Isiphethu – DIFF Community Engagement Programme

Isiphethu, an isiZulu word for ‘’spring’’ was a concept that emerged from the idea of a spring that brings nourishment and refreshment. The emergence of water from the earth as bearing the same values as a wave of developing filmmakers rising to break ground with a sense of invigorated energy. It presents the potential to create an exciting, edgy and experimental programming and this has to be exploited and manifested accordingly.

In 2018 DIFF officially rebranded and launched Isiphethu (formerly DIFF Outreach and Industry) with the aim of giving priority to micro-budget films and create a platform for local and international participants to impart knowledge. One of the main objectives of the programme is to allow the general public free access to all the offerings and events. The programme is designed for KZN based filmmakers to expand their horizon within the film industry. The platform consists of an industry programme known as the Isiphethu Emerging Filmmakers Hub, as well as various screening programmes that are free and open to the general public. This week-long programme sees various experts mingling with the local audiences and also engage in creative discussions about the realities of the state of local film industry and mapping possible solutions. A platform to engage with industry experts through masterclasses, panel discussions and workshops.

As part of the screenings offering is a high school cinema experience campaign, where pupils from disadvantaged regions within Durban are bussed to the festival to watch selected films. This is designed to expose them to the world of film and potentially endear them to the idea of pursuing careers in the industry. Screenings and workshops take place at the Westville prison as well as outdoor screens across Durban as a way to utilise public spaces and engage with audiences who may not have ordinarily attended the festival. The Isiphethu also has a Township Screening offering, where films are showcased in the most unlikely places. In 2017, a partnership with Max’s Tavern in Umlazi, presented a unique opportunity for audiences to enjoy watching a film and experience kasi culture and cuisine, it was big hit with international guests.