The 39th Durban International Film Festival proved to be a good hunting ground for local film Sisters of the Wilderness, a documentary following 5 young KwaZulu Natal woman as they discover themselves during a walk through the Mfolozi wilderness.
In accepting the award Producer, Ronit Shapiro said “This is such an amazing time!!! We are very honoured to receive this beautiful award. It means a lot to us to know that our work is recognised and this will definitely help us on our social impact journey to make a real positive difference to young women’s lives and to wild nature.”
The social Impact programme aims to take the film into schools and communities across KwaZulu Natal, and hopefully South Africa, to highlight the importance of nature to our own well-being, and to highlight the threats against our Rhino, Elephant and the threat of Coal Mining to the Mfolozi Game Reserve.
Ronit added, “We have clear social impact goals and the impact journey is just in its early days but the impact is already apparent and tangible. We would like to reach as many young people as possible with the film, worldwide, especially women. We would like to empower young people through this film to have faith and follow their bliss, and very importantly we would like to help in the efforts to save the rhino, elephant and other threatened species, and help in the efforts to save the iMfolozi wilderness from the eminent and intensifying threat of mining.”
The Durban International Film Festival Awards (DIFF) ceremony, held on Saturday, 28 July gave a total of 17 prizes in various categories including Best SA Documentary, for which Sisters of the Wilderness’ was singled out for it’s unique filming style which captured the experience perfectly, all of which was completed on foot by the Director Karin Slater, also of KwaZulu Natal.
DIFF has recently been included as a Documentary Feature Qualifying Festival by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences, which means that both the winners of the Best Documentary, New Moon and Best SA Documentary Sisters of the Wilderness, will now automatically qualify for consideration for an Oscar nomination.
A total of 17 awards were given out at the ceremony:
Best Feature Film: The Reports on Sarah and Saleem, directed by Muayad Alayan, and produced by Muayad Alayan, Rami Alayan, Hans de Wolf, Hanneke Niens, Rebekka Garrido, Rodrigo Iturralde, Georgina Gonzalez, and Alejandro Duran. The award is accompanied by a cash prize of R50 000.
Best South African Feature Film: High Fantasy, directed by Jenna Bass and produced by David Horler and Steven Markovitz. The film received a cash prize of R25 000.
Best Documentary: New Moon, produced and directed by Philippa Ndisi-Hermann. The film received a cash prize of R25 000.
Best South African Documentary: Sisters of the Wilderness, directed by Karin Slater and produced by Ronit Shapiro. The award is accompanied by a cash prize of R25,000.
Best Direction: Constantin Popescu for Pororoca
Best Cinematography: Liviu Marghidan for Pororoca
Best Screenplay: Jennifer Fox for The Tale
Best Actor: Bogdan Dumitrache for his role as Tudor in Pororoca, directed by Constantin Popescu
Best Actress: Maisa Abd Elhadi for her role as Bisan in The Reports on Sarah and Saleem
Best Editing: Anne Fabini, Alex Hall and Gary Level for The Tale
Artistic Bravery: was won jointly by High Fantasy, directed by Jenna Bass and Supa Modo directed by Likarion Wainaina.
Best South African Short Film: Stillborn, directed by Jahmil X. T. Qubeka and produced by Huanxi Media Group, Xstream Pictures, and Yellowbone Entertainment. The film received a cash prize of R20 000 sponsored by the Gauteng Film Commission.
Best African Short Film: Aya, directed by Moufida Fedhila and produced by Appel d’Air Films. The film also received a cash prize of R20 000 sponsored by the Gauteng Film Commission.
Best Short Film: -The Patience of Water (La Paciencia Del Agua), directed by Guillem Almirall,. The film received a cash prize of R20 000 from the Gauteng Film Commission.
Audience Choice Award: The State Against Mandela and the Others, directed by Nicolas Champeaux and Gilles Porte, which received a cash prize of R25 000.
Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award: Silas, directed by Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman and produced by Appian Way, Big World Cinema and Ink & Pepper Productions
Best Wavescape Film: Heavy Water, directed by Michael Oblowitz
The Shorts jury included creative media education and development specialist Alicia Price and Leon Van Der Merwe of the Cape Town International Film Market and Festival. The fiction feature jurors were SA Producer Bongiwe Selane, Nigerian actor Hakeem Kae Kazim and Nigerian actress Nse Ikpe-Etim. The documentary film jury included South African producer Uzanenkosi, Zimbabwean producer Nakai Matema, and Nigerian filmmaker Mahmood Ali-Balogun.
DIFF 2018 is part of a month-long feast of film in Durban, including the BRICS Film festival and industry programmes, the Durban FilmMart, Isiphethu, Talents Durban, and the Nature Environment and Wildlife Film Congress.
See www.durbanfilmfest.co.za for more information and the programme.