Survivor documentary: ’I Am Here, Ella Blumenthal’. Picture: Supplied
Survivor documentary: ’I Am Here, Ella Blumenthal’. Picture: Supplied

Local content dominates at this year’s Durban International Film Festival

By Supplied Time of article published Jul 29, 2021

Share this article:

Local productions are dominating at this year’s Durban International Film Festival currently taking place at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA).

In its 42nd year, the prestigious festival presents a programme of nearly 140 feature films, documentaries and short films alongside an exciting industry programme: isiPhethu.

The first week of screening went on without a hitch and the festival organisers are pleased with the audience attendance and response.

“In the past year and a half, we had to pivot quickly and redefine our relationship with our audiences and the filmmakers,” said Ismail Mahomed, Director of the Centre for Creative Arts.

“We are so excited to have maintained the support of film lovers, and we expect to have over 10 000 users registered on our website by the end of the festival.”

He added: “Best watched films are local productions, which highlight a growing market for local content.”

Topping the list as the most-watched production is the documentary “I Am Here”, an incredible story about holocaust survivor Ella Blumenthal.

Another popular film at this year’s festival is the inspiring short animation film “Shaka Inkosi Yamakhosi” on King Shaka, boasting the voices of Lilian Dube, Ayanda Borotho and Dawn Thandeka King.

Shaka Inkosi Yamakhosi. Picture: Supplied

South African short narratives by female directors are topping the list of most-watched films with “Heart Attack” by Minenhle Luthuli, “What Did you Dream?” by Karabo Lediga, “Lakushon’ Ilanga” by Phumi Morare, “Five Tiger” by Nomawonga Khumalo and “Removed“ by Loren Loubser, all in the top eleven most-watched films at the festival.

’What Did you Dream’. Picture: Supplied

Audiences are also drawn to a feature film “Pusha Pressa Phanda” by director Dick d’vlz Reubin, which follows street youth Mandisa as she struggles to obtain medication and sanitary pads for her sister.

Cape Town narratives “Hard Livings”, a documentary directed by Jason Staggie about the most feared street gang in South Africa, and “Sons of the Sea”, a drama feature film by John Gutierrez that tells a story of a gifted but reclusive teenager from a poor South African fishing community who is pressured to steal two bags of ocean treasure - abalone – from a dead man, are among the audience favourites.

Visit the DIFF website to watch all films for free until Sunday, August 1.

The closing ceremony will stream on the festival’s Facebook page on Saturday, July 31, at 6 pm.

Share this article: