UMHLANGA LIFE - THE ONLINE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibit is on at uShaka





Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition launches in Durban

Copyright - Photographer - Steve Winters - Title - LAST WILD PICTURE
Picture Courtesy Durban Wild Talk Africa

The internationally renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition, which launched last week at the Durban’s uShaka Marine World, is open to the public for two months from 25 July to 25 September this year. The glamorous cocktail party was attended by a number of filmmakers and broadcast experts from across the world. Other dignitaries included the producer of BBC Africa series James Honeyborne and New York based executive producer Peter Hamilton.



Copyright - Photographer - Adam Gibbs - Title -  FAIRY LAKE FIR
Picture Courtesy Durban Wild Talk Africa

The exhibition will feature 100 of the world’s most amazing wildlife photographs, taken by 77 top international photographers. The selection of images was made from a massive 48 000 entries submitted from 98 countries worldwide and includes work from South African photographers Brent Stirton, Jean Tresfon, Heinrich van den Berg, Kim Wolhuter, Frits Hoogendijk, Thomas Peschak and Hannes Lochner. The launch forms part of Wild Talk Africa, the largest international wildlife and natural history film festival and conference in Africa. The exhibition, which marks its return to Durban after a seven-year hiatus, has been brought to the city by National Geographic Channels International. 

“Photography has remained at the forefront of our vision and is still one of the best ways we have captured nature. National Geographic Channels International is proud to be a part of an initiative that supports the art of photography and highlights the beauty of wildlife,” Thandi Davids of National Geographic Channels International said.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition, an annual event, co-owned by the Natural History Museum of London and BBC Worldwide, is a carefully chosen distillation of number photographic entries from around the world.

Wild Talk Africa, alongside Wildscreen in the UK and Jackson Hole in the States, has firmly established itself as one of the top three natural history film festivals in the world. Strongly focused on wildlife, conservation and cultural programming, the four-day festival and conference includes seminars led by key figures in the international broadcast industry.

As part of the city’s greater vision to build Durban’s “golden mile” as a hub for film market activity in the month of July, similar to what Cannes is to Europe, Wild Talk Africa partnered with the Durban International Film Festival and the Durban Film Mart, to offer a strong film industry package for visitors, both local and international. 

Copyright - Photographer - Charlie Hamilton James (UK) Title - LOOKOUT FOR LIONS
Picture Courtesy Durban Wild Talk Africa

(Source - Durban Wild Talk Africa)

Make sure you get to see this exhibit dear reader.  There are some wonderful
images at this exhibit.  If you want to learn about how to take good pictures be
sure to visit this exhibition.  






Article by +Fred Felton 
Tweet me your thoughts about this exhibit @fredfelton 




 








Sunday, July 28, 2013

All the Award-winners from the Durban International Film Festival



The 34th edition of the Durban International Film Festival, with principal funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund,  announced last night its award-winners, prior to the screening of the closing film Free Angela – And All Political Prisoners at the Suncoast CineCentre Cinema. Presenting the award for Best Feature Film to the film The Land of Hope, the International Jury commended Sion Sono for a film that “masterfully and humbly draws together an array of cinematic means of expression to engage us in a story”. The Best Feature Film award carries with it a cash prize of R50 000.



International Jury members renowned festival programmer Paolo Bertolin, South African filmmaker Sarah Blecher, film curator June Givanni, Egyptian curator and festival programmer Sherif Awad and South African actress and Durban International Film Festival Ambassador Hlubi Mboya (Pic courtesy DIFF) 


The international Jury, which comprised of Egyptian curator and festival programmer Sherif Awad, renowned festival programmer Paolo Bertolin, South African filmmaker Sarah Blecher, film curator June Givanni and South African actress Hlubi Mboya, also awarded Best South African Feature Film to South African filmmaker Andrew Worsdale for his film Durban Poison. The Best South African Feature Film award carries with it a cash prize of R30 000.

International Jury member, June Givanni on behalf of the International Jury also gave reason as to why the film directed by Jahmil XT Qubeka could not be considered for competition by saying “As a jury, we were privileged to be taken on a global journey through cinema, and we would like to thank Peter Machen and the Film Festival programmers for this great hounor. However, we have to express our regret that this journey could not include the South African competition entry OF GOOD REPORT, which the Film and Publication Board did not license for public screening in time for us to take it into consideration. The jury is saddened and concerned about the limitations to freedom of expression that are still in force on the continent and beyond, but we are glad that on this occasion the decision has been over-turned.


Festival accolades for Of Good Report
Following the refusal to classify the Opening Night Film Of Good Report, the Film and Publications Board reversed their decision and gave the film an R-Rating of 16 this afternoon (Saturday, July 27). The film was not screened in any of its allocated slots as a result of the refusal for classification and so could not be in competition. The Durban International Film Festival acknowledged the film’s achievements in stimulating worldwide debate and highlighting important issues in South African society. Festival manager Peter Machen therefore announced a new annual award for Artistic Bravery, the first of which was given to Of Good Report director, Jahmil XT Qubeka. Of Good Report will now be screened a preview on the last day of the festival (Sunday, July 28) at 12h00 at Suncoast CineCentre.



Professor Cheryl Potgieter also gave special mention and a prize to Festival Manager Peter Machen for his outstanding work during the festival and acknowledging his contribution to the festival as a whole. The Deputy Vice Chancellor of Humanities also touched on the currently vacant post of the Centre for Creative Arts Directorship stating that the position is currently being advertised and that an appointment would be happening soon.

The full list of awards is: 

·         Best Short Film – Mercy (dir. Eliza Subotowicz)
·         Best South African Short Film – The Brave Unseen (dir. Duan Myburgh)
·         Best Documentary Film – Far out isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (dir. Brad Bernstein)
·         Special Mention: Best Documentary Film – I Am Breathing (dir. Emma Davie and Morag McKinonn)
·         Best South African Documentary Film – Angel’s In Exile (dir. Billy Raftery)
·         Special Mention: Best South African Documentary Film – Orania (dir. Tobias Lindner)
·         Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award – Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer (dir. Mike Lerner and             Maxim Pozdorovkin)
·         Audience Choice Best Film – Felix (dir. Roberta Durrant)
·         Audience Choice Best Documentary – Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer (dir. Mike Lerner and Maxim                         Pozdorovkin)
·         Audience Choice Best Wavescapes Film – Stand (dir. Anthony Bonello and Nicolas Teichrob)
·         Audience Choice Best WildTalk Film – 2 Wings Many Prayers (dir. Lloyd Ross)
·         Best Feature Film – The Land of Hope (dir. Sion Sono)
·         Best First Feature Film – Wadjda (dir. Al-Mansour Haifaa)
·         Best South African Feature Film – Durban Poison (dir. Andrew Worsdale)
·         Best Direction – Xavier Dolan for Laurence Anyways
·         Best Cinematography – MatÍas Penachino for Halley
·         Best Screenplay – Asghar Fahradi for The Past
·         Best Actor – David and Eitan Cunio for Youth
·         Best Actress – Paulina Garcia for Gloria and Suzanne Clément for Laurence Anyways
·         Durban International Film Festival Award for Artistic Bravery – Jahmil XT Qubeka

Sunday is the last day of screenings with film screenings at Suncoast Cinema, Ster Kinekor Musgrave, Cinema Nouveau Gateway, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre (Kwa-Mashu), and the Blue Waters Hotel.
The 34th Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre For Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) with support by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, HIVOS, City of Durban, German Embassy in South Africa, Goethe Institut of South Africa, French Season in South Africa, and a range of other valued partners.  For more information about the Durban International Film Festival you can log onto the website www.durbanfilmfest.co.za.


 Article by +Fred Felton 

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Friday, July 26, 2013

5 Questions with Roberta Durandt Director & Producer of Felix



This week at the Durban International Film Festival I managed to sit down with
Roberta Durbandt the Director and Producer of the new South African film 'Felix.'


                        Roberta Durandt - Image Courtesy @DIFFest

I asked her some questions about the movie and about the film world:

Tell us about Felix?

It is a Billy Elliot type of movie.  It's a feel good family film.  It is also a fable.
It is about Felix's journey and man's journey.

It is set in a private school.  We cover topics such as being bullied, alcohol, jazz music.
Felix starts to learn the sax.  His mother has to come to terms with this as well.

You can also find out more about the movie here:  www.felixthemovie.com

When does the movie open in South African nationally? 

It opens in 35 cinemas from 13 September so look out for it.

What does a director do? 

Know what you are doing.  Know all aspects of the game.  Keep persisting.  Keep going.
Felix took me 5 years.  Keep going.

What's next for Roberta? 

I am busy with a gameshow at the moment titled 'You Deserve it.'
It will launch on etv in september.  This gameshow is something different.
In this gameshow people play for someone else.


                                          Scene from the movie - Courtesy @DIFFest

How did you find the actor who played Felix.

We auditioned 400 young actors. Vulnerability and a good performance made this actor stand out.
You know boys grow so quickly and it was just lovely to see him acting.

Felix is showing at the Durban International Film Festival.
Next show:  27 July 15:15 Sneddon

Tweet @felixmovie - https://twitter.com/felixmovie and tell them what you think of the movie.

Article by +Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton


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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Is This The Next Hollywood Star?


Onwards and Upwards

     
                                                                 Chella Ferrow

Interview with Chella Ferrow one of the main actors from African Gothic

This week at the Durban International Film Festival I managed to sit down with this actor and ask her some questions about the movie and about acting.

What was it like working on Franchise TV Series like Ugly Betty and Law & Order?

I take what I can.  It's great for the experience, amazing writing there, great shows.  I'm greatful for every opportunity I get.  It helps to be adaptable and chameleon like.  I love accents and nuances.

Why did you want to become an actress?

I love the magical playing.  There's something sacred about it.  There's always a freedom about it.
I was at a Johannesburg school and I knew I wanted to be an actress.  I did a degree in psychology and
moved to London.  It began there.

Tell us about African Gothic and your character?

I'm drawn to Reza's work.  The magic writing.  The rawness of it all.  She's stuck in a past.
There's a wisdom in her.   She is not just a child trapped in a woman.

What is your acting technique?

I've studied various ones.  You use parts that work for you and you use what works for you.
Listen.  Don't get stuck.  It comes from your body.  Do research and reading.

What do you personally do with a script? 

I read it.
I then let it go.
Then I go back to it.
I walk around with it.
I talk.
I stew and things come to me.
I ask the director.
It needs to be physical for me.
Where does her voice sit with me.
In the chest?
In the throat?

Film or Theatre?

I love them both.
The expression in them is different.
Theatre is the sacred genre.
Film I love.
I want to do more of it.

What's next for you?

Auditions in LA.
I would love to do more work in South Africa.

Who's your agent?

Innovative Artists - http://www.innovativeartists.com/home.html
Station 3 Management

What's it like for a South African Actress based in the USA? 

Don't try to lose your South Africanness.
Stay creative in your own right.

Tips for people who want to become actors?

Watch a lot of movies.  See lots of theatre.  Keep doing it.  Get into an acting class.
Don't stick with one teacher.  Know yourself.  It's a spirited journey for me.

What do you do to relax?

Read a lot, walk a lot around New York city.
New York is a walking city.

When I interviewed this young lady I got the feeling that there is just something about her.
She is certainly headed in one direction and that is up.

African Gothic is showing at the Durban International Film Festival.
Next Shows:
24 July 15h30 Ekhaya
25 July 6pm Suncoast 

Find out more about African Gothic here - www.africangothic.com
Find them on Twitter - @AfricanGothic
Tweet them what you think about the movie using the hashtag #Diff2013   

Article and Photo by +Fred Felton 
(Twitter @fredfelton)  

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Film Review - Francine


Film - Francine
Directors - Melanie Shatzky, Brian M. Cassidy
Cast - Melissa Leo

A New Experience


     Image courtesy  +DURBAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

This movie is something different.  I love directors that like to take risks and take challenges.
You will see plenty of those in this movie.  This is indeed a classic indie film.
We join the main character Francine (great performance by Melissa Leo)  as she comes out
of prison.  She gets to experience freedom and life.  She surrounds herself with animals.

There are some wonderful close up shots, the directors explained they love close up shots
because it enables you to see what is going on with the character.

Shot in a classic working class setting in New York you see a different type of people.
Hard working people of the earth.

The directors come from a background of still photography and they used many natural sounds.
The script was based mostly on improv.

A wonderful little movie at the Durban International Film Festival.

Rating 7/10

Next shows are:
25 July 8pm Suncoast
28 July 7pm Suncoast

Tweet me what you think of the movie @fredfelton and use the hashtag #Diff2013

Find out more about the festival here:  http://www.facebook.com/DurbanInternationalFilmFestival

Review by +Fred Felton

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Free Workshops for Actors, Writers, Producers and Directors at the Durban International Film Festival



A list of free workshops coming up at the
Durban International Film Festival (DIFF)


                                               (Image courtesy - @DIFFest )

These workshops are held at the Blue Waters Hotel, Durban Beachfront, Durban

Monday July 22

AIF: NFVF Sediba Script Development - The Journey from Idea to Screen
9am - 10am Venue: Pool Deck Room
Hear about the development process for funded projects awarded NFVF development funding.

Meet the Funders
9:30am - 11am Venue: Fontainbleau
This panel gives filmmakers a chance to engage with film funds at the festival.

NFVF Funding Panel
11:15am - 12h30pm   Venue: Fontainbleau
The Foundation engages with industry on funding.

Africa in Focus:   Request for Proposals
2pm - 3h30pm Venue: Pool Deck Room
A panel of film initiatives, commissioning editors and broadcasters seeking proposals from
industry.  Panelists include reps from e-tv, Arte, Francophone, African Eyes

Transmedia Spotting - How to identify, Structure and Promote your Transmedia Project
2pm - 3h30pm Venue: Fontainbleau
Ingrid Kopp, Director of Digital Initiatives at Tribeca Institute gives insight into what makes a suitable
transmedia project.

Window to the World - An Insight into World Trends
3h45pm - 5pm  Venue: Pool Deck Room
Rep's of film festivals' cinema funds and global organisations share insight into global trends in
film production, funding and co-production.

Africa in Focus: Back to basics with Howard Thomas - Getting to a workable budget
4pm - 5pm  Venue:  Fontainbleau

Tue July 23

Critics Panel:  Redefining the Genre
9am - 11am  Venue:  Pool Deck Room
Mentors of Talent Campus Durban, Talent Press speak on state of film criticism.
Panelists include Leon van Nierop and Katarina Hederen

NFVF Co-production Forum
10am - 11h30am  Venue:  Fontainbleau
NFVF's Terrence Khumalo discusses the 2012/2013 year in co-productions

The 3-Act Screenplay Demystified with the Writers Guld of SA
11h30am - 1pm  Venue:  Pool Deck Room
Writers Eubulus Timothy and Clinton Marius take the mystery out of story structure.

Film Initiatives Open Call - Afrinolly and Girls' Minds Think Alike:
A Call for Female Filmmakers
12pm - 1pm  Venue:  Fontainbleau
Kafard Films launches a project for African female filmmakers.
Nigerian Film present their ground-breaking app and their short film competition

Music Rights in Film
2pm - 4pm   Venue:  Pool Deck Room
Discussion on the process and legal requirements for using music in a film.

New Spaces for African Cinema
2pm - 4pm  Venue:  Fontainbleau
Hear about the ReaGile project in bringing cinema to SA townships.

Spotlight on EU Treaties
4h30pm - 5h30pm  Venue:  Pool Deck Room
This panel discusses the effectiveness of co-production treaties with EU in boosting
co-production with SA.

Mining the Visual Repository
4h30pm - 6pm  Venue:  Fontainbleau
A workshop on how to access SABC News Archive material for docu's and fiction films.

Wed July 24

Film and Publication Board Workshop
9am - 10am  Venue:  Pool Deck Room
The Film and Publications Board engages with industry on classification.

The Rise of the Zombie Film
10h30 - 12pm  Venue:  Pool Deck Room
A look at the rise of the zombie film, Halley director Sebastian Hoffman
in conversation with Sarah Dawson.

Entry to the free open workshops require prior registration at the DIFF info
desk at The Blue Waters.  Please bring your ID.

This list courtesy of DIFF
Find them on the web:  http://www.durbanfilmfest.co.za/

Article by +Fred Felton

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Film Reviews - 'Halley and 'Evil Dead'


Film Review - Halley

Directed by Sebastian Hofmann
Cast - Alberto Trujillo

                                         
                                                   Picture Courtesy - DIFF

Halley tells the tale of security guard Beto (Alberto Trujillo) and shows us how he is slowly
rotting away.   His body is slowly shutting down.  There is hardly any music in this movie if any.
He is surrounded by people in a gym, people who are in their best shape.  He of course is headed
in the opposite direction.

We see how all of those around him do not really care much for him.  He seems to only exist in a twilight world slowly fading out of this one.

First time writer-director Sebastian Hofmann uses some interesting techniques.  He plays on your imagination and likes to use out of focus shots here and there.

The original idea was based on a short film about a man's relationship with his body.
The director told us that we all have that fear that our body will slowly rot away.

Rating:  7/10

You can catch the film at the Durban International Film Festival 2013
Next Showings are:
21 July 10pm Musgrave
25 July 20h30 Sneddon

Tweet us your thoughts of the movie using the hashtag #DIFF2013

Review by +Fred Felton
Twitter - @fredfelton  


Film Review - Evil Dead

Director - Fede Alvarez
Cast - Jane Levy, Shilo Fernandez, Jessica Lucas, Lou Taylor Pucci, Ellen Sandweiss

This is a reboot of the original movie.  A 2013 reinvention of the classic Evil Dead movie.
Now updated for this generation.  Set in the woods a brother tries to help his sister
get rid of her drug addiction.  Her friends help out as best they come.
However there is something in the woods waiting for them all.

If you love horror movies this one is for you.
There is blood, lots of it.
I heard many people in the cinema screaming.

Rating 7/10

Evil Dead is showing at the Durban International Film Festival 2013

Next Shows
21 July 19h30 Nouveau Gateway
27 July 20h30 Nouveau Gateway
28 July 20h30 Musgrave

Review by +Fred Felton
Find me on Twitter @fredfelton







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Friday, July 19, 2013

Film Banned on the opening night of The Durban International Film Festival



Last night if you attended the opening of the Durban International Film Festival you would have
seen history in the making.  The film 'Of Good Report was refused a classification.   The Film Festival was ordered to destroy all copies of the film and it was not allowed to be shown at the Festival.


                                                Picture +Fred Felton

There was high drama indeed but of a different kind.  Nobody knows what the problem with this film is as none of us can see it.  So all we can go on is what the publications board had to say.
The Durban Film Festival has stated that they will appeal.  The producer will appeal and will go as high as the constitutional court on this matter.


                                        (Video Source - SABCDigitalNews, YouTube)
Peter Machen the Festival Director was on Morning Live this was the interview.

This was what DIFF had to say:

OPENING NIGHT FILM OF THE DURBAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL REFUSED SCREENING BY THE FILM AND PUBLICATION BOARD

Durban: South Africa: July 18, 2013: The opening night film of the 34th Durban International Film Festival, the much-anticipated film noir Of Good Report, directed by Jahmil XT Qubeka was refused classification by the Film and Publication Board, and as such the festival was unable to screen it.

Instead of the opening credits the following words were displayed on the screen: “This film has been refused classification by the Film and Publication Board, in terms of the Film and Publications Act of 1996, unfortunately we may not legally screen the film, Of Good Report, as doing so would constitute a criminal offence.”

The film tells the sombre tale of a small-town high-school teacher with a penchant for young girls. The result is an hypnotically engaging journey into the soul of a mentally troubled man. The trouble for the protagonist, Parker Sithole begins when he meets the undeniably gorgeous Nolitha Ngubane at a local tavern. Captivated by her beauty, an illicit affair ensues. However, there’s just one problem: Nolitha is one of Parker’s pupils and is just sixteen years older. Parker quickly spirals into lethal obsession.

The manager of the film festival, Peter Machen gave this statement: “Unfortunately, the film and publication board has refused to allow the release of Of Good Report. According to their communication to the festival, the film contains a scene which constitutes child pornography and we are unable to legally show the film. I am very sorry about this. Out of respect for the director of the film, we will not be showing an alternative film tonight.”

“We chose the film because it was challenging, powerful and artistically successful, and particularly because it was such a strong expression of an individual voice .” said Machen. “It presents a story of a very real and troubling social problem of rampant abuse of position in our country.”

Qubeka, who had taped his mouth shut, chose not to comment as an act of defiance, instead his wife, Dr Lwazi Manzi spoke on his behalf, describing the horrors of abused young women by older men that she encounters daily as a doctor at a government hospital. “Just because they (the FPB) don’t want to see it, does not mean it does not happen.” she said. “We shall not not talk about it. I am very proud of my husband, and the cast and crew. This is a pivotal day in the history of film in our country, one which will resonate in history.”

Professor Cheryl Potgieter, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities at UKZN, under whose curatorship the organisers of the Festival, The Centre for Creative Arts is a special project said. “We chose to not show another film in deference to the filmmaker, and to ensure there was critical mass to carry this debate and discourse forward.”

Qubeka and UKZN intend to appeal against the decision, failing which, the producer Mike Auret, himself a lawyer, will take it to the Constitutional Court. Auret said “It is not the function of state to moralise.”

The festival screenings of all other films, will continue as planned for the next nine days.  For more information about the DIFF go to www.durbanfilmfest.co.za.

(Source - DIFF) 

So what can you do about it?
  • Were you there?  Leave your comments and tell us what you think about this
  • Tweet about it using the hashtag #DIFF2013 or Tweet @DIFFest 
  • Write a letter to your newspaper about it
  • Blog about it
  • Tell your local councillor about it
  • Sign a petition
The more people that can creat awareness of this the better.  Let us all help to get this film
unbanned.

Article by +Fred Felton 











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