The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), is hosting the Durban International Festival (DIFF) from 10 to 20 September 2020.
Now celebrating its landmark 41st year, this prestigious South African international film festival is a unique phenomenon on the African cultural calendar.
This year the festival is screening selected films, host seminars and workshops virtually and include screenings drive-in cinema screenings in Durban, Port Shepstone, Newcastle and Zululand.
The late legendary actress Mary Twala opened DIFF 2020 last night (10 September 2020) as the leading actress in the film “This is not a Burial, but a Resurrection” by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese. The film is co-production between South Africa, Lesotho and Italy. The visually striking drama, set in the mountains of Lesotho, opens with an elderly widow named Mantoa (Mary Twala), grieving the loss of her son. Determined to die and be laid to rest with her family, her plans are interrupted when she discovers that the village and its cemetery will be forcibly resettled to make way for a dam reservoir. Refusing to let the dead be desecrated, she finds a new will to live and ignites a collective spirit of defiance within her community.
Ahead of the film CCA director Ismail Mahomed opened the festival by welcoming everyone in attendance to the opening. “At the Centre for Creative Arts, we believe that the power of the arts can continue to humanise us, whether it is presented in an assembled space or on an online medium. In this time we need to invest in the power of the arts, but we also need to be able to draw on the power of the arts in a way that it challenges, stimulates and empowers us”. He further continued to express his gratitude to all the partners.
When Head of Programming Chipo Zhou introduces the opening night film, a final ode to the late Mary Twala, who still stellar performance carries this powerful narrative in such a nuanced way, she says “This story could not have been told at a better time, a time where the movement against gender-based time is at its peak globally and more particularly in South Africa.
We are made to consider the role of the African women in the development of a continent, by looking at the impact this one woman makes in her small village. We are inspired to move.
We are inspired to fight and to keep pushing for what we believe in. The DIFF believes in the power of the African voice, the DIFF believes in the celebration of our stories and in shifting paradigms for the betterment of future generations.”
Lastly, director Lemohang Jeremiah introduces his film with the words “I wish the idea of this film will inspire a sense of fight for whatever cause you are in.”
After the opening screening, the cars broke out in a very suitable “applause” for the filmmakers, consisting of hooting, whistles and flashing lights. A wonderful start of a promising festival.