Square / Director Ayten Amin and Producer Wael Omar.

Three projects chosen to attend the CineMart Rotterdam Lab are: James Taylor and Donald Mugisha’s Boda Boda Thieves, David Max-Brown and Lyle Lewis’ This Boy and Joel Karekezi’s Imbabazi/ The Pardon.

Two ‘Most Promising Documentary Projects’ chosen by International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) and Jan Vrijman Fund to attend IDFA were Homage to the Buddha and Ndiyindoda/I am Man.

The Videovision Entertainment award for local distribution and a cash commitment towards Publicity and Advertising (valued at R75,000) for the ‘Best South African Film Project’, went to Kyle Lewis (director) and David Max Brown (producer) for This Boy.

PUMA.Creative presented two R50,000 PUMA.Creative Catalyst Awards (seed grants for ambitious and creative documentary ideas) to Femme a la Camera from Karima Zoubir and Hicham Brini; and Eddie Edwards and Steven Markovitz’s ,em>Rollaball. Previous Creative Catalyst awardee, Nonhlanhla Dlamini was given an additional contribution of R50,000, towards the development of the next part of her story, Shattered Pieces of Peace.

Two R15,000 PUMA.Creative Mobility Awards (for travel support) went to The Flight Pilot, from director Peggy Mbiyu and I, Afrikaner from director Annalet Steenkamp and producer, Lauren Groenewald.

DIFF and DFM callouts for 2012 will be issued later this year.