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30 th Durban International Film Festival attendance soaring

Attendance increased significantly at the 30 th edition of the Durban International Film Festival, reports Peter Rorvik, Director of the festival and the Centre for Creative Arts.

“Attendance figures were up this year with over 22, 471 at the 280 festival film screenings, representing almost 5,500 more than in 2008, despite there being 26 less screenings this year. Workshop and seminar attendances were also up with 1650 film enthusiasts attending 38 seminars and workshops, indicating a great level of interest in the creative and technical processes of filmmaking. Separately, aspirants from community organisations participated in the AV UKZN video production workshop for first-timers, while Mtuthuzeli Matshoba ran a programme for scriptwriting in indigenous languages. Talent Campus, a cooperation project with the Berlinale Film Festival, hosted 38 young filmmakers from 20 different African countries in a five-day workshop programme themed Roots and Shoots: Creating a new African Cinema .”
The newly appointed Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms Lulu Xingwana visited the festival and commented “The Durban International Film Festival has through the years become South Africa 's leading exhibition platform for local and international productions. It has demonstrated excellence in audience development programmes and contribution to the training and development of filmmakers", adding that she was “glad to see the NFVF, IDC, the Provincial and local government all pulling together to deliver an excellent festival."
The Minister viewed Izulu Lami ( My Secret Sky ) which was the official opening film for the festival and Shirley Adams , which scooped a number of awards at the festival closing. The strong concentration of South African content comprised 9 feature films, 23 documentaries, and 44 short films.
Festival Manager, Nashen Moodley said: “Higher attendance, a great group of filmmakers, including many new talents, excellent audience interaction and workshops, and deals made in the background … we're really happy with the way the festival went, and look forward to an even better year in 2010. We're grateful to our funders, the visiting filmmakers, and the Durban audience for making it happen.”
At a closing night ceremony on August 1, the Best Feature Film award went to No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti (Taiwan), directed by Leon Dai. The Best South African Feature Film was awarded to Shirley Adams , directed by first-time filmmaker Oliver Hermanus. His film also scooped the award for The Best First Feature Film and Best Actress award for Denise Newman.
The Best Director Award went to Philippe Lioret for Welcome ( France ). Intangible Asset No 82 (Australia/Japan) by Emma Franz, was awarded Best Documentary and the Best South African Documentary was awarded to The Silver Fez , directed by Lloyd Ross.
The Short Film Jury awarded Best Short Film to A Better Life (Spain), directed by Luis Fernandez Reneo and The Best South African Short Film was awarded to Coming Home , directed by Bobby Heaney.
Firat Ayverdi won best actor for his role in Welcome (France) , Ole Bratt Birkeland won Best Cinematography for Helen (UK/Ireland), Best Screenplay went to Ruwanthie De Chickera and Uberto Pasolini for Machan (Germany/Italy/Sri Lanka).
Special jury mentions were made of the child actors of My Secret Sky ( Izulu Lami ) (South Africa), directed by Madoda Mcayiyana, Sea Point Days (South Africa), directed by Francois Verster , Nollywood Babylon (Canada), directed by Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal as well as Miss Sgodiphola (South Africa), directed by Andy “The Admiral” Kasrils
The Wavescapes Surf Film Festival Audience Award went to Surfica Musica ( Australia ), directed by Mick Sowry..
The Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award went to Rough Aunties (United Kingdom/South Africa), directed by Kim Longinotto
The DIFF has also announced that Saving Luna ( Canada ), directed by Suzanne Chisholm and Michael Parfit won the Audience Choice Best Film Award.
Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) the principal funders of the 30th Durban International Film Festival are: the National Film and Video Foundation, Stichting Doen, HIVOS, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, German Embassy, Goethe Institute of South Africa, City of Durban, Industrial Development Corporation, with support from East Coast Radio, Durban Film Office, French Embassy of South Africa and other valued sponsors and partners.
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