Locally made film is set to wow audiences at festival

2014-06-26 00:00

SIXTEEN of the films competing for honours at this year’s Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) are from the African continent.

Speaking at the launch of the 35th edition of Africa’s leading film festival at the Centre for Creative Arts, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, yesterday, festival manager Peter Machen said this year’s event also boasts the biggest showcase of South African feature films, documentaries and short films.

“There are substantially more SA films than ever before,” he said. “That has a lot to do with the festival maturing and with the local film industry maturing … We can be very proud of the films coming out of SA. Our film-makers are known around the world for making challenging movies.”

Opening the festival will be the locally made Hard To Get, directed by Zee Ntuli, which tells the story of TK, a handsome young womaniser from a small community who falls for a sexy, reckless young thief named Skiets. Thrust into Jo’burg’s criminal underworld, TK soon realises that his best bet is to trust her and hang on for dear life.

Machen described Hard To Get as “an amazing film”, adding: “When I watched it, I was just so excited and I have little doubt that when the audience leaves the theatre on opening night they will be electrified.

“It is not only artistically brilliant, but it also has strong commercial possibilities. I deeply hope that it will crack the mainstream.”

Hard To Get opens nationwide on ­August 29.

This year’s DIFF, which runs from July 17 to July 27, will see 69 feature films, 60 documentaries, 57 short films and 19 surfing films screened around Durban.

Key focus areas include: films that focus on 20 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa, a snapshot of contemporary British film, wildlife films in Durban Wild Talk Africa, and films on gender and sexuality.

Film-goers can also see the second edition of “The Films That Made Me”, in which South African director, Khalo Matabane — whose documentary, Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me, is being shown at DIFF 2014 — will speak about the films that have inspired him.

Another highlight will be the screening of Joe Bullet, a film made in 1970 with an all-African cast. It had two screenings before being banned by the apartheid government.

Joe Bullet is being shown at the festival as part of the Gravel Road African Film Legacy project, which, said Machen, aimed “to make SA’s invisible cinema slowly visible”.

Among the most controversial films at this year’s event is Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, an ambitiously explicit sexual epic. But the organisers are hoping that there won’t be any problems from the Film and Publications Board.

Following the banning of Of Good Report last year and the subsequent appeal and overturning of the ban, changes were made to the legislation.

Instead of being allowed to stop a film being screened based on one or two scenes, the censors have to watch the entire film and view contentious scenes in the context of the movie. Only then can a decision be made.

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