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The South African Guild of Editors (SAGE) has announced that the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) has included an award for best editing this year. The American Cinema Editors (ACE) has over a number of years campaigned for the inclusion of a Film Editing awards category at international film festivals. In support of this initiative, SAGE consulted with the DIFF management team in early 2016, and the festival has decided to implement an award for Best Editor for this year’s festival.

"We appreciate everyone’s contribution to this success—most notably the American Cinema Editors for their petition for editors’ recognition at top-tier international film festivals. Further support came from the American Motion Picture Editors Guild, as well as several other international guilds and societies, presenting an unprecedented alliance for the recognition of the editor in the filmmaking process.” says SAGE Chairperson Marina du Toit.

In addition, DIFF has included Melissa Parry (Vice-chairperson) of SAGE as a judge on the South African jury, where she will be able to bring her considerable editing expertise to the judging process. "SAGE members’ contributions to the filmmaking process are recognised through the selection of their films at many international film festivals, including numerous films selected for DIFF,” says Parry. “We are pleased to recognise the work of two SAGE editors in this year’s festival,” says du Toit. “This year, three of the selected films at DIFF have SAGE editors: Khalid Shamis who, edited The Unseen and Action Commandant, which was a Durban FilmMart project and Nikki Comninos who edited Tarryn Crossman’s Timelines."

SAGE has developed a close collaborative relationship with DIFF since 2012, aiming to further promote editors and the craft of editing at the festival. We value the huge contribution DIFF makes to our local film industry, and look forward to a fruitful relationship going forward.” says du Toit. "Advocating for editors’ recognition is an ongoing process and we urge our members to continue supporting our endeavours to obtain further recognition at other film festivals.”

“We are pleased to be able to offer an award this year for editing, which is a critical element of the whole creative process,” says Acting Festival Manager of DIFF, Peter Machen. “Sadly, editing is often overlooked in the filmmaking process, yet sensitive and astute editing is a vital part of the product.”

The Durban International Film Festival takes place from 16-26 June 2016. The Festival includes nearly 200 theatrical screenings, as well as the Wavescape Film Festival and various industry initiatives, including the 9th Talents Durban programme (in cooperation with the Berlin Talent Campus) and the 7th Durban FilmMart co-production market (in partnership with the Durban Film Office).

The 37th Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with support from the National Film and Video Foundation, Durban Film Office, eThekwini Municipality, German Embassy, Goethe Institut, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture and a range of other valued partners.