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Thursday, December 17, 2020


Deadline for submissions: February 28, 2021

Presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s longest-running film festival, the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), is widely regarded as one of the leading film festivals on the African continent and a vital event on the international film calendar.

Durban International Film Festival is inviting filmmakers to submit their feature films, documentaries and shorts for the 42nd edition taking place from July 22 to August 1, 2021.

The deadline for submissions is February 28 2021. For eligibility, submission fees and to submit, visit the DIFF profile on FilmFreeway:

DIFF contributes to expanding filmmaker networks; attracts local and international media; creates public awareness of South African and African cinema, and promotes and celebrates African cinema that highlights the possibilities of local film production and stimulates the growth of the film industry. DIFF proactively promotes the development of the African film industry and provides a strategic exhibition platform for local products alongside international films within a professionally implemented and reputable cultural experience.

DIFF has three principal strands: the seminar and workshop component to stimulate industry development and a community outreach programme to service marginalised audiences, and the celebration of cinema through the exhibition of films.

“2020 turned the world topsy-turvy, and the film industry was not spared.  Although some of us adapted, for some, it was a completely devastating experience. As the year is coming to an end and also DIFF is evaluating their gains and our losses looking to envision what the next few years will look like, they choose to be optimistic and hopeful,” says festival curator, Chipo Zhou.

(Chipo Zhou, DIFF festival curator)

“The Durban International Film Festival has been a platform that celebrates a legacy of supporting South African and African filmmakers as well as our partnership with a global film industry. We have been over the years imaging and reimagining African cinema as we recognise DIFF as a platform that opens space to discover, birth and seek out new and established film voices, a quest to find the hidden gems as it were. DIFF has been a space for critical engagement on contemporary issues told through the audio-visual gaze, and the 42nd edition will be no different.

“We are officially opening the call for submissions, looking for future centric films, narratives that look with hope to tomorrow. Themed, Framing the Future, Cinema Unleashed, the festival is specifically looking to showcase films that provide meaningful solutions on how to adapt in our dynamic and ever-changing environment. We are looking for films that offer solutions to questions that haven’t been asked yet, that broaden our viewpoints and allow for robust critical discourse. We celebrate the disruption of the embedded canonical film centres internationally and position the DIFF as the African hub where innovative film voices are discovered and born – this is the onward journey of the DIFF,” she adds.

Chipo Zhou is the Head of Programming and Curator for the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) since 2017 and has worked in the film industry for almost a decade and a half in various capacities. She sits on the Short Film Conference Board and previously on the Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe Board. She has served on several local and international film festival juries as well as project selection panels for the Talents Durban and Realness Projects respectively. For the 42nd edition, she will be supported by a team of programmers and reviewers, who will be announced at the beginning of 2021.

DIFF is exclusively receiving submission through FilmFreeway. For eligibility, submission fees and to submit, visit the DIFF profile: