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Durban International Film Festival launches Isiphethu - Emerging Filmmakers Hub, Industry programme at this year’s edition


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The Durban International Film Festival officially launches its Isiphethu - Emerging Filmmakers Hub, industry programme  for emerging and micro budget filmmakers at this year’s 39th edition which takes place 19 to 29 July. Besides the usual cinema feast at venues around Durban, the festival offers a robust industry programme for filmmakers. Pictured here are from left to right Russel Hlongwane, Isiphethu and Durban FilmMartindustry programme curator, Sakhile Gumede, co-ordinator of Isiphethu and curator of the short film programme at DIFF, and Menzi Mhlongo, project manager of the Talents Durban, the industry programme for young semi-established filmmakers.



The Durban International Film Festival will officially launches its Isiphethu - Emerging Filmmakers Hub, industry programme at this year’s 39th edition which takes place 19 to 29 July.

Hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, the DIFF has designed an industry programme for KwaZulu-Natal-based filmmakers to use as a platform to engage with industry experts through masterclasses, panel discussions and workshops.

“The programme is conceived as a vehicle to address the skills and knowledge gaps in the province,” explains industry programme curator Russel Hlongwane. “Isiphethu will have high local relevance whilst introducing a sharp focus on the broader African film industry.”

“We have named this programme, Isiphethu, the isiZulu word for “water spring” as we see this as a new beginning, or inspirational source for filmmakers,” explains Hlongwane. “This programme will provide a fertile space where new possibilities and insights are able to be nurtured and emerge, with the ultimate aim of generating a groundswell to accelerate growth of the local industry.” 

“The programme is free, and speaks to the theme of this year’s festival - ‘’leaving no filmmaker behind”. We trust local filmmakers and film-enthusiasts will take full ownership and enjoy the benefits of participating.” 

Filmmakers and film enthusiasts are able to attend masterclasses and panel discussions facilitated by international and local guests. Some of the insightful discussions include ‘’getting to the heart of your story”, “positioning your film in Africa” and  “making a local story go global”.  There will also be opportunities to network and meet filmmakers attending the DIFF and the Durban FilmMart, co-production market, and Talents Durban."

Some highlights for this year includes the SABC & KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission’s MOU announcement and the DTI will also announcing the DTI Emerging Black Filmmakers Fund. This will be followed by a panel by the SABC content team, that will highlight the various genres that the SABC is interested in soliciting. “We regard this as important information so that our filmmakers get a firsthand explanation from the broadcaster so that we can see more KZN content on our small screens,” says Hlongwane.

To participate in Isiphethu, members of the public and filmmakers can check the full programme on www.durbanfilmfest.co.za from July 10.

Nolwazi Magwaza/ Sharlene Versfeld
Memeza Communications
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Tel: +27 (0) 31 811 5628