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Doccies at DIFF

Of the forty-three documentaries in this year's DIFF, twenty-one are from or in co-production with South Africa , and eight are from or in co-production with African countries.

Politics and history feature prominently. Iseta - Beyond the Roadblock covers the return to Rwanda of the filmmaker who shot the only known footage of killings during the Rwanda genocide, remarkable considering that over a million people were murdered. Zola Maseko explores ancient African civilization in The Manuscripts of Timbuktu, while the resurgence of tribalism in contemporary South Africa is dissected by Ntokozo Mahlalela in Tribes and Clans . The story of South African artistic icon Dumile Feni comes to life in the world premiere of Ramadan Suleman's Zwelidumile . Zarina Maharaj uncovers the story of Flat 13 , an apartment in downtown Johannesburg , which belonged to Ahmed Kathrada, and became a non-racial social and political centre from the 40s to the 60s.

DIFF presents the world premiere of South Africa 's Craig and Damon Foster's Ice Man , about Lewis Pugh who swims the world's polar regions to highlight the impending climate catastrophe. The film forms a Foster brothers' double header with their Nature of Life and is also part of a number of ecologically-themed films. Poison Fire explores the fight for rights and compensation from polluting oil companies in the Niger Delta. Shannon Walsh's H2Oil shows how the world's largest oil development is destroying vast water sources in North America . Saving Luna tells the amazing and heartwarming story of a young Orca whale who befriends humans and stirs up debate about the boundaries that separate nature and humans.

The Hawk Takes One Chick , features cinematography by 2008 DIFF documentary winner Karin Slater while mercurial KZN social workers and abused children feature in Kim Longinotto's deeply moving Sundance-winning Rough Aunties .

Sports-themed documentaries include James Toback's candid Tyson ; the idiosyncratic and utterly revealing Maradona by Kusturica, and South Africa 's own Mr. Universe in the world premiere of Reg Park: The Legend, directed by Richard Nosworthy .

Lloyd Ross's world premiere of Silver Fez has music as a cohesive community force amidst intense rivalry between groups on the Cape Flats . Other music docs include Roger Lucey's Aria Del Africa , an inspiring look at how opera is being taken up by black South African youth; Youssou N'dour: I Bring What I Love , about the controversy stirred up by N'dour's overtly religious album Egypt, and Intangible Asset No. 82 which follows an Australian jazz musician in search of a shamanic Korean master musician.

Jean-Marie Teno's Sacred Places and Francois Verster's Sea Point Days are both poetic and personal reflections while Sundance favourite Nollywood Babylon is a fast-paced and exciting look at Nigerian cinema. The September Issue is a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the fashion industry by way of Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue magazine and the inspiration behind the film, The Devil Wears Prada . The prank-filled The Yes Men Fix the World tackles corporate greed and hypocrisy with head-on humour.

DIFF also presents over 70 short films, which includes a stellar selection of South African productions from Akin Omotoso, Andy “The Admiral” Kasrils, the hot AFDA crop of graduates and other new and emerging filmmakers. The ever popular Wavescapes Surf Film Festival exhibits the culture of wave riding at its most expressive and creative. This year the programme features eleven surf films, including the premiere of the homegrown movie Perfect 10 , the story of 10 years of Red Bull Big Wave Africa. Make sure not to miss opening film Fly in the Champagne which will be projected on a giant screen at the Bay of Plenty Lawns on Sunday 26 July. The screening is free of charge.

Workshops and special events include the second Talent Campus Durban which brings together 40 young filmmakers from 21 African countries for an intensive five-day workshop programme. Public workshops include presentations from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) as well as a lineup of industry experts and film festival directors and producers, who present their expertise free to the public on panels to do with funding, pitching, distribution, production, scriptwriting. Another special event sees the National Department of Arts and Culture, Film, Video and Sound Archives presenting on panels and hosting a week-long exhibition on the history of South African film (at the Royal Hotel) and a discussion on the 100 th anniversary of Durban's first film theatre, the Electric Cinema.

See all film synopses, screening schedules and workshop programme at

Principal screening venues of the festival are the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre; Nu Metro Cinecentre - Suncoast; Ster Kinekor Junction – Musgrave; Cinema Nouveau - Gateway; Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu; and The Royal Hotel, with further screenings in township areas where cinemas are non-existent.

Programme booklets with the full screening schedule and synopses of all the films are available free at cinemas, Computicket, and other outlets. Call 031 2602506 or 031 2601650 for further details.

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