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FILMS VIE FOR TOP PRIZES AT DIFF (article first published : 2007-06-16)

To honour filmmakers who have invested their creative capacities into noteworthy cinematic works, the Durban International Film Festival, which takes place from June 20 to July 1, will once again present a range of awards to some of the films appearing at the festival.

Some 23 feature films will be presented In Competition and will compete for the main prizes awarded by the International Jury. The jury this year is made up of acclaimed Tunisian producer Dora Bouchoucha, Indian filmmaker Partho Sen-Gupta (himself a previous winner of the DIFF Best Film prize), award-winning Iranian actress and director Niki Karimi, Mozambican producer and film festival organiser Pedro Pimenta, and South African filmmaker, poet and photographer, Portia Rankoane.

This jury will award prizes in the following categories: Best Feature Film, Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best First Feature Film.

The films vying for the awards represent a broad spectrum, both geographically and stylistically. Africa is well represented in the Competition with African Paradise (Benin/France 2006), Bamako (France/Mali 2006), Ezra (France/Nigeria/Austria 2007), Juju Factory (Democratic Republic of Congo 2007), Kinshasa Palace (France/Democratic Republic of Congo 2006) and the South African entry Meisie (2007), which is also the Opening Film of the festival.

European representation is also strong with AFR (Denmark 2006), Armin (Croatia/Germany/Bosnia and Herzegovina 2007), The Black Pimpernel (Denmark/Mexico/Sweden 2006), Elvis Pelvis (UK/France 2007), Ghosts (UK 2006), Shelter (Italy 2007) and The Solution (Ireland 2006).

The Durban International Film Festival has over the past decade offered a rare opportunity for African audiences to experience Asian cinema and this year is no different with a strong selection of Asian films featuring in the Competition: Vanaja (India/USA 2006), Opera Jawa (Indonesia/Austria 2006), Still Life (Hong Kong/China 2006), Summer Heat (Philippines 2006), The Unforgiven (Korea 2005) and On The Wings Of Dreams (Bangladesh 2007).

The Competition is rounded off with Bog Of Beasts (Brazil 2007), The Bubble (Israel 2006), The Sensation Of Sight (USA 2006), and The Unpolished (Germany 2007), which is directed by South African-born Pia Marais.

The winners will be announced on Awards Night on June 30, and this will be followed by a screening of the much-anticipated Closing Film, Panís Labyrinth.

The award for Best Feature Film carries a cash award of R30,000, and Best First Feature Film R20,000. Further awards are adjudicated by separate juries in the following categories: Best Documentary, Best South African Documentary, Best Short Film, Best South African Short Film and Audience Choice Best Feature Film. The Best South African Feature Film receives a cash prize of R20,000.

Independent awards are the Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award, which is presented to a film that best reflects human rights issues, and carries a cash prize of 2000 euros, and the Big Fish School of Digital Film Short Film Newcomer Award which earns a newcomer in the short film category a professional filmmaking masterclass.

The Durban International Film Festival runs from June 20 to July 1 at a variety of theatres and venues across Durban. Programme booklets are available at participating cinemas. Contact the Centre for Creative Arts on 031 260 2506 or 260 1704 for further information.

The full programme is also available on www.cca.ukzn.ac.za

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) the Durban International Film Festival is funded by National Film & Video Foundation, National Lottery Distribution Fund, HIVOS, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Stichting Doen, and the City of Durban, with support from a range of valued partners.




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