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Durban Film Fest Spotlights Local Directors in Lineup

The Durban Intl. Film Festival, which runs July 17-27 in the South African city that lies along the Indian Ocean coast, has unveiled its full program. With a focus on 20 years of post-Apartheid democracy in South Africa, many local filmmakers will be featured with 40 features and 38 shorts.

Fest opens with the previously announced pic “Hard to Get,” the debut film from South African helmer Zee Ntuli. DIFF will also spotlight African films, with Cannes hit “Timbuktu,” above, from Malian helmer Abderrahmane Sissako, and Venice and Sundance hit “White Shadow” unspooling.

The festival’s Special Focus: 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy sidebar sports an expanded South African doc program in response to the large numbers of high-quality nonfiction films being produced.

The slate includes Khalo Matabane’s “Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me” and “Miners Shot Down,” Rehad Desai’s account of the deadly Marikana miners’ strike.

This year’s U.K. focus is part a U.K.-South African cultural season taking place over the next two years. Such pics as gay-themed “Lilting,” “’71 ,” which deals with the beginning of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and “Frank” are set for the fest.

Given the location of Durban, the festival will offer a sidebar dedicated to surfing cinema. “Fading West” follows band Switchfoot as members hunt for surf around the globe; “Out in the Line Up” centers on two gays uniting to bust the taboo of homosexuality in surfing; while “Stephanie in the Water” tells the story of Stephanie Gilmore, who won her first world surfing championship event at age 17 on a day off from high school.

Durban will again host Talents Durban (formerly Talent Campus Durban), bringing together 40 selected filmmakers from 10 different countries in Africa. They will take part in a series of master classes, workshops and industry networking opportunities during the festival. Supported by the German Embassy, the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, the Goethe-Institut and the Gauteng Film Commission, Talents Durban is presented in co-operation with Berlinale Talents.

The Durban FilmMart, now in its fifth year, is a film finance and co-production market presented in three strands – Finance Forum, Master Classes and the Africa in Focus seminars. Twenty selected African projects (including 10 fiction features and 10 documentaries) will have an opportunity to hold one-on-one meetings with potential financiers, co-producers, and distributors in the Finance Forum. All projects will also have an opportunity to pitch their projects to a panel of international commissioning editors and financiers in the African Pitch, a structured pitching forum of the market.

The full lineup of films and programs can be found at www.durbanfilmfest.co.za.

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