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WAVESCAPES SURF FILMS AT DIFF (article first published : 2008-07-19)

Cinema in all its diversity will once again be celebrated at the 29th Durban International Film Festival which runs from July 23 to August 3.

Featuring more than 200 films from more than 95 countries, spread over more than 300 screenings at 26 venues across the city, the festival will bring together established masters of cinema and innovative new talents from around the world.

A unique collection of surfing films will premiere in South Africa at the 2008 edition of the Wavescapes Surf Film Festival in Durban. Part of the Durban International Film Festival, the festival opens with a special outdoor screening of the film High Water on July 27. Film director Wes Brown - his grandfather Bruce made the cult classic Endless Summer - is being flown out from California for the premiere and will hold a workshop for aspirant surfing filmmakers. Projected onto a large screen near the famous surf break Bay of Plenty, High Water chronicles the story of the North Shore in Hawaii, particularly the events that make up the Triple Crown of surfing. According to Steve Pike, director of Wavescapes, the film shows how surfers can "go from hero to zero, through the tube into the nirvanic after-life of clicking cameras, clips of cash, and a cameo on Baywatch".

Wavescapes, which runs from July 28 to August 1 at the Kwasuka Theatre, will also screen the South African documentary film Zulu Surf Riders. The film documents the story of Cyril and Meshack Mqadi, who hail from Umzumbe on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Apart from overcoming the rigours and rip tides of the sea, the youngsters had to overcome traditional taboos about the ocean. With minimum support, the Mqadi brothers bring self-realisation to interested youngsters in their community by teaching them to ride waves.

Two films about sharks are set to pique the interest of surfers. With the support of the Save our Seas Foundation, Wavescape has committed to educating surfers about the critical role sharks play in the ocean, screening the feature documentary Sharkwate and a South African-made short called Shark Angels.

Another premiere at Wavescapes is the artistic surf documentary Thread, featuring the sand art of Jim Denevan, who uses beaches at low tide as giant canvasses for vast patterns the size of a cricket oval. There is a gritty documentary about surfing in the Vietnam War called Between the Lines and Sea Fever, a lyrical film about surfing in Ireland, including the giant waves of Aileens (Aill n Searrach).

"One of my favourites is Sliding Liberia, a beautifully made film about surfing in war-torn Liberia. It adds gravitas to our line-up, which is rich and varied this year. Surfing movies are no longer just wave after wave, with punk rock providing a monotonous sound track!" he said.

Visit www.wavescape.co.za or www.cca.ukzn.ac.za for more information on the films.

Principal screening venues of DIFF 2008 are Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre; Nu-Metro Cinecentre-Suncoast; Ster Kinekor Musgrave, Cinema Nouveau - Gateway; Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu; Kwasuka Theatre, and the BAT Centre, with further screenings in township areas where cinemas are non-existent, and a special programme of screenings at Luthuli Museum on the North Coast.

Programme booklets with the full screening schedule and synopses of all the films are available free at cinemas, Computicket, and other outlets. Full festival details can also be found on www.cca.ukzn.ac.za or by calling 031 260 2506 or 031 260 1650.




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