BY BILLY SUTER
THE 39th Durban International Film Festival, scheduled for various venues from July 19 to 29, has announced films and jury members for this year’s competition.
Publicist Sharlene Versfeld has reported that award categories are: Best Feature Film, Best South African Feature Film, Best Documentary, Best SA Documentary, Best Short Film, Best African Short Film, Best South African Short Film, Best Actor Award, Best Actress, Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Artistic Bravery, Audience Choice Award, Wavescape Audience Choice Award and the Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award.
Fiction section jurors are Bongiwe Selane, whose debut feature was the popular feature Happiness is a Four-Letter-Word; and Hakeem Kae Kazim, the British-Nigerian actor who was Oscar-nominated for Hotel Rwanda and has appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean III and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, among other successes. Also a juror for fiction films is Nse Ikpe-Etim Nigerian, a multiple-award-winning actress who festival audiences will remember from her role in the celebrated Meg Rickards’ film, Tess.
The documentary film jury includes Uzanenkosi, one of South Africa’s busiest and most prolific producers, who created InterSEXions, the award-winning drama series that won an unprecedented 11 Safta awards.
Also jurors are Nakai Matema, a veteran Zimbabwean producer who has produced several groundbreaking films, and Nigerian filmmaker Mahmood Ali-Balogun, who has directed numerous films including multiple award-winning film Tango With Me, and has been on the juries of numerous festivals such as Cairo International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Abuja International Film Festival and African International Film Festival (AFRIFF).
Juror Dorothee Wenner is a Berlin-based freelance filmmaker, writer and curator who has been on the selection committee of Berlin’s International Forum since 1990 and serves as the Berlinale’s Delegate for India and sub- Saharan Africa.
The jury for short films includes Alicia Price, head of the Film Department at SAE Cape Town, and Leon van ser Merwe, a founding member, chief operating officer, board member and director of the Cape Town International Film Market and Festival (CTIFMF).
The Amnesty International Durban jury is convened by its chair Coral Vinsen with members Professor Margaret Daymond, Lazola Kati , Betty Rawheath and Nelvia Rawheath.
Feature films in competition in include Clint (India), directed by Harikumar Ramakrishna Pilla; Farewell Ella Bella (SA), directed by Lwazi Mvusi; The Foolish Bird (Ben Niao) (China), directed by Ji Huang and Otsuka Ryuji, and High Fantasy (SA), directed by Jenna Bass.
Other films in competition include Mayfair (SA), directed by Sara Blecher; The Movie of My Life (O Filme Da Minha Vida) (Brazil), directed by Selton Mello; Pororoca (Romania, France), directed by Constantin Popescu; Rafiki (Kenya, South Africa), directed by Wanuri Kahiu, and The Recce (SA), directed by Ferdinand van Zyl.
Then there are The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (Palestine, Netherlands, Germany, Mexico,) directed by Muayad Muayad; Supa Modo (Germany, Kenya), directed by Likarion Wainaina; The Tale (US) directed by Jennifer Fox, and A Trip To The Moon (Un Viaje A La Luna) (Argentina) directed by Joaquín Cambre.
Documentary films in competition include We Could Be Heroes (Denmark, Morocco, Tunisa, Brazil), directed by Hind Bensari; Silas (Canada/South Africa/Kenya), directed by Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman; Whispering Truth To Power (South Africa/Netherlands), directed by Shameela Seedat; New Moon, directed by Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann, and Kinshasa Makambo (Democratic Republic of The Congo / France / Switzerland / Germany / Norway) directed by Dieudo Hamadi.
Other contenders are Amal (Egypt/Lebanon/Germany) directed by Mohamed Siam; Spell Reel (Germany/Portugal/France/Guinea-Bissau), directed by Filipa César; Shakedown (US) directed by Leilah Weinraub; The Silk and the Flame (Fei’e Pu Huo) (US), directed by Jordan Schiele; and The State Against Nelson Mandela and the Others (France), directed by Nicolas Champeaux and Gilles Porte.
All South African documentaries and features are also eligible for the SA Best Documentary and SA Best Feature awards.
The Durban International Film Festival is organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, National Film and Video Foundation, Durban Film Office and other valuable partners.
The festival also features the Isiphethu industry programme, outreach activities, the Durban FilmMart, a co-production market in partnership with Ethekwini Municipality’s Durban Film Office, Talents Durban, in cooperation with the Berlinale Talent Campus and the Wavescape Surf Film Festival.
For more information visit www.durbanfilmfest.co.za