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Africa’s premier film event, the Durban International Film Festival virtually fed fans’ appetites for great films over the past 11 days, and the cherry on top was awarding these film with the recognition they deserve.
This year the festival’s awards ceremony took place on Saturday July 31 on Facebook, and three new categories were added.
This year’s online festival saw an increased viewership, said Ismail Mahomed, director of University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts
“It was very gratifying to view a large number of streams, and also to see the huge enthusiasm from our South African audiences for the festival,” said Mahomed, ahead of the screening of its closing documentary film, “Threshold”.
Mahomed added that the festival organisers wanted to award recognition to filmmakers, organisations and institutions who share in their commitment to engage the cinematic arts to grow, mature and defend our democracy.
The inaugural DIFF Promoting Access to Cinema Award was won by the mobile cinema project Sunshine Cinema for their outstanding work that brings sustainable and free screenings in predominantly marginalised communities.
The inaugural DIFF Film in Education award was won by non-profit media company STEPS for producing over 100 documentaries for a diverse range of public education projects.
The third inaugural award, the DIFF Human Rights Award, went to filmmaker Enver Samuels for creating documentaries that played a vital role in documenting the lives of South African human rights legends, and unearthing the need for a thorough investigation into the deaths of assassinated political leaders such as Dulcie September and Ahmed Timol.
At the awards ceremony, the festival’s highest accolade of Best Feature Film went to Chinese director Shin Xin’s masterful “A Little Bird Reminds Me” and won R50 000.
The Best South African Feature Film award went to Cape Town production “Sons of the Sea”, directed by John Guttierez.
Best Documentary was awarded to the Congolese director Dieudo Hamadi’s “Downstream to Kinshasa”.
The accolade for Best South African Documentary had joint winners of “I Am Here”, directed by Jory Sank and “Murder in Paris”, directed by Enver Samuels. According to the jury, both of these stories were unique stories about freedom and survival.
This year’s festival had a powerful selection of 53 short films.
The Best South African Short Film was awarded to the King Shaka themed animation “Shaka Inkosi Yamakhosi” directed by Manzini Zungu.
The best African Short Film went to the South African “What Did You Dream?” by Karabo Lediga.
The Best Short Film unanimously went to “Ala Kachuu-Take and Run” by director Maria Brendle from Kyrgyzstan.
Best Actor was awarded to Seounggyun An for “My Son”, while Best Actress went to Tsholo Maseko for “Pusha Pressa Phanda”. The award for Artistic Bravery went to “Pusha Pressa Panda”.
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