Gay film festival back on track

A scene from the acclaimed and controversial Inxeba (The Wound), set for commercial release next February.

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BY BILLY SUTER

A CONTROVERSIAL film that has been selected as South Africa’s entry for consideration for the shortlist of nominees for the Best Foreign Language category at next year’s Oscars, will be shown again in Durban this weekend as part of the Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which is back on track after delays.

Having now fulfilled the technical requirements of the Film & Publications Board (FPB) of South Africa, the now fully registered Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival has resumed its screening programme across the city, says festival director Jason Fiddler.

The postponement brought on by the FBS’s last-minute engagement with the film festival days prior to the official opening on August 25 was very difficult for the team, he explains.

“We were geared for our best festival yet, and the news that FPB needed us to wait 30 days while they checked our film selection, with only something like three days to spare, was devastating on planning, and the momentum we’d built up,” he adds.

“Of course, I have to respect where the FPB is coming from, and I share their commitment to protecting minors from harmful material. The festival’s focus has been on mature and LGBTIQ-relevant content so I was confident there.”

Fortunately, for the opening night onAugust 25, the controversial film, Inxeba (The Wound), was already classified.

“The amaXhosa king had only the week previously called for this film to be shut down. Unfortunately for that call, we were able to screen it, as we were licensed without any problems and of course, as an already 16 SL classified film, Inxeba could proceed. The rest of the programme, or course, could not,” says Fiddler.

A scene from Sina Nomakotshana (Dance with the Maidens), the festival’s closing film, scheduled for 7pm on Wednesday, October 11.

The critically acclaimed Inxeba stars musician and novelist Nakhane Touré as Xolani, a lonely factory worker who joins the men of his community in the mountains of the Eastern Cape to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood.

“Having discussed this with the film’s producers and distributors, and in spite of the fact that we’d screened the film twice on the opening weekend a month ago, we felt the circumstances warranted another opportunity for Durban’s LGBTIQ community to see the film until its commercial release in February,” says Fiddler.

Inxeba will have an encore screening at 7pm on  Saturday, October 7, at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood, and a daytime community screening is being co-ordinated off the main programme. This  will be announced on the festival Facebook page, website and Twitter feed.

The revised festival programme is already under way and continues until October 121.

“I’m very pleased the FPB had no issues with our original selection of 47 films, albeit that the Danish documentary, Miss Rosewood, was classified 18 SN,” says Fiddler. “There are some powerful documentaries, an extraordinary selection of short films and entertaining feature films”.

Included in the remaining programme is the US musical-romantic drama, Something Like Summer. Good news is that an American benefactor bought a lot of tickets to give away to audiences, so the first 25 arriving today, Friday, October 6, get theirs free.

The film will now also have a free daytime community screening, thanks to this sponsor’s support.Details will followm as with Inxeba’s community screening, says Fiddler.

Something Like Summer, an adaptation of a novel b Jay Bell, tells of two boys whose secret relationship in high school appears to be doomed, only for them to encounter one another years later as friends and even enemies.

It stars Davi Santos (Power Rangers), Ben Baur (Hunting Season) and singer-actress Ajiona Alexus (TV’s Empire), and introduces Grant Davis, who performs six of the seven songs in the film; Ajiona performs the seventh as a solo.

A moment from Locked In, a festival film that  looks at being trans and Muslim.

Argentinean drama Bromance will be shown again at 7pm on Tuesday, October 10, at the KZNSA. It tells of three 20-year-olds who make a trip looking to reconnect, to regain their teen-hood friendship. But time has changed them and the intrusion of a girl will take them to the limit and test their desires.

Monday, October 9, brings about the now-annual frestival tradition of Francophone cinema – French Nite at Alliance Francaise in Morningside. This will offer a selection of documentary and feature films.

In Even Lovers Get the Blues, Ana is sleeping with Hugo, Dalhia with Graciano, Léo with Louis, and Arthur with everyone. Parties and love affairs lead to heart-searching, deep desires and the craving to live life to the full. The film is said to be a portrait of the love and sexual lives of disenchanted and passionate young people.

In continuing its long-standing partnership with the Durban Lesbian & Gay Community & Health Centre, the festival is arranging free daytime community screenings of short film packages at 3pm, at the Centre in Morningside. These are on October 6, 9, 10 and 11. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-seated basis. The Centre offers clinic services and HIV testing as well as outreach and advocacy work.

A feast of great documentaries starts at 2pm on Saturday, October 7, with Carlos Jauregui, The Unforgettable Fag, a feature-length film about Carlos Jauregui, gay rights activist, friend, lover, fighter, an icon, and inspiration for the masses.

He was the first gay to come out on the cover of a magazine in the ’80s. His conviction and courage changed the lives of the Argentine LGBT community and history of a country and its laws. He led the first Pride March in Argentina, unifying the LGBTIQ movement. He laid the foundations of dialogue and the way to anti-discrimination towards the homosexual community.

That film will be followed, at 4.30pm on October 7, by a pair of South African documentaries speaking to the transgender experience: Locked In looks at being trans and Muslim, and The Story of Ziggy is a short documentary that outlines the life of a woman in mid-transition to becoming a man, exploring the challenges of black South African gender identity in a complex youth society.

The world premiere of the South African gay horror short film, Shadow, is scheduled for 6pm on Saturday, October 7, preceding Inxeba at 7pm.

The festival’s closing-night film pick is a Zulu lesbian short film, Sina Nomakotshana (Dance with the Maidens), at 7pm on Wednesday, October 11. It tells of a people-pleasing girl from a staunchly religious and homophobic family, who falls in love with her dance partner. She must then choose whether to come out of the closet during her traditional Zulu initiation into womanhood, or give up on her lover.

The revised festival programme is available online and all screening information in the printed souvenir guide books remains relevant (apart from dates and times). Information and a PDF download can be found at the website: http://www.dglff.org.za


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