Inaugural Isiphethu International Student Film Festival presented by DIFF

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) will host the 43rd Durban International Festival (DIFF) from 21 to 30 July. During DIFF, the festival also presents its inaugural version of the Isiphethu International Student Film Festival(IISFF), the first South African international film festival dedicated to student films.

The festival aims to create a platform and gateway for students to the big festival by exposing them to the role players in the film industry and showcasing their work on big cinema screens. The festival will take place primarily online, with 37 films screening virtually and a selection of 8 films that will also screen at CineCentre Suncoast Casino in Durban on 27 July.

“The IISFF wants to encourage the development of new ideas and showcase to audiences that emerging filmmakers globally produce good quality work. The films include fiction, documentary and animation from all continents, so it is a true reflection of what is being created in the world.” Says festival manager Sakhile Gumede.

The IISFF will also host two awards, during which it will award the Best South African Student Film and the Best International Student Film. The seventeen short films in competition are:

A Scorned Mother, a drama directed by Boitumelo te Vaarwerk, a student at Sae Institute in Rosebank, in which a young girl who is raped by a man gives birth nine months later in the same place where she was raped.

A Woman of no Importance, a drama directed by Gauri Aldekar from the USA, about an undocumented seamstress in New York City who finds herself at a crossroads of morality and self-interest.

An Island Drifts a drama directed by Vivian Ip from Singapore, in which a young teacher presses for the truth from a maladjusted student.

Darker a fantasy drama directed by Frank van den Bogaart from Belgium, a forest entity who whispers the stories of death to his trees.

Delville Wood, a drama directed by AFDA student Lizette Blignaut tells the story of a brutal artillery barrage on the 17th of July 1916, after which the South African Army is forced into a tactical retreat.

Happy, a documentary directed by Ivan Rodin from Russia, tells the story of a son of an influential Guinean and a simple Russian woman who is one of the few black people born in the USSR.

Headfish, a drama directed by Jakub Prysak from Poland, is the story of two friends: a cow milker and a sex worker.

His Best Friend, a drama directed by Oz Zirlin from Israel, assembled his best friend’s family and close friends to re-enact the day his friend took his own life.

Hourglass House a drama directed by Yinghai Hu from China in which a little boy wants to take an adventure in the desert.

How Small!, an animation directed by Charlene Xu from the USA, in which a young woman reminisces about her deceased grandmother.

Killing Bagheera, a drama directed by Muschirf Shekh Zeyn, in which two Kurdish brothers on the flee are confronted with hidden fears that will divide them deep inside.

Lebone, a drama directed by University of Witswatersrand student Pfeiffer Kenny, a young servant maid, has her son taken away from her at birth by the farm owner’s wife.

Mona & Parviz a drama directed by Kevin Biele from Germany about an unannounced visit by the immigration office.

Nothing To See Here an observational comedy directed by Victor Candeias from Portugal about the pleasure of looking in a place where there is seemingly nothing to look at.

Sort of Grown-Up, an observational documentary directed by Marlena Molitor from Germany, provides intimate insight into the world of three young women teetering on the edge of adulthood.

Triangle, a sci-fi pseudo-documentary drama directed by Peter Engelmann from Hungary, explores the human mind’s dark realms. 

Where is Mr Adams?, a short comedy-drama by AFDA student Cameron Murray, in which An untalented and ill-prepared amateur theatre crew must perform the opening night of a mediocre stage production.



The award jury consists of Eman Hussein, an independent dancer, choreographer, and dance filmmaker based in Cairo, Guillem Almirall, a film director from Spain and the South African Tiny Mungwe, a filmmaker and arts manager. The annual DIFF award ceremony will take place virtually on Saturday, 30 July.


From the films in competition, A Woman of No Importance, Mona & Parviz and Where is Mr Adams? will be screening live. Other films that are screening live are:


Bianco, a short documentary directed by Ahmed Khaled Dijab from Egypt, about an artist working on his latest piece of art.

Calf, an experimental short film directed by AFDA student Lee Brown, in which a girl is sent on a one-way voyage to the edge of our Solar System to intercept a mysterious signal.

Kopano a short drama directed by Mpendulo Phetshane from the University of Witswatersrand about an initiation school where things go wrong.

Rasta De Artist, a short documentary directed by Odwa Klowana from the Tshwane University of Technology about the visual artists many of us know because of his painting of South African celebrities and the criticism he gets on social media.

The Detective, a short animation by University of Kwazulu-Natal student Mvelo Zimu, is the story of how a brilliant detective suffers deep trauma after losing his best friend (also a policeman) during a bank robbery shooting.


More about the Isiphethu Programme

The Isiphethu programme is DIFF’s programme responsible for community engagement workshops and screenings, a school programme and an IsiZulu Masterclass series. This year the programme also launches the inaugural Isiphethu International Student Film Festival.


Isiphethu brings a variety of community engagement workshops at the KZNSA Gallery as well as online. The programme also presents Isiphethu on Tour, which brings community screenings in places like Wushwini Pan African Art Centre in KwaNgcolosi, KCAP in KwaMashu, Luthuli Museum in Stanger, UBUNTUNest in Howick and Denis Hurley in the heart of Durban city. The school’s programme will also take place at the KZNSA Gallery, with over fifty learners participating in the Media Expo session and the Children’s Day Event. The programme will also include the ten-day IsiZulu Masterclass Series with fifteen participants from different parts of the province.

Programme and details

DIFF 2022 will be presented in a hybrid edition with online screenings at and a diverse live programme offered at Suncoast CineCentre, Durban. The live screening schedule is accessible on Tickets for the live screenings are available directly at the Suncoast CineCentre The entire festival programme can be viewed online at

The 43rd edition of the festival is produced by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, in partnership and with the support of KZN Film Commission, the National Film and Video Foundation, KZN Department of Arts & Culture, Avalon Group and other valued funders and partners. 

Sign up here to be the first to find out about the Durban International Film Festival

Sign up here to be the first one to find out when the tickets will be available.