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Opening and Closing Films for the 38th Durban International Film Festival announced.

Preparations for the Durban International Film Festival 2017 gained further steam today as festival organizers unveiled the approved final programme for this year.

At a media briefing earlier today at Maharani Hotel, recently appointed Festival Manager, Chipo Zhou, was thrilled to introduce stakeholders to the programme including screenings across the city and surrounding townships, the training workshops, and opening and closing films for the fest.

SERPENT, a South African film by Amanda Evans, is scheduled as the opening feature film for this year. The film has made significant international headways since its launch last year with international distribution already secured.

The film is by a female writer/director in line with the women’s focus this year. Her feature is a directorial debut, which makes it an emerging film-makers option described by Anant Singh as a testament to her exceptional skills by bringing a woman’s perspective into a thriller in a male dominated industry.

SERPENT is a tightly wound, psychological time bomb that unravels with an intense, disturbing conviction.  The film 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 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,” she added.

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 with residents of Lamontville Township, who, with anger and passion in their hearts, demonstrated against proposed rent increases, crying ASINAMALI - We have no money.

The festival directors have said tribute will be paid to three film and music industry stalwarts this year including the late and great 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 the late legends’ respective films will be played at the festival to pay homage to their immeasurable contribution to the industry.

Ibrahim, 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 are scheduled to take place at the height of the festival on Saturday 15 July, he 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 the 14th-17th July.

“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.

The DIFF committee released details for the various aspects of the festival including the Talents Durban Programme, DIFF Industry Programme, Non-Commercial Screenings- free and open to public, High Schools Programme, Film Schools Programme and Micro-budget Hub, Wavescape Surf Film Festival, and a social programme with a total of 18 social events this year.


Attachments: the speech of the festival manager from this morning.

Media accreditation for DIFF 2017 is open. Submit name, surname, picture and ID no. to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit http://vp.eventval.eu/cca/diff2017/login to register.

For media related queries contact

Samukele Ngubane- DIFF 2017 PR Manager

Tel: 031 260 1145 |Cell: 078 556 0965 | E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information on the DIFF 2017 and the Centre for Creative Arts please contact

Noluthando Lamula- Centre for Creative Arts Publications Officer

Tel: 031 260 2506 | E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) is one of the biggest festivals of its kind and the longest running film festival in Africa. Over the years DIFF has been successful in bringing together different filmmakers and industry experts from around the globe, recognizing talented filmmakers whose work may not have made it onto the mainstream, creating platforms for learning and a breeding ground for growth within the industry.


The 38th Durban International Film Festival is organized by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with support from eThekwini Municipality, the Durban Film Office, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, the National Film and Video Foundation, German Embassy, Goethe Institut, and a range of other valued partners.