Sherif Awad-Film Critic-Egypt

The 34th edition of the DIFF (Durban International Film Festival), with principal funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, announced it award winners on Saturday 27 July prior to the screening of the closing film Free Angela – And All Political Prisoners at the Suncoast CineCentre 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 with it a cash prize of R50 000.

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 with it a cash prize of R30 000.

Of Good Report
International jury member, June Givanni, on behalf of the international jury also gave reason as to why the film directed by Jahmil XT Qubeka could not be considered for competition by saying, “As a jury, we were privileged to be taken on a global journey through cinema, and we would like to thank Peter Machen and the film festival programmers for this great hounor.

“However, we have to express our regret that this journey could not include the South African competition entry of the movie Of Good Report, which the Film and Publication Board did not license for public screening in time for us to take it into consideration. The jury is saddened and concerned about the limitations to freedom of expression that are still in force on the continent and beyond, but we are glad that on this occasion the decision has been overturned.’

Festival accolades for Of Good Report

Following the refusal to classify the opening night film Of Good Report, the Film and Publication Board reversed their decision and gave the film an R-Rating of 16 on 27 July. 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. The DIFF 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 screened on the last day of the festival on Sunday 28 July at 12h00 at Suncoast CineCentre.

Special mention

Professor Cheryl Potgieter also gave special mention and a prize to festival manager Peter Machen for his outstanding work during the festival and acknowledging his contribution to the DIFF as a whole. The deputy vice chancellor of Humanities also touched on the currently vacant post of the Centre for Creative Arts Directorship stating that the position is currently being advertised and that an appointment would be made soon.

Full list of awards

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)

Special Mention: Best Documentary Film – I Am Breathing (dir. Emma Davie and Morag McKinonn)

Best South African Documentary Film – Angels in Exile (dir. Billy Raftery)

Special Mention: Best South African Documentary Film – Orania (dir. Tobias Lindner)

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 – Matias 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 Clement for Laurence Anyways

Durban International Film Festival Award for Artistic Bravery – Jahmil XT Qubeka

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Sherif M. Awad
Sherif M. Awad
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