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Film:Winners Emerge At Durban International Film Festival 2015



Hajooj Kuka with Artwatch Africa Award jury after Beats of the Antonov won the Award at DIFF 2015

THE Durban International Film Festival announced winners at the closing ceremony of the festival’s 36th edition at the Suncoast Cinecentre on July 26.

The awards were announced prior to the screening of the closing film, The Prophet directed by Roger Allers. The festival closed last Sunday after a successful 10-day, with 255 screenings at 13 venues around the City of Durban.

The international jury this year was led by former Manager of DIFF and current Director of Sydney Film Festival, Nashen Moodley and included award-winning South African filmmaker Robbie Thorpe, South African producer Moroba Nkawe and Nigerian filmmaker, Newton Aduaka.

The South African feature film jury consisted of filmmakers Lizelle Bischoff, Thandeka Zwana and Jenna Cato Bass while the documentary jurors were filmmakers Annalet Steenkamp and Sylvia Vollenhoven and short film jurors were filmmakers Darryl Els, Zandi Tisani and Terrence Dalisu Ngobese.

However, the award for the Best Feature Film, which carries a R50,000 cash prize from the DIFF went to Sunrise directed by Partho Sen-Gupta.

The film was described by the jury as “an uncompromising, brilliantly-crafted film that takes us through a fragmented mind, into a shady world allowing us to enter the reality of Mumbai’s underbelly”.

The award for Best South African Feature Film, which carries a prize of R25,000 courtesy of Film Finances SA, went to Necktie Youth directed by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, described by the jury as “a film desperate to reconcile the seemingly disparate realities of its country, and whose urgent questions about South African life are posed with such mischievous energy that they cannot help provoke debate, itself one of the most important responsibilities of cinema”.

Shongwe La-Mer also won the award for Best Direction, for Necktie Youth while the Best Documentary and Best SA Documentary awards which carry 25,000 each in cash, courtesy of the National Film and Video Foundation went to Beats of the Antonov directed by Hajooj Kuka and The Dream of the Shahrazad directed by Francois Verster respectively.

The jury awarded Beats of the Antonov “for its story, characters, relevance and visual interpretation,” and for a “story told with grace, while honouring the integrity of the people who gave them access as well as the subject matter.”

The Dream of the Shahrazad was awarded for the way in which “the filmmakers pushed themselves beyond their comfort zone, taking mythology and bringing it into the centre of modernity.”

Didier Michon won for his charismatic and captivating performance in Fevers directed by Hicham Ayouch received the Best Actor Award of R20,000 from the KwaZulu–Natal Film Commission.

The award for Best Actress, who also received R20,000 from the KwaZulu–Natal Film Commission, went to Anissa Daoud for her portrayal of a determined activist who takes a stand, in an important film Tunisian Spring directed by Raja Amari.

Best African Short Film award went to The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometre 375 directed by Omar el Zohairy. It got R20,000 courtesy of the Gauteng Film Commission while Unomalanga and The Witch directed by Palesa Shongwe won the Best South African Short Film award also receiving R20,000 courtesy of the Gauteng Film Commission.

A new award, the Production Merit Award, sponsored by Hollard carries a R25,000 cash prize and it went to Rights of Passage directed by Ntombizodwa Magagula.

Mapula Sibanda, Lerato Moloi, Valencia Joshua, Zandile Angeline Wardle, Tony Miyambo, Rethabile Mothobi, Yashvir Bagwandeen. Sabrina Compeyron and David Constantin won the Best Screenplay Award for Sugar Cane Shadows directed by David Constantin while Jean-Marc Ferriere, took the honours for Best Cinematography for Sunrise directed by Partho Sen-Gupta.

Special Mention for Direction was made of Kivu Ruhorahoza for Things of The Aimless Wanderer, “for a courageous and single-minded attempt by a director harnessing all means at his disposal to tell a personal, intricate and political story.”

Also, a Special Mention for Best Film was given to Tunisian Spring by Raja Amari, “for it’s powerful depiction of an event that has, and continues to have, resonance in the world while Democrats directed by Camilla Nielsson, got a Special Mention for a Documentary, which is “commended for putting a human face on a story that is complex and sometimes almost opaque”.

The Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award for the film that best reflects human rights issues which comes with a cash prize of R10,000 donated by the Artists for the Human Rights Trust went to The Shore Break, directed by Ryley Grunenwald.

A further Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Honorary Award was given to The Look of Silence directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, a film that “bravely uncovers the genocide in Indonesia in the 1960s.”

Also, the Arterial Network’s Artwatch Africa Award, for an African film that meaningfully engages with the issues of freedom of expression, went to Beats of the Antonov, directed by Hajooj Kuka, who was presented a cash prize of R15,000. The DIFF Audience Award went to The Shore Break, directed by Ryley Grunenwald.

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