South African Focus
The ever-expanding African film industry will once more be represented at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) 2014 although South African film retains the festival’s key focus, with 40 feature-length films and 38 short films – most of them receiving their world premieres on Durban screens, and collectively representing by far the largest number of South African films in the festival’s 35 year history.
This year’s opening night film on July 17 see the world premiere of Hard To Get, the electrifying feature debut from South African filmmaker Zee Ntuli, who has already received critical acclaim for his short films. The story of the mercurial relationship between a handsome young womaniser and a beautiful, reckless petty criminal, Hard To Get is fuelled by a bewitching visual poetry. Other high-profile South African films being showcased include the engaging thriller Cold Harbour, Between Friends, which recounts a reunion between old varsity friends, Hear Me Move, a locally flavoured dance movie, and Love the One You Love, which explores a constellation of relationships between young South Africans.
Then there’s the Tyler Perry-flavoured Two Choices, as well as The Two of Us, which tells of a relationship between two siblings. Icehorse is a surreal mystery drama set in the Netherlands and directed by South African Elan Gamaker.Young Ones is a dystopian down-beat sci-fi flick directed by Jake Paltrow, produced by Spier Films and shot in South Africa, while the French/South African co-production Zulu explores the unhealed wounds of the new South Africa. DIFF is very proud to present the 1978 film Joe Bullet, the first work to benefit from the Gravel Road legacy project, which aims to restore films lost in the dusty archives of apartheid.
This year’s programme also features an expanded South African documentary programme in response to the large number of high quality doccies currently being produced in the country. DIFF 2014 includes a rich slate of films which explore and interrogate 20 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa, including Khalo Matabane’s Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me, and Miners Shot Down, Rehad Desai’s devastating account of Marikana. They are joined by many other films that chronicle lesser known but no less significant stories behind the end of apartheid and the rebirth of South Africa into a new country.