Short Films Competing for the Oscar Qualifying Best Short Film Award At the 45th Durban International Film Festival

Twenty-six short films will compete for the Best Short Film (Oscar Qualifying) and the Best South African Short award in the 45th edition of the Durban Internal Film Festival shorts programme this year. The films offer everything from intimate personal relationships to the broad political landscape of the ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ movement in Iran. They feature places familiar and close to home to far-flung Mars and everything in between.

Films with a focus on family relationships include A Thousand Odd Days where a young man attempts to reconcile with his estranged mother. Their relationship is profoundly affected by previous trauma that she has endured, and he must make sense of her as a person before he can relate to her as his mother. The theme of strong familial bonds is echoed in Tomorrow as a ten-year-old boy with the help of a stray dog goes in search of life-saving treatment for his ailing father. The extreme lengths a courageous teenager goes to protect his mother in Metallic Taste are as inspirational. Set against the background of war this poignant portrait delivers a visceral punch and makes the brutal and impossible choices made in times of conflict very human. Intergenerational violence shatters a young man’s future even as he tries to escape his personal violent history in Middle of Somewhere.

In Keba Interrupted a son arrives home too late for his mother but just in time for his daughter while in Prime-Time Mother a mother is determined to succeed in a highly rewarding television game show in the Philippines to save her child. The human thread that runs throughout these films all tug at the intricate bonds between kin and the measures which people endure to protect those they love. Sometimes that choice is not available as can be seen in the tense journey faced by twelve-year-old Fatina, a suicide bomber who has been sent on a mission to a market; the market where her mother works. In the Envoy of God, the conflict between martyrdom and motherhood unravels with each bomb-ticking second.

While the COVID pandemic often feels like a distant memory, the claustrophobe of lockdown and the endless waiting in queues comes rushing back in Take A Seat, when a young couple are briefly reunited. Their brief encounter forces them to confront unresolved issues and shows that humour can be found in the most unlikely places. A housing project in Reunion Island seems like an equally unlikely place to find a goat but that is exactly where a young boy embarks upon the hilarious feat of saving a goat from slaughter on the eve of Aid -El-Kebir. The antics of the children in Scapegoat are remarkable and the amusing escapades delightful. Equally amusing is the comedy about an unqualified astronaut embarking upon a mission to Mars. Major Tom Collins deliberates on the potential of heading into space with an untrained novice in Astronots.

“Whether it’s the fantastical notion of a mother transforming into a bird, or the gritty reality of life on the street for a group of young boys in Benin, the short films colour in shades of reality from the deepest of black to the lightest of grey. These small vignettes of humanity create a varied kaleidoscope of individual human frailties, joys, and grief to create a satisfying canvas of humanity”, Andrea Voges, the DIFF Programme Head.

The following is a full list of the short films that will be presented at the festival:

A THOUSAND ODD DAYS by Riley Blakeway (Australia)

ASTRONOTS by Andrew John James Seaton (Australia)

BANDIDO by Mohamad Elhadidi (Egypt)

BURUL by Adilet Karzhoev (Kyrgyzstan)

DÈJÀ NU by Rolf Hellat (Côte d’Ivoire)

DREAMS LIKE PAPER BOATS by Samuel Suffren (Haiti)

IRAN IS A WOMAN’S NAME by Golara Khalilinejad (Portugal)

JUVENILE by Miguel Lambert (Canada)

KEBA, INTERRUPTED by Meja Shoba (South Africa)

MAMELODI – A TIMELINE OF HEROES by Lebo Magolego (South Africa)

MARIE by Mark Penwill (South Africa)

METALLIC TASTE by Ivan Krupenikov (Poland)

MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE by Kobus du Plessis (South Africa)

MOTHERS & MONSTERS by Edith Jorisch (Canada)

NOCTURNAL BURGER by Reema Maya (India, USA)

ON YOUR OWN by Daniel Omokhagbo Itegboje (Nigeria)

PRIMETIME MOTHER by Sonny Calvento (Philippines)

RETURN TO HAIRY HILL by Daniel Gies (Canada)

RETURN TO YOUTH by Mel Sangyi Zhao

SCAPEGOAT by Nicolas Séry (Réunion)

TAKE A SEAT by Stephen James Rheeder (South Africa)

THE ENVOY OF GOD by Amina A. Mamani (Niger)

THE VOICE OF OTHERS by Fatima Kaci (France)

THE WAIT by Imran Hamdulay (South Africa)

TOMORROW by Aryasb Feiz (Iran, Islamic Republic of)


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