AMANDA Evans’ film, Serpent, will open this year’s Durban International Film Festival, which runs from July 13 to 23.
The film, which is in line with the strong female focus at this year’s festival, has garnered significant international attention since its launch last year with international distribution already secured.
The film is a tightly wound, psychological time bomb that unravels with an intense, disturbing conviction; and was described by Anant Singh as a testament to Evans’ exceptional skills as she brings a woman’s perspective into a thriller in a male dominated industry.
“Evans’ work is a fitting film to open the festival this year. Although it was selected on merit, it’s a great example of the potential of film development initiatives in the country to unleash the creative industries’ economy in South Africa,” said festival manager, Chipo Zhou.
“The fact that winning a National Film and Video Foundation competition forms part of her pathway to industry heights shows the strategic correctness of focused industry development initiatives in the continent.”
The closing film will be another South African product, Asinamali, adapted from Dr Mbongeni Ngema’s Broadway production.
It follows the story of the rent boycotts led by Robben Islander, Msizi Dube, after his release from prison. He, together with residents of Lamontville Township, demonstrated against proposed rent increases, crying ‘Asinamali – We have no money’.
The festival will also pay tribute to three film and music industry stalwarts this year including the late Joe Mafela and Junaid Ahmed, and a living legend, Abdullah Ibrahim.
Ahmed was a leading South African producer, mentor and pioneer who lost his life following a short illness at the age of 57. Mafela was a veteran South African television and film actor, writer and director; he was involved in a fatal car accident earlier this year.
Retrospective screenings of their films will be played at the festival.
Ibrahim, a distinguished and world-renowned South African musician, will be honoured at the 5th Simon Mabhunu Sabela Awards hosted by the KZN Film Commission. The awards will take place on Saturday, July 15.
Ibrahim will also be presenting at the Durban Film Mart, a collaboration between the Durban International Film Festival and the Durban Film Office, which runs from July 14 to 17.
“In paying homage to these legends, we are making the statement that our work in advancing the industry in South Africa falls along the continuum of the great contributions made by our artists throughout history. As we forge ahead into the future, we remember the cumulative gains we have made, counting out blessings as we seek to redefine the trajectory of arts,” said Zhou.
To find out more about this year’s DIFF, visit www.durbanfilmfest.co.za