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SOUTH AFRICAN SHOWCASE AT DIFF (article first published : 2003-10-20)

The 24th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) runs from October 13 to 26. Alongside a selection of the finest cinema from around the world the festival showcases the foremost of South African film. Apart from the local content in the opening films, the festival will present Durban-based Rob de Mezieresí mockumentaryShooting Bokkie, now extended into a high-paced feature about young assassins in Cape Flat gangs. Another KZN product, screened at last yearís festival but back after winning an award at Cannes is The Sky In Her Eyes directed by Madoda Nciyiyana.

Not previously exhibited in Durban are the excellent short films Ubuntuís Wounds by Sechaba Morojele and Waiting For Valdez by Dumisani Phakathi, two of South Africaís most talented new-generation directors. International award-winner Ubuntuís Wounds is an intense drama about a former South African exile who comes across the cop who killed his wife and was given amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and deals with his obsession to exact revenge. This film looks at the effectiveness of the TRC but also questions whether real forgiveness is possible in response to truly inhuman acts. Waiting For Valdez looks into a young boy's world, the neighbourhood characters, his friends and tormentors at school, his life with his granny in Eldorado Park, and his burning ambition to see the latest movie coming to town Valdez is Coming.

Both Morojele and Phakathi will contribute to the workshop programmes during the festival, as will Portia Rankoane (Awakening of the Lakes, Red Ribbon Around My House), Mandilakhe Mjekula and Jahmil XT Qubeka the promising filmmakers behind Qula Kwedeni, Derek Serra (Culture Clash), and Olmega Mthiyane (Body Beautiful). Ingrid Gavshon will introduce two of her works; Facing Death, Facing Life about the consequences of the last minute reprieve for members of the Sharpeville Six, and Mandela- A Righteous Man.

Maureen Mazibuko will represent many of the disgruntled voices unhappy with TRC outcomes in the film We Never Give Up. Also participating are the experienced team of Abdulkadir Ahmed Said (Somalia) and Bridget Thompson Ė the festival will present three films from their Rhythms from Africa series; Johannesburg: Gold, Tears and Music; Cape Town: Our Language, Our Music, Our City?; and Zanzibar: Taraab, An Ocean Of Melodies. Roger Lucey will give a musical performance following Stopping The Musi which documents how the Security Branch put a clamp on his protest-singing during the 70ís and 80ís.

Another music film Casa De la Musica, with director Jonothan de Vries in attendance, tracks the musical adventures of legendary Cape saxophonist Robbie Jansen in Cuba. Jansen will perform with the eThekwini Jazz Ensemble at the eThekwini Film Awards and Closing Night Party.

Other South African films include the provocative Four Rent Boys and a Sangoma, When the War is Over, Black Sushi, Skitterwit, Under The Rainbow, My Name is Jacob, Tonite, and Willie and the Koeksisters.

The international line-up boasts an impressive selection of top feature films and documentaries from 29 countries. The range of international festival participants includes Director in Focus Buddhadeb Dasgupta (India) with two films from his prolific filmmaking career, his surreal masterpiece The Wrestlers, and his most recent work The Tale Of A Naughty Girl.

Amongst other special guest is Booker Prize-winning Arundhati Roy whose world-renowned writings challenge the forces of corporate globalisation and injustice with incisive clarity. Roy has been a front-line critic of the dam-building industry in India, the subject of two riveting documentaries which screen during this festival.

The Durban International Film Festival is supported by the National Film and Video Foundation, the National Lottery Distribution Fund, Hivos, Ethekwini Municipality, City of Durban, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, plus a range of Embassies and Cultural Agencies. Tickets are available through Computicket. The full selection of films and activities is available on www.und.ac.za/und/carts/

Festival Enquiries can be addressed to tel. 031 26 02506 or 260 1367; or email diff@nu.ac.za




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