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Durban International Film Festival goes virtual


The yearly Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) will, for first time in its 41-year history, go virtual from September 10 to 20, 2020.

A prestigious film festival in South Africa, it is usually well attended and has emerged as a unique event in the continent’s culture calendar. The organisers have promised that this edition will be memorable. Already, 50 films have been selected for screening.

The international nature of the festival will be balanced with a high dose of the best of African cinema. Also, homebound film fans will be treated to screening cutting-edge films from around the world, with a particular focus on South African and African films.


DIFF is one of the premier platforms for the launch of African films. It has a competition for feature films, documentaries and short films. The festival is committed to quality programming and it’s showcasing some of the best flicks 2020 has on offer. In addition to the film screening, the festival aims to include innovative ways of connecting with filmmakers and audiences online.

Also, the yearly awards will resume as normal. The festival will offer an industry programme with seminars and workshops comprising both local and international filmmakers and industry professionals, with the Isiphethu running from September 14 to 18 September 2020. Isiphethu Hub remains an exciting space for the local audiences and people can expect a series of workshops, schools programme, and exchange of ideas by experts from across the world that will be part of the DIFF this year.

Sakhile Gumede, the project coordinator for Isiphethu, said, “Isiphethu is a melting pot as well as a hub geared towards the exchange of ideas and uplifting emerging and aspirant film-makers across the province of KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as a whole. We are excited about this year’s programme despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Gumede stated that festival is saddened not to be able to put on the physical event but be assured that the team was incredibly excited to be working on their virtual edition. “The team has decided to adapt to new realities and partner with Festival Scope in partnership with Shift 72 to facilitate the screenings. The festival looks forward to hosting yet another successful edition and present as much of a full festival experience as they can offer,” Gumede said.

Also, Head of programming for DIFF, said, “of course, we all want to get back into the cinema, but since we are not able to, we need to adapt to this new virtual world swiftly.” The festival is organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, together with US Consulate, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission and other valued partners.


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