33d edition of the Durban Film Festival, with a special focus on French cinema

The 33d edition of the Durban Film Festival will take place between the 19th and the 29th of July, 2012. During 10 days, South Africa's longest-running film festival will screen over 250 films from around the world – see the full list here. As part of the France-South Africa crossed seasons, the DIFF organises a special focus on French cinema during this edition. This will bring not only a rich representation of 18 outstanding French films, but also some important industry initiatives intended to stimulate the growth of cinema on the African continent. Here is a brief survey of all the French events taking place at the DIFF.

New fictions

Among the French long features in the DIFF programme, some take their inspiration from the real world as in "The Lady", which relates the tale of Burma’s heroic leader and Nobel Peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. "38 Witnesses" is an unsettling tale about a murder that could have been prevented; and Brillante Mendoza’s "Captive", starring Isabelle Huppert, deals with a hostage situation in the Philippines. A major scoop is the screening of the winner of this year’s Cannes festival Palme d’Or, "Love" by master film maker Michael Haneke, a film which raises stark questions about relationships, old age and dying. Also fresh from its première at Cannes, immigration and survival against the odds takes centre stage in The Pirogue, by Senegalese director Moussa Toure. Impossible to evoke all the 18 French films here of course, but try not to miss Alain Gomis' "Tey", telling the story of a man who wakes up knowing that it will be the last day of his life; and "Outside Satan" a dark and edgy modern fable, not for the faint-hearted. On the lighter side, the animated "A Monster in Paris" is a steam-punk monster-flick that will have you tapping your foot to the sound of Parisian cabaret.

Industry involvement

As Intofrench explained in a previous article, the DIFF is also an important meeting point for the different players of the African cinema industry. Through the "Durban Film Mart", it attracts cinema professionals from all around the world looking for Africa's future trends. At its core, the “Finance Forum” is an unique opportunity for a selected panel of African film makers – be they writer, director or producer – to present their project to potential investors. In regard to the Durban Film Mart, the annual Canal France International (CFI) conference with a dozen African Broadcasters will take place during DIFF. CFI will also take part in the DFM DOC Circle pitches and will give an inaugural CFI pre-sale prize for the most promising African Project (feature or documentary) in the Durban Film Mart. Well-known television channel Arte France will present a 6,000 euros award to a Durban Film Mart project. Finally, the Produire au Sud (PAS) Script Studio, coordinated by Festival of 3 Continents of Nantes, will organize a specialist Script Development Workshop for six African film makers – selected out of the participants at the 2012 Talent Campus - who have feature films in development. For more information about the French focus programme, you can download the brochure French focus at DIFF or contact Nicolas Doyard on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Hadrien Diez