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Cape Town to Pyongyang - reporting from Durban DIFF

Only at a film festival can you experience the underworlds of Cape Town and Bangkok and the beauty of North Korea. Tourist brochures paint a very different picture. My last day at Diff started with a doccie about the Nice Time Kids, a gang on the Cape Flats. The Devil's Lair takes viewers into the home of one of the gang leaders where death can come at any moment and his wife also lives with this reality. There are no more screenings at DIFF. Ryan Gosling can be seen in Only God Forgive...

Attack of the deranged vaginas

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How did Pussy Riot - A punk prayer escape the wrath of the SA morality police? As a member of Brics, Russia is a friend and the film is everything they don't like - offensive, deranged, undesirable and shocking. Luckily they did not apply the chop as its one of the best examples of filmmaking I've ever seen and everybody should see it.. The doccie had its African premiere on Monday - on the same day new draconian anti-gay laws and an anti-blasphemy law, aptly called the Pussy Riot law, came in...

Durban poisoned

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Lovers of weed will know that Durban poison is a prime example of marijuana. It is also the most destructive. This year's DIFF was poisoned by the banning of the opening film and cancellation of yet another film yesterday not approved by the morality police. The screening of Michael Winterbottom's The Look of Love about British porn baron Paul Raymond was cancelled and its remaining screening on 28 July is in doubt. According to the organisers, The Look of Love wasn't banned, they only cou...

The sex issue

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One of the themes at this year's DIFF is sexual identities and it certainly has stirred up a lot of interest. The day  will be remembered for two reasons: seeing three sex films (sexual identities sounds too sterile) and the technical problems at Musgrave Centre with films getting cancelled and the festival's reputation on the line. The day had the feeling of a G&L filmfest as I saw I am Divine and Interior. Leather Bar, James Franco's weird but ste...

The heat is on

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I don't know what's more uncomfortable - the balmy 30 Celsius in winter and uncertainty after the banning of the opening film at DIFF. The organisers will appeal the banning at the Constitutional Court, but I can't stop myself from thinking what's next. I attended two screenings on Day 2. In previous years I had never thought of interference from anybody in the choice of films screened , and now I can't help thinking that almost 90% of the...

Mary Elizabeth Winstead Will Receive Dallas Shining Star Award at DIFF on April 12

  2013 Dallas International Film Festival Presented by AutoNation Volkswagen Dealers   Announces Mary Elizabeth Winstead Recipient of Dallas Shining Star Award   Award to be presented at Dallas Film Society Honors Awards April 12   Dallas, TX, April 2, 2013 – The Dallas International Film Festival presented by AutoNation Volkswagen Dealers announced today that actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead will accept the Dallas Shining Star Award ...

In a Unique Twist, DIFF Will Screen Five Different Films on Opening Night

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  2013 Dallas International Film Festival Presented by AutoNation Volkswagen Dealers Presents the Opening Night      ●      WHEN:  Thursday, April 4th, 2013   ●      WHERE:  LOOK Cinema - 5495 Belt Line Road, Dallas, Texas 75254     8 1/2:              In this classic by Italian Director, Federico F...

Amour wins big in Durban

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Award-winners announced at Durban International Film Festival The 33rd edition of the Durban International Film Festival, with principal funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund,  this evening (Saturday, July 28) announced its award-winners, prior to the closing film. Winner of the Best Feature Film award, Love (Amour) was applauded by the International Jury as “unmissable”, and the film’s director Michael Haneke, as a “contemporary master with an astute under...

Hot docs at Diff

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My fifth and last day at the cinematic wonderland that is DIFF consisted of three documentaries. The films are very diverse - two were made by Western filmmakers and the third one is by an Iranian who was stopped from filming his latest film and this doccie was smuggled out of Iran on a flash drive hidden in a cake! I kicked off my day with Semisweet: Life in chocolate that focuses on 4 different stories about chocolate - the top chocolatier in France, a spiritual couple's chocolates fro...

From Palestine to Africa

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Day 4 and it had two distinct themes - the Palestinian/Israeli issue and Africa in all its glory. Things sometime happen to me that seem too coincidental. I was traveling by Peoplemover to see two films about Palestine and then suddenly noticed the Durban Holocaust Centre. I've been trying to find it for years and then it just pops up. Maybe it was a sign... 5 Broken Cameras is an intensely personal documentary made by a resident of Bil'in called Emad Burnat , who started filming his life, t...

A whole new world at DIFF

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Film allows you to see the world without leaving your seat. My third day at DIFF took me from Lisbon to a farm in Africa, the Deep South, the Philippines and Paris. Dark clouds rolled into Durban yesterday, but the sun always shines at the movies (thank you A-Ha). My first film was the wonderful black and white Portuguese film, Tabu. The competition film is filled with nostalgia. It is set in modern-day Lisbon and in 1930s colonial Africa. It is a wonderful love story remi...

The good, the bad and the ugly

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Day 2 of DIFF was a day of extremes. It was wonderful to see all the film fans studying their guides - some of the guides visibly well-read. I watched three films today and they are very diverse. Chicken with plums (Poulet aux prunes) premiered at Venice. It is a beautiful love story of a musician, played by Mathieu Amalric of The Diving Belle and the butterfly fame, who can't get over the loss of his violin and he decides to rather die. It sounds like a depressing film but it is in...

Hallo Durban

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My annual pilgrimage to the Durban International Film Festival kicked off on 20 July. I went straight to the media briefing at the Blue Waters Hotel where I chatted to Oliver Hermanus and Deon Lotz, director and star of last year's Beauty. This year Hermanus is part of the international jury and Lotz can be seen in the much anticipated Sleeper's Wake, which is having its world premiere in Durban. Lotz also told me that the film has been accepted for Toronto! I saw two film...

Attention filmmakers/critics from Africa

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  Talent Campus Durban Calls for Filmmakers and Film Critics   Superimposing an African imagination on filmmaking processes, the 5th Talent Campus Durban (20-24 July) will ignite the creativity of 40 selected filmmakers from Africa in a series of masterclasses, workshops and industry networking opportunities during the Durban International Film Festival.  Talent Campus Durban entices filmmakers to enhance skills, develop collaborations and interface with the dynamic future...

ATTENDANCE UP AT DURBAN

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The Durban International Film Festival has announced a significant increase in attendance for its 32nd edition which concluded on 31 July. The festival which is supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), National Film and Video Foundation, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism and other valued funders and partners, recorded total attendance of 29 792 including attendance of 2 452 at the festival’s workshop and seminar programme. T...

All we need is love

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27 July: Day 3 As it is still raining in KZN, it's perfect movie weather! The two films on my plate today have the same theme, love, although they are as different as night and day. These two films will not be money spinners, although Tom Tykwer's Drei (Three) could get some bums on seats. Snowflower and the secret fan will only appeal to a small audience, although it is a beautifully made, tender film with heart. Both films were bought by big studios, Fox Searchlight and Warner, bu...

Durban Fest: From Nigeria to Iran

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Durban, 26 July: Day 2 The miserable weather is busy getting the better of me as I spent most of the day in bed. As I am in Durban for the film festival at great expense, I dragged myself out of bed for the night's delights. I planned to see Dog Sweat at 22:00, but decided to rather skip that. The two films that were shown tonight are both in competition and both are good - one is exceptional, in fact. It's good to see young African directors at the festival and Andrew Dosunmu...

It's raining films in Durban

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25 July: Day 1 The Weather Girls sing about it's raining men. In Durban it's raining wonderful films and the weather is miserable too in what is normally a balmy sub-tropical city. I have been planning my viewing schedule since the programme was released a month ago and it constantly changed as there is so much to see and the films are so varied and the must-see ones clash. I try to include the big festival winners - and they are all in Durban. I left the schedule 80% percent comp...

Paul Watson in Durban

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Paul Watson at Durban International Film Festival Time Magazine called him one of the 20 environmental heroes of the 20th century.  The Guardian mentioned him as one of 50 people who could save the planet. These are some of the numerous accolades bestowed on Paul Watson which also include honorary citizenships, environmental, animal rights and human rights awards.He has also been denied visas, banned in certain places, and arrested on numerous occasions for his provocative activism....

Film gems in Durban

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Great Line-up at the 32nd Durban International Film Festival   The 32nd Durban International Film Festival kicks off on 21 July with the World Premiere of the South African film Otelo Burning, directed by Sara Blecher.  Set during the last days of apartheid, the Durban-shot film tells the story of a group of South African township youngsters who discover surfing as an empowering escape from the political violence of the times. There is drama, romance, rivalry, and tragedy in this c...

DIFF

Closing Night ceremony DIFF 2010

Panel on Distribution today, DIFF

director Peter Weir, distributor Hala Sarhan and sales agent Michael Werner discuss future of film distribution at DIFF 2010.

Cinema to cinema

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Day 4 took me around the world and from cinema complex to cinema complex. I have never been in taxis so musch as today! I travelled to Slovenia, Switzerland, France, England and Georgia all in one day and thankfully all on screen. The quality of the films varied today. The day kicked off with the life of a prostitute in Slovenian Girl, followed to the very colourful world of Pepperminta and the bond she has with menstrual blood, than went to France for Wild Grass and one of the weirdest love a...

The human element

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Day 3 of my Durban trip kicked off with a fire! As I walked out of my apartment block, I thought it was raining, just to see firemen, firetrucks, lots of bystanders and police as the building across the road was on fire. The journalist in me found it hard to just walk away, but I did just that although I couldn't resist to take some pictures. Everywhere I went during the day, I was asked whether I'm going to the Durban July on Saturday. The July is one of the world's top horse racing events. M...

Durban in full swing

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I have arrived yesterday 28 July and what a day it was! Flying in from Johannesburg was memorable as I saw two South African singing sensations making out at the drop-off. They can be compared to Bollywood stars as they have just starred in a local film together called Jakhalsdans where they fell in love on the set! It was something to behold to see thse two kissing as they would have been arrested in places like Dubai. The flight down - just under 50 mins - was routine and then Durban hit me...

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