Durban shishanyama and prison to screen movies for international film fest
30 June 2017
In what is likely a first for South Africa, an international film festival will use a township tavern as one of its screening venues, and a local prison as another.
Newly appointed manager of the 38th Durban International Film Festival, Chipo Zhou, said as part of its outreach programme the festival will run a one day screening and workshop at Westville Correctional Services.
“The idea is to show inmates what is involved in being a film maker from how to come up with concepts to the skills of writing scripts."
The festival is the oldest and biggest in South Africa and runs from the July 13 – 23.
Zhou said that the Centre for Creative Arts, the home of the Durban Film Festival, has had an ongoing relationship with the prison. “We provides books to the prison in order to improve literacy levels and we thought why not expand it to beyond literature?”
Movies will also be screened at the popular Max’s Lifestyle, a shiysanyama venue and tavern in Umlazi.
The double story township establishments owned by Max Mqadi is one of only three South African restaurants to make Conde Nast’s “Best Restaurants in the World” in 2016.
“It is very vibey and a great space. They have a big screen, a lot of traffic, good food and we thought we should tap into that market,” said Zhou, “We hope that the films we show will activate interest in the festival. We want people of Durban to know what is happening and to take part.”
Movies will screen at Max’s every afternoon from Monday 17 to Friday 21.
The outreach programme will also include screenings libraries, museums and colleges around Durban, as well as Ushaka Marine World.
Zhou, who started her career as a soapie actress on Zimbabwean television, said she saw her role as delivering a festival that would stimulate the industry in Africa. Her main priorities are audience development and using the festival as a means of advancing the work of emerging filmmakers.
In total 225 films will be screened – 49 documentaries; 90 feature films; 56 shorts; and 30 local, micro budget films.
Opening the festival will be “Serpent” a South African written and directed suspense thriller from first-time feature filmmaker Amanda Evans. The film has been described as a “tightly wound, psychological time bomb”.
The closing film will be Mbongeni Ngema's Asinamali , adapted from the Broadway hit show of the same name and featuring a new musical score. The iconic anti-apartheid musical is produced by Ngema and Oscar nominee Darrell Roodt.
The festival will also pay tribute to film stalwarts who passed away last year - Joe Mafela, veteran television and film actor and leading South African movie producer Junaid Ahmed. There will be a retrospective of the works of both legends.