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Durban International Film Festival


This longest-running S.A. festival has +-300 films from +- 30 countries. Highlights: African & International film; workshops with directors, etc. Competition! It has screenings in areas where cinemas are non-existent. A high-profile screen


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No "Shepherds and butchers" in Durban

Producer, Anant Singh and director, Oliver Schmitz announced with great disappointment, the withdrawal of their film SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS from the Durban International Film Festival.

Speaking from Berlin, Oliver Schmitz said, “It is with great regret that I support the withdrawal of SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS from the Durban International Film Festival. I had high hopes of premiering SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS in Durban. It has been the most respected South African festival for me for years, and it was with pride and joy that I looked forward to showcasing our achievement specifically in the festival.”

Schmitz added, “Films like these are a labour of love and made with intense commitment and sacrifice by many people over many years. I would expect a festival, especially when it has promised a gala event around the film, to cherish it as much as we do. I do not feel this is the case with the screening slot offered.”

Anant Singh who has long been a supporter of the Festival stated, “Through the early controversy around the selection of the film, we elected to support the Festival’s newly appointed leadership and their independence in the selection process, in the interests of the industry and festival delegates, and having the festival audience see SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS.  Even though we were initially offered the opening night slot, we accepted a screening last week, for the film to premiere on Friday, 17 June and we requested that the film be scheduled between 19h00 and 20h00 as it would be an optimum time for festival goers and other guests to be able to attend.” 

Singh continued, “We were most surprised to receive a unilateral notification yesterday that the film has been rescheduled for 18h00. We immediately informed the festival that the timing was unsuitable for many reasons, including the accessibility of the city centre location of The Playhouse by guests at that hour.  As such, we requested that the screening be scheduled not earlier than 18h45, however, we were advised that this was not possible and the timing presented to us was a fait accompli.  We believe that at the centre of the issue is the scheduling of two gala screenings on the same night, which is a deviation from the norm of having only one gala per night. Most concerning for us, is the fact that the second screening was never disclosed to us. In our experience, over the last 30 years, with festivals around the world including Cannes, Toronto, London, Venice, Sundance and other major international festivals, the accepted norm is that scheduling is always discussed between the festival and the producer (or distributor), and jointly agreed to, rather than the festival making a unilateral decision.  We find this high handed approach disrespectful and insulting to all those who have worked so hard over the past 10 years to make this film a reality, and we have therefore decided to withdraw the film.”

In conclusion Singh said, “It is unfortunate that SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS which has its roots in Durban –  based on the book written by Durban advocate, Chris Marnewick and produced by Videovision Entertainment, a proudly Durban based film company – will not have its South African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival.  For us it is distressing that the festival we have supported and helped grow over the past decades has acted in such an autocratic manner.”

 

(Danie Jacobs for filmfestivals.com)

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About Durban International Film Festival


This longest-running S.A. festival has +-300 films from +- 30 countries. Highlights: African & International film; workshops with directors, etc. Competition! It has screenings in areas where cinemas are non-existent. A high-profile screening platform.

Durban, South Africa

South Africa



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