The 34th edition of the Durban International Film Festival, in Durban, South Africa, announced its award-winners over the weekend, at the Suncoast Nu Metro cinema.
Presenting the award for Best Feature Film to The Land of Hope, the International Jury commended Sion Sono for a film that “masterfully and humbly draws together an array of cinematic means of expression to engage us in a story.” The Best Feature Film award carries a cash prize of R50 000 ($5,100).
The international Jury, which comprised of Egyptian curator and festival programmer Sherif Awad, renowned festival programmer Paolo Bertolin, South African filmmaker Sarah Blecher, film curator June Givanni and South African actress Hlubi Mboya, also awarded Best South African Feature Film to South African filmmaker Andrew Worsdale for his film Durban Poison. The Best South African Feature Film award carries a cash prize of R30 000 (about $3,000).
Also, South African family feature film, Felix!, which features an all-star cast that includes Joburg-born Oscar-nominee Dame Janet Suzman in her first South African film, South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) Best Actress winner Linda Sokhulu in her feature film debut, and newcomer Hlayani Mabasa, picked up the trophy got Audience Choice Best Film.
Following the refusal to classify the Opening Night Film Of Good Report, the Film and Publications Board reversed their decision and gave the film the US equivalent of an R-rating.
The film was not screened in any of its allocated slots as a result of the refusal for classification and so could not be in competition, however, the Durban International Film Festival acknowledged the film’s achievements in stimulating worldwide debate and highlighting important issues in South African society. Festival manager Peter Machen therefore announced a new annual award for Artistic Bravery, the first of which was given to Of Good Report director, Jahmil XT Qubeka.
Of Good Report was eventually screened on the last day of the festival (Sunday, July 28).
The full list of awards follows:
• Best Short Film – Mercy (dir. Eliza Subotowicz)
• Best South African Short Film– The Brave Unseen (dir. Duan Myburgh)
• Best Documentary Film – Far out isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (dir. Brad Bernstein)
• Best South African Documentary Film – Angel’s In Exile (dir. Billy Raftery)
• Special Mention Documentary Film– I Am Breathing (dir. Emma Davie and Morag McKinonn
• Special Mention Documentary Film – Orania (dir. Tobias Lindner)
• Special Mention Documentary Film - Algorithms (dir. Ian McDonald)
• Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award – Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer (dir. Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin)
• Audience Choice Best Film– Felix (dir. Roberta Durrant)
• Audience Choice Best Documentary – Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer (dir. Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin)
• Audience Choice Best Wavescapes Film– Stand (dir. Anthony Bonello and Nicolas Teichrob)
• Audience Choice Best WildTalk Film – 2 Wings Many Prayers (dir. Lloyd Ross)
• Best Feature Film – The Land of Hope (dir. Sion Sono)
• Best First Feature Film – Wadjda (dir. Al-Mansour Haifaa)
• Best South African Feature Film – Durban Poison (dir. Andrew Worsdale)
• Best Direction – Xavier Dolan for Laurence Anyways
• Best Cinematography– MatÍas Penachino for Halley
• Best Screenplay – Asghar Fahradi for The Past
• Best Actor – David and Eitan Cunio for Youth
• Best Actress – Paulina Garcia for Gloria and Suzanne Clément for Laurence Anyways
• Durban International Film Festival Award for Artistic Bravery – Jahmil XT Qubeka
Sunday is the last day of screenings with film screenings at Suncoast Cinema, Ster Kinekor Musgrave, Cinema Nouveau Gateway, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre (Kwa-Mashu), and the Blue Waters Hotel.
The 34th Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre For Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) with support by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, HIVOS, City of Durban, German Embassy in South Africa, Goethe Institut of South Africa, French Season in South Africa, and a range of other valued partners.