All the best of 2013 film fest

2013-07-29 00:00

THE Japanese film The Land of Hope (Kibô No Kuni) was named best feature film at this year’s Durban International Film Festival (Diff) at Suncoast CineCentre on Saturday night.

Directed by Sion Sono, the film tells the story of neighbours in a fictional Nagashima prefecture in Japan, whose routine lives are shattered by a nuclear meltdown, triggered by an earthquake.

The film was inspired by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, caused when Japan was hit by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

The international jury — which comprised Egyptian curator and festival programmer Sherif Awad, renowned festival programmer Paolo Bertolin, South African filmmaker Sarah Blecher, film curator June Givanni and South African actress Hlubi Mboya — commended Sono for a film that “masterfully and humbly draws together an array of cinematic means of expression to engage us in a story”.

The director received a cash prize of R50 000.

The best South African feature film was Andrew Worsdale’s Durban Poison, which is inspired by the true story of Charmaine Phillips and Piet Grundligh, two lovers whose passionate affair self-destructed in an orgy of violence.

Worsdale, whose UCLA graduate thesis film, Shot Down, was banned in South Africa 27 years ago, received a cash prize of R30 000.

The international jury also made a point of speaking about Jahmil XT Qubeka’s Of Good Report, the festival’s opening night film that was banned by the Film and Publications Board on the grounds that it depicted child pornography.

Jury member Givanni said she and her colleagues had been saddened not to have the chance to consider the film for competition.

“As a jury, we were privileged to be taken on a global journey through cinema, and we would like to thank Peter Machen and the film festival programmers for this great honour,” Givanni said.

“However, we have to express our regret that this journey could not include the South African competition entry Of Good Report, which the Film and Publication Board did not license for public screening in time for us to take it into consideration.

“The jury is saddened and concerned about the limitations to freedom of expression that are still in force on the continent and beyond.”

Givanni was, however, pleased to note that the decision to ban the film had been over-turned on appeal. Of Good Report was given a rating of 16 on Saturday and was finally screened at Suncoast yesterday afternoon.

To honour the film for helping to stimulate debate and highlight important issues in South Africa, festival director Machen presented Of Good Report ’s director Qubeka with the inaugural award for artistic bravery.

Following the awards ceremony, film fans watched the documentary, Free Angela — And All Political Prisoners, a chronicle of the life of activist-academic Professor Angela Davis.

• arts@witness.co.za

Photo: supplied

A scene from The Land of Hope (Kibô No Kuni), directed by Sion Sono, was named the Best Feature film at this year’s Diff.

Photo: supplied

Brandon Auret and Cara Roberts star in 'Durban Poison', which was named best South African feature film.

Photo: supplied

Recipient of the first ever DIFF award for artistic bravery was Jahmil XT Qubeka(left) for his film ‘Of Good Report’. With him is one of the stars of the film, Mothusi Magano.

Photo: supplied

Mothusi Magano and Petronella Tshuma in a scene from 'Of Good Report'.

Photo: supplied

The best documentary film at this year's DIFF was 'Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story', directed by Brad Bernstein.

Photo: supplied

‘Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer’, directed by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, was the recipient of the Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award. It was also the audience choice for best documentary at the festival.

Photo: supplied

A scene from 'Felix', which was named was the audience pick for best film at this year's DIFF.

DIFF:‘Land of Hope (Kibô No Kuni)’ awarded Best Feature All the best of 2013 film fest

THE FULL LIST OF DIFF

2013 WINNERS

• Best short film — Mercy (directed by Eliza Subotowicz);

• Best South African short film — The Brave Unseen (directed by Duan Myburgh);

• Best documentary film — Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (directed by Brad Bernstein);

• Special mention: best documentary film — I Am Breathing (directed by Emma Davie and Morag McKinonn);

• Best South African documentary film — Angel’s In Exile (directed by Billy Raftery);

• Special mention: best South African documentary film — Orania (directed by Tobias Lindner);

• Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award — Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer (directed by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin);

• Audience choice best film — Felix (directed by Roberta Durrant).

• Audience choice best documentary — Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer (directed by Lerner and Pozdorovkin);

• Audience choice best Wavescapes film — Stand (directed Anthony Bonello and Nicolas Teichrob);

• Audience choice best WildTalk film — 2 Wings Many Prayers (directed by Lloyd Ross);

• Best feature film — The Land of Hope (directed by Sion Sono);

• Best first feature film — Wadjda (directed by Al-Mansour Haifaa);

• Best South African feature film — Durban Poison (directed by Andrew Worsdale)

• Best direction — Xavier Dolan for Laurence Anyways;

• Best cinematography — Matías Penachino for Halley;

• Best screenplay — Asghar Fahradi for The Past;

• Best actor — David and Eitan Cunio for Youth;

• Best actress — Paulina Garcia for Gloria and Suzanne Clément for Laurence Anyways;

• Durban International Film Festival Award for artistic bravery — Jamil XT Qubeka.

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