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