Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The 36th Durban International Film Festival 2015.

The annual Durban International Film Festival took place from the 16 -26 July 2015. It is the biggest film festival in Africa, I was a first time attendee. There are a few ways to be part of the festival. There is the Talents Durban where emerging filmmakers are chosen from across the continent to be part of the festival. You can attend as a filmmaker who has a film screening and then as a Delegate which welcomes everyone from real deal filmmaker’s to film enthusiasts. Next on my agenda is to attend as a Durban Talent candidate.

I made sure to arrive on the 16th July as it was opening night and the screening of Ayanda was the opening Film. What I love about being a delegate is that you get invites to all festival related events: parties, film awards, network sessions and all film screenings throughout the festival, quite amazing. Now as it was my first time I had a general outline of what I wanted to walk away with but being new I had not really been prepared for what was going to be the most eye opening and educational time spent in Durban. Coming in from a cold Cape Town, the first thing that hit me was the warm temperature, it instantly made me happy and that kind of welcome assured me that my stay in Durban was going to be really good.

In understanding how the festival works here is a breakdown of what I discovered: From morning to afternoon there are talks held by Industry professionals from all over the world. I came to realize this part of the festival was the most important period. By 5pm-6pm the festival schedule is done. From there people go to all sorts of events, network parties in particular or watch films. Of course attendees go there with their own intentions and people mark exactly what they want. So there are constant meetings, filmmakers who had been communicating for months meet for the first time at the festival. I went through the schedule and circled talks I wanted to attend that seemed appealing and not so appealing, I wanted to be exposed to everything. 

Opening Night: I landed in Durban and went straight to the hotel which was a five minute walk from where the festival was held. I went to registration collected and my goody bag. I had an Identity card, festival schedule, DIFF notebook and the Industry manual with all the delegates business Information in it. I prepared and went for the Opening Night film Ayanda.

The Mtv African Music Awards were happening over the weekend. Saw Davido & other African artists.

Everyone was taking a selfie next to this Gold piece. 

Day 1: I attended talks. When the day was done I went to a dinner hosted by the KZN Film Commission for Deloitte to encourage Investors to look into the Film Industry. This gave me an Idea of who would attend outside of the investor heavyweight guests. I saw and met Gray Hofmeyr who is a TV & Film legend having worked on Leon Schuster films and the Creator of Isidingo. The night was hosted by comedian John Vlismas.

KZN Film Comission CFO Simphiwe Ngcobo

Day 2: I attended more talks. I went to go see Wild Dogs & Mrs. Heart, I have already written about this. Riaan Hendricks documentary about animal welfare. I then went to the Call sheet Industry party at Moyo’s.

Shooting Women, Feminism and Film discussion on the panel: Katarina Hedren, Jyoti Mistry & Arya Lalloo. Facilitated by Leonie.

Jyoti Mistry

I walked out of the talk with this book. Such a great read.

Reunion Island Co-Producing Talk.

Day 3: I went to talks all day. In the evening were the awards.

Day 4: My last day I managed to squeeze in one more talk before I had to depart Durban. I took a bus home. I enjoy road trips, I sat next to a young man who I engaged in great conversation with. He got my interested in farms.

Durban Film Festival was good for me, for a first time attendee it was an absolute pleasure. I made friends, made good networks, I got two interviews down (coming soon) and I realized my work is only beginning. My trajectory has been re-aligned and there is a lot of work ahead to be done. 

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