For the first time in its 41-year history, Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) will go virtual from 10 to 20 September 2020. This prestigious South African international film festival is a unique phenomenon on the African cultural calendar and also promises to be in its virtual version. The festival will screen over 50 selected films, and the international nature of the festival is balances with a highlighted component of the finest of African cinema.
Home-bound film fans will be treated to screening cutting-edge films from around the world, with particular focus on South African and African films, DIFF is one of the premier platforms for the launch of African films. It has a competition for fiction feature films, documentaries and short films. The festival is committed to quality programming and is profiling and showcasing some of the best 2020 has on offer.
In addition to film screenings, the festival aims to include innovate ways of connecting with filmmakers and audiences online. Also, the yearly awards will resume as normal. The festival will offer an industry programme with seminars and workshops comprised of both local and international filmmakers and industry professionals, with the Isiphethu running from 14 to 18 September 2020. Isiphethu Hub remains an exciting space for the local audiences and people can expect a series of workshops, schools programme, and exchange of ideas by experts from across the world who will be part of the DIFF this year. “Isiphethu is a melting pot as well as a hub geared towards the exchange of ideas and uplifting emerging and aspirant film-makers across the province of KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as a whole. We are excited about this year’s programme despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” comments Sakhile Gumede, Project Coordinator for Isiphethu.
The festival is saddened not to be able to put on their physical event, but also incredibly excited to be working on their virtual edition. The team has decided to adapt to new realities and partner with Festival Scope in partnership with Shift 72 to facilitate the screenings. The festival looks forward to hosting yet another successful edition and present as much of a full festival experience as they can offer.
“Of course, we all want to get back into the cinema, but since we are not able to, we need to adapt to this new virtual world swiftly. All creative industries are finding innovative ways to connect with their audiences, so we believe film festivals must also adapt,” says Chipo Zhou, head of programming.
The festival is organized by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, together with US Consulate, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission and other valued partners.