As the DIFF turns a historic 40, we use this 2019 festival to celebrate a legacy of supporting South African and African film makers and our partnership with a global film industry. We are reimaging African cinema as we recognize DIFF as a platform that opens space to discover, birth, seek out, and hear new and established film voices. We celebrate the decolonising of the embedded canonical film centres globally as we return to the need to find the hidden gems and create a platform where new film voices are discovered and born – this is the onward journey of the DIFF.
At the core of the DIFF, is a commitment to community service and development of our local filmmakers and audiences .To be respectful to the industry it serves, the funders, practitioners and audiences alike by providing a programme that is excellent in showcasing the filmmakers in the best possible light. A festival that highlights the contributions of the funders and their association with the DIFF in a reputable manner and engages the audiences with the highest conceivable quality of viewing experience from both a technological and curatorial perspective.
Alongside the DIFF, one of Africa’s premier film industry events, the Durban FilmMart (DFM), a joint programme of the eThekwini Municipality’s Durban Film Office (DFO) and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) takes place. The Durban FilmMart offers exciting opportunities through a diverse programme of masterclasses, seminars and events for African filmmakers to build business networks, explore collaborations, develop content, and benchmark their creative and production work in line with international trends, and look for investment and business opportunities. What underpins the DIFF/DFM, is the focus on developing the industry in Africa, whilst drawing on local African and international expertise. This coming edition will be no exception, as the DFM reaches a 10 year milestone and is still an un-paralleled funding and development market on the African Continent.
Running parallel is the Durban Talent Campus, supported by the Berlinale Talents, the programme provides the selected participants with a unique opportunity to meet with international industry professionals, experts and mentors in various aspects of the filmmaking business through participation in a 5-day programme of masterclasses, workshops and industry networking events. It offers three hands on training programmes to talented entry level filmmakers: Doc Station with a focus on documentary-making, Talent Press which is dedicated to film criticism and Script Station which supports story development.
In addition, the Isiphethu, has been created as a space to support local filmmakers in the development of the quality of content, which may ordinarily be impacted on by the smaller budgets they may be working with. The hub is meant to offer these filmmakers opportunities to incubate projects, be mentored by experts, network with seasoned and experienced peers, and be included in the overall vision of the DIFF which is to showcase, support and grow quality African content. The content is created by filmmakers who understand their audience experience and the aim is to include this part of the industry into the greater industry fold. Isiphethu also includes screenings across Durban in the various communities that would otherwise not have access as well as a high school and prison programme.
Ultimately, our partner programmes and activities throughout the 10day film festivities serve to confirm Durban as the ultimate destination for the development of film on the continent and the next decade is dedicated to cementing that role globally as we welcome new partners and programmes with regions we have not previously engaged. It will be a showcase of films that are part of a paradigm shift, the very best the African continent has on offer.