Durban International Film Festival 2023 Announces Opening and Closing Films

Internationally celebrated film, Sira, which won the Panorama Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival in February this year will open the 44th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) presented by the University of KwaZulu- Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts at the SunCoast Cine Centre from 20 to 30 July 2023.

The widely acclaimed drama feature film, Sira, written and directed by Apolline Traoré follows a young nomad who takes a stand against Islamist terror. The film is a powerful feminist counterpoint to current reporting from the Sahel region.

“I am so very honoured that my film Sira will open the Durban International Film Festival.

It’s really a miracle. A year ago, during our difficult production we thought the film would never see the light. And here we are today, opening one of the greatest film festivals in Africa. It’s a blessing,” says film director Apolline Traoré The festival’s closing film, Banel & Adama, is a 2023 French-Malian-Senegalese romantic drama and debut feature film directed by Senegalese screenwriter Ramata-Toulaye Sy. It premiered, in competition, at the 76th Cannes Film Festival in May 2023.

The film centres around Banel and Adama who are young adults in their late teens who live in a remote village in northern Senegal. The film is a feisty tale about romance, family relationships and the chaos that ensues when Adama refuses to fulfil his birthright to serve as the village’s future leader.

Programme and Tickets

The 44th  Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) will take place from 20 July to 30 July 2023. This year’s festival promises an interesting international programme. Tickets are available on

About the DIFF:

Widely regarded as one of the leading film festivals on the African continent, DIFF will showcase an impressive variety of shorts, features, documentaries and student films. The DIFF’s developmental programme, the 6th edition of isiPhethu will include the isiZulu Scriptwriting Workshop, Industry Programme, and screenings in community centres – also taking place during DIFF. The 2nd International Student Film Festival, the first of its kind on the continent, will showcase 30 student films from all over the world, at the KwaZulu-Natal Society for the Arts (KZNSA) free of charge.

 The 44th Durban International Film Festival, presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu- Natal, is presented with support from the National Film and Video Foundation,  Kwazulu-Natal Film Commission, the Durban Film Office, the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Avalon Group.

The comprehensive DIFF programme is available here. To stay up to date, follow #DIFF2023 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.