The 40th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) in the College of Humanities, announced its winners at an awards ceremony held at the Elangeni Hotel.

Acting CCA Director and UKZN lecturer, Dr Lliane Loots, congratulated all winners for their exceptional work in telling stories that speak to the human spirit. She noted that DIFF had honoured the truth-tellers ‘who have tapped into the zeitgeist of our 2019 seismic moment’.

‘The power of film and of all critical arts is to constantly be the conscience of nations,’ said Loots. ‘Reaching 40 years, this landmark South African film festival is a triumph for very single filmmaker who has shown work on this platform, every new film project that was born in our space, and every single audience member who made the time to come and watch and listen to these stories. Our focus has been on uniting Africa through film, and we join the decolonising movement that asks us to find a way to honour what is local and what comes from within,’ she said.

A highlight of the event was former CCA Director, Mr Peter Rorvik, who was a steady hand at the helm of the festival for more than a decade receiving the DIFF Legacy Award. Rorvik shared the award with Roz Sarkin and the late Moosa Moosa who co-founded DIFF, and the producer of Izulu Lami, Julie Frederikse and its director, Madoda Ncayiyana.

Rorvik said he was honoured to receive the award but called on UKZN ‘to appoint a permanent CCA Director to ensure that DIFF and other festivals such as Time of the Writer, Poetry Africa and JOMBA continue’.

Awards handed out at the ceremony included:

  • Best Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award at DIFF 2019For Sama directed by Edward Watts and Waad al-Kateab
  • Artistic Bravery: Letters Of Hope directed by Vusi Africa
  • Best CinematographyDivine Love directed by Gabriel Mascaro
  • Best Editing: Cronofobia directed by Francesco Rizzi
  • Best ScreenplayLes Misérables directed by Ladj Ly
  • Best Short FilmAcid directedby Just Philippot
  • Best African Short Film: Brotherhood directed by Meryam Joobeur. The film received a cash prize of R20 000 from the Gauteng Film Commission
  • Best South African Short Film: Miracle directed by Bongi Ndaba. The film received a cash prize of R20 000 from the Gauteng Film Commission.
  • Best Actor: Bongile Mantsai for Knuckle City directed by Jahmil X T Qubeka
  • Best Actress: Nisrin Erradi for Adam directed by Maryam Touzani 
  • Best Documentary: For Sama directed Edward Watts and Waad al-Kateab. The film received a cash prize of R25 000
  • Best South African Documentary: Buddha in Africa directed by Nicole Schafer. The film received a cash prize of R25 000
  • Best Direction: Divine Love directed by Gabriel Mascaro
  • Best South African Feature Film: Back of the Moon directed by Angus Gibson. The film received a cash prize of R25 000
  • Best Feature Film: Les Misérables directed by Ladj Ly. The film received a cash prize of R50 000
  • DIFF Legacy Awardees: Peter Rorvik, Roz Sarkin, Moosa Moosa, Julie Frederikse and Madoda Ncayiyana

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: Supplied