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Thursday, July 15, 2021


(Right: Khalid EL-Jelailati)

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) will host the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) from July 22 to August 1, 2021. This year, for its 42nd edition, the festival presents close to 140 feature films, documentaries and short films alongside an exciting industry programme: Isiphethu.

Screenings by film students and a diverse workshop- and seminar programme are the pulse of this year’s Isiphethu industry-focused programme at DIFF, aiming to educate and up-skill, instill confidence in young aspirant filmmakers and share information that is relevant to the film industry and empowers young people.

This year, the student films come from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, which are screening six films created by young filmmakers from their Digital Arts discipline at the Pietermaritzburg Campus. Also, AFDA: The School for the Creative Economy, Durban Campus, are screening three short films created by their students.

(Left: Thapelo Makhubo)

Some of the highlights of the workshop- and seminar programme include a seminar on ‘mixtape filmmaking’ by renowned independent filmmaker Khalid EL-Jelailati, who will be sharing innovative ways of doing business in the world of film as an independent maker.

In collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Film Festival, Isiphethu is hosting a pitching session on children’s films, which gives filmmakers the unique opportunity to pitch their films to industry professionals and receive constructive feedback and an animation roundtable.

(Right: Khalid Shamis)

Additionally, the programme hosts a masterclass in sound engineering facilitated by Thapelo Makhubo and a masterclass in editing for documentaries by renowned editor Khalid Shamis. The Film Festival Doctor, Dr Rebekah Louise Smith, will take filmmakers through PR, marketing and film festival strategies.

“Our objective is to connect the world to the continent and also give a platform to local industry role players. This will not be possible without friends of the festival, partners and funders. I extend my gratitude to the colleagues who made this possible,” says Isiphethu manager, Sakhile Gumede.

(Left: Dr Rebekah Louise Smith)


Programme and details:

All workshops and seminars take place between July 26 and 30 and are accessible for free through Zoom and streamed live on Facebook. Find the entire programme and register for the Zoom Room here:

The full programme, alongside all the films that will be screening, is accessible through Tickets for the virtual screenings are only available from South Africa and free and accessible through a booking system, which will open on July 21.

The 42nd edition of the festival is organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, in partnership and with the support of the KZN Film Commission, the National Film and Video Foundation, KZN Department of Arts & Culture, the Film and Publications Board and other valued funders and partners.

Isiphethu would not be possible without support from valued partners: San Francisco Black Film Festival, the KZNSA Gallery, KUMISA, K-CAP, Durban FilmMart, AFDA, WGSA, Nelson Mandela Children’s Film Festival, SWIFT, STEPS, 48hr Film Festival, Visual Network SA and UKZN Digital Arts.