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Durban: Rookie Helmer Bass Wins Top South African Film Prize

The Durban Intl. Film Festival announced its award-winners July 26 at the closing ceremony of the festival’s 35th edition.

The award for best South African feature went to first-time helmer Jenna Bass for “Love the One You Love,” selected for its “stylistic and narrative freshness” and described as “a playful, quirky and idiosyncratic debut made with curiosity, warmth, heart and sensitivity.” The award brought with it a cash prize of R25,000 ($2,378).

Bass also scooped honors for director in a South African feature film.

Best feature film went to Mali’s Abderrahmane Sissako for “Timbuktu,” which the jury described as “an impressively well-made film that makes us aware, in an extraordinarily human and gentle way, of the fight for dignity and
freedom of individuals against oppression and violence.” The award came with a cash prize of R50,000 ($4,755).

Best documentary went to Mahdi Fleifel’s “A World Not Ours,” which the jury called an “intimate, affecting and often humorous…portrait of three generations of exile in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon.”

The prize for best South African documentary went to Rehad Desai’s “Miners Shot Down,” which also won the Amnesty Intl. (Durban) Human Rights Award, accompanied by a prize of R10,000 ($951) sponsored by the Artists for Human Rights Trust. The film was selected “for its profoundly moving portrayal of the Marikana miners’ massacre.” ­

The full list of awards:

Best Feature Film: “Timbuktu,” by Abderrahmane Sissako

Best First Feature Film: “Salvation Army,” by Abdellah Taia

Best Director: Noaz Deshe, “White Shadow”

Best Screenplay: “Love Is Strange,” written by Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias

Best Cinematography: “Timbuktu,” Sofian el Fani

Best Actor: Ibrahim Ahmed, “Timbuktu,” and Tony Kgoroge, “Cold Harbour”

Best Actress: Chi Mhende, “Love the One You Love

Durban Intl. Film Festival Award for Artistic Bravery: “My Blind Heart,” by Petter Brunner

Best South African Feature Film: “Love the One You Love,” by Jenna Bass

Best Director in a South African Feature Film: Jenna Bass, “Love the One You Love”

Best South African Documentary: “Miners Shot Down,” by Rehad Desai

Special Mention: “Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me,” by Khalo Matabane

Best Director in a South African Documentary: Annalet Steenkamp, “I, Afrikaner”

Special Mention: Tarryn Crossman, “Fatherland”

Best Documentary: “A World Not Ours,” by Mahdi Fleifel

Amnesty Intl. (Durban) Human Rights Award: “Miners Shot Down,” by Rehad Desai

Best Short Film: “Out of Place,” by Ozan Mermer

Best South African Short Film: “Keys, Money, Phone,” by Roger Young

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