The Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, MEC Fezeka Bayeni will lead a delegation to promote Eastern Cape (EC) Film Development at the 40th edition of the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) from 18-28 July 2019 in Durban.
The delegation includes the Head of Department (HOD), Mr Zolisi Matutu and the Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council (ECPACC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms Phumeza Skoti, who has been instrumental in lobbying support and recognition of film in the EC. This led to approval of R15 Million funding from the Economic Stimulus Fund.
The EC Province will be in the limelight as the destination of choice where Knuckle City film, which immortalises the heritage of boxing in the Mdantsane township known as the boxing "Mecca" of South Africa was shot.
The film was directed by Jahmil Xolani Qhubeka, a multi-award winning film maker from Mdantsane and the official premier will be screened on the opening day of the DIFF.
It was produced and edited by award-winning Layla Swart of Yellowbone Entertainment, together with Mzansi Magic, is the acclaimed Qubeka's much-anticipated fourth feature film. Dissecting notions of inherited toxic masculinity and the underbelly of the fighting world, Knuckle City is a riveting exploration of the psychology of a fighter from the Mdantsane township.
The Department through its entity, ECPACC provided technical support during the course of shooting the film and will be sending budding young actors from Mdantsane who acted in the movie to experience the 'red carpet' and exposure to the glitz of film making.
MEC Bayeni will pay tribute to the late Nomhle Nkonyeni at the DIFF, as she was part of the Knuckle City film cast.
Furthermore, in her maiden policy speech tabled at the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature last Month, MEC Bayeni highlighted that, "The Department has, in this 6th term of administration, decided to prioritise the film sector because of its potential in the economic development of the Province."
South Africa's longest-running film festival, the DIFF generally runs across 12 days towards the end of July, presenting over 180 screenings of current films from around the world, with strong focus on South African and African cinema. Screenings take place throughout Durban including township areas where cinemas are non-existent.
The festival also runs extensive seminar and workshop programmes in order to stimulate the industry's capacity.
The DIFF the largest film festival on the African continent. In 2018 a precedent was set as the winners of Best International Documentary and Best SA Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival automatically qualified for Oscar consideration. The festival has been notified, by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, of this inclusion which effectively means that the winning documentaries will be up for consideration for the 91st Academy Awards in 2019.
DIFF joins other prestigious festivals around the globe including the Cannes International Film Festival, Berlinale International Film Festival, Sydney International Film Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, and IDFA – the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, in being an Oscar-qualifying film festival.
The Durban International Film Festival offers screenings, workshops, discussions and industry support throughout the city of Durban with a key focus on bridging the gap in terms of the lack of cinema spaces in communities like, Groutville, KwaMashu, Lamontville and Inanda.
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