GLENWOORD – UKZN hosted the 37th annual Durban International Film Festival last week, announcing this year’s winners at the Closing Night ceremony held at the Playhouse on Saturday, June, 25.
Bauddhayan Mukherji told the story of a down-and-out violinist filling his days with menial tasks and grappling with unemployment in ‘The Violin Player’ which won Best Feature Film. The film was credited for its offbeat editing, brave cinematography, simple screenplay, honest direction and a lot of surprising elements, according to the jury citation which aptly remarked that the film reminded audiences of the importance of art.
The sought after, Best South African Feature Film was awarded to Meg Rickards for her film ‘Tess,’ which was based on Tracey Farren’s novel, ‘Whiplash’ and told the story of a Muizenberg sex worker fighting her past and the unexpected pregnancy that turns her world upside down. Summed up by the jury, Tess was a “measured and uncompromising debut feature.” The South African feature film jury boasted film-makers Jahmil Qubeka and Melissa Parry. Award-winning producer, Bianca Balbuena, Maisha Foundation programme director, Fibby Kioria, film critic Sherif Awad and festival veteran Trevor Steele Taylor were this year’s international jury members.
Tora Mkandawire Martens won Best Documentary for her “visual feast,” ‘Martha and Niki,’ a profound depiction of the dedication and enthusiasm shared by Martha Nabwire and Niki Tsappos who were the first two women to become World Champions of Hip Hop in 2010 after competing in Juste Debout, the biggest international street dance competition, in Paris.
Best South African Documentary was awarded to Sean Metelerkamp’s ‘The Journeymen,’ a “free-wheeling” journey of three South African photographers (Sean Metelerkamp, Sipho Mpongo and Wikus De Wet) who investigated the state of South Africa in 2014 (with GoPros) as the rainbow nation celebrated 20 years of democracy and mourned the loss of Nelson Mandela. “The Journeyman takes an unflinching look at who we are by holding up the proverbial mirror to South African Society,” commented the jury. Film-makers Rehad Desai, Omelga Mthiyane and Riaan Hendricks assumed juror-role for the documentary awards.
The film best reflecting human rights issues wins the Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award and this year’s winner was Pablo Pineda with his film ‘Noma,’ which documents a “stoic” single mother by the same name as she fights to rise above poverty and provide for her disabled infant and young child.
Grandma’s Day (Dzie’n Babci) was awarded Best Short Film, making director Milosz Sakowski proud, though Basil Khalil’s Ave Maria was given special mention by the jury. Neil coppen and Sumayya Rawat were the short-film jurors in this year’s festival.
And finally, bringing home, the Best South African Short Film award, was Shubham Mehta with eKhaya.
Once again, this year’s festival showcased the dynamic Durban talent on the rise in the film industry and played host to an array of international film-makers, inviting must-see-movies to Durban’s back stoep cinemas.