The 34th Durban International Film Festival opens on 18 July with a host of local, continental and international filmmakers and movie buffs expected to converge on the city for the renowned event. 

With principal funding by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, the festival is hosted by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) and is a special project of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter.

Over the years, the festival has grown in global stature to being one of the most important global festivals for viewing African and South African films as well as offering audiences the best of the most recent international films. The full programme is now on the web at

Eleven venues around Durban will host 170 films in 250 screenings in a smorgasbord of the best of contemporary cinema. Film-lovers and aspiring and experienced film-makers can enjoy a comprehensive workshop and seminar programme at which knowledge and skills will be shared by film industry experts. 

According to DIFF Manager, Mr Peter Machen, this year the theme focus areas are African cinema with 12 world premieres of South African films - including the opening night film Of Good Report directed by Jahmil Qubeka - Contemporary Europe, American Independent films, films about sexual identifies and sexuality, a Zombie fest as well as a broad variety of films showcasing the best of world cinema.

‘For film-lovers, this is an opportunity to see films from firm favourites as well as to explore new and first time directors,’ said Machen.

‘It is also the chance to view films from new places and foreign language films; to discuss and debate the films and to meet the people who make them. Festival-goers will be delighted to hear the festival has created a new free public marquee with refreshments for sale in front of one of the venues, the Blue Waters Hotel, as a social meeting point.’

For film-makers there is the Fourth Durban FilmMart, a partnership project with the Durban Film Office and supported by the City of Durban.  This is a film finance and co-production market presented in three strands – Finance Forum, Master Classes and the Africa in Focus seminars. The DFM master class and networking programme is open to registered delegates only. See for further details.

For the ninth year, DIFF partners with Wavescape – a feast of surfing cinema and shark stories including 11 features and five shorts with a free outdoor screening at the Bay of Plenty Lawns on Sunday 21 July, before running at Ster-Kinekor Musgrave from Monday 22 July to Friday 26 July.

The 6th Talent Campus Durban brings together the creativity of 50 selected film-makers from 18 different countries in Africa, chosen from more than 450 submissions.  The film-makers will take part in a series of master classes, workshops and industry networking opportunities during the festival.

Running parallel to the festival is Durban Wild Talk Africa, the continent’s most respected Natural History Film Festival and Conference at the Docklands Hotel from July 23 to 26.  For more info

Principal screening venues are Suncoast Cine Centre; Ster Kinekor Musgrave, Cinema Nouveau – Gateway, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre; Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu; and the Blue Waters Hotel. Other venues include the Bay of Plenty Lawns, the Upstairs at Spiga D’oro and the Luthuli Museum on the North Coast, which will have a special programme of screenings.

Tickets are available at the respective venues and prices range from R25 to R35 (R50 for 3D screenings), except at Luthuli Museum, the Blue Waters Hotel, Ekhaya and Bay of Plenty lawns, where there is no charge.  Entrance to the Short Film programme at Upstairs at Spiga d’Oro costs R20. 

Programme booklets with full details of all the films are available free at cinemas and other public information outlets. Full festival details are also available at or by calling 031-260 2506.

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