Durban International Film Festival announces 2021 winners and three new categories

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Ala Kachuu - Take and Run took home the Best Short Film Award. (Supplied)
Ala Kachuu - Take and Run took home the Best Short Film Award. (Supplied)
  • The Durban International Film Festival announced its award winners on 31 July 2021.
  • It took place shortly before the festival concluded a successful online offering. 
  • Held virtually on Facebook Live, the ceremony premiered three new awards. 


Taking place shortly after the festival concluded a successful online film festival, the Durban International Film Festival award ceremony celebrated took place on 31 July 2021. Before announcing the year’s winners, the festival celebrated hosting a significantly higher number of attendants. “It was very gratifying to view a large number of streams and also to see the huge enthusiasm from our South African audiences for the festival,” said the director of the Centre for Creative ArtsIsmail Mahomed. 

In championing democracy, human rights, creative education and access to the arts for all, this year saw the CCA introducing three new awards categories that according to Mahomed, would recognise “ filmmakers, organisations, and institutions who share in our commitment to engage the cinematic arts to grow, mature, and defend our democracy”. 

First on the list is the DIFF Promoting Access to Cinema Award which the mobile cinema project, Sunshine Cinema took home for their outstanding sustainable and free film screening in predominantly disadvantaged communities. 

Then, non-profit media company, STEPS received the inaugural Film in Education Award for producing over 100 educational documentaries.

Last on the list of new awards is the Human Rights Award that the festival awarded to filmmaker, Enver Samuels for creating documentaries that investigated and documented the killings of political leaders, Dulcie September and Ahmed Timol. 

With work that the jury described as an apt reminder “that sometimes less is more,” director Shin Xin’s masterful film, A Little Bird Reminds Me took home the highest accolade at the festival: the Best Feature Film for “having a light touch, beautiful cinematography, and a story that refreshingly unfolds.”

At home, the Best South African Feature film went to the Cape Town produced Sons of the Seas produced by John Guttierez: a film that the jury chose because it “poignantly displays the power of relationships for good and evil”.

Aside from the winners, the jury added special mentions for Lakushon’ Ilanga and TukTuk, as well as The World’s Best Orchestra, for its universal topic presented with an excellent sense of humour. 

The complete list of awards is as follows:

  • Best Actor: Seounggyun An - My Son
  • Best Actress: Tsholo Maseko - Pusha Pressa Phanda
  • Best Screenplay: My Son
  • Best Director: SHI Xin - A Little Bird Reminds Me
  • Best South African Feature Film: Sons of the Sea
  • Best Feature Film: A Little Bird Reminds Me
  • Artistic Bravery: Pusha Pressa Panda
  • Best South African Documentary: I Am Here
  • Best South African Documentary: Murder in Paris
  • Best Documentary: Downstream to Kinshasa
  • Best South African Short Film: Shaka Inkosi Yamakhosi
  • Best African Short Film: What Did You Dream?
  • Best Short Film: Ala Kachuu - Take and Run
  • Amnesty Durban Human Rights Award: I, Mary
  • DIFF Human Rights Award: Enver Samuels
  • DIFF Film In Education Award: STEPS
  • DIFF Access to Cinema Award: Sunshine Cinema
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