Durban Film Festival concludes

MUMBAI: The 31st Durban International Film Festival concluded on 1 August. The festival that started from 22 July picked Iranian film The White Meadows as the best film.

Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof, the film was lauded by the International Jury as a timeless and poetic narrative. "The film conjures up a landscape that is visually stunning and intriguing because it is both harsh and beautiful. It is an enigmatic and poignant political allegory and takes the viewers through a journey on life‘s fundamental questions and beliefs," the jury said. The Best Feature Film award carries a cash prize of R50,000.

The Best South African Feature Film was awarded to Oliver Schmitz‘s Life, Above All. Calling it a beautifully filmed and masterfully edited film with astounding performances, the jury highlighted the film‘s "universal resonance." A cash prize of R25,000 was awarded to the film.

Thirteen year old Khomotso Manyaka who played the role of Chanda in the film was named Best Actress by the International Jury. "It was a natural and touching performance that movingly portrays the resilience, determination and integrity of her character," claimed the jury.

The Best First Feature Film award went to Peepli Live directed by Anusha Rizvi. "Peepli Live is an ambitious and well-realised film that deals with serious political issues in a witty and entertaining manner. It creates an enchanting world of colourful characters, images and music that engrosses viewers throughout," the jury noted.

The International Jury comprised producers Aihara Hiromi (Japan) and Christoph Thoke (Germany) and South African academic, writer and producer Bhekizizwe Peterson.

The jury awarded the Best Director award to Debra Granik for the US film Winter‘s Bone. "The director‘s vision shows a remarkable attention to the details that make up all the aspects of production, resulting in an intensely atmospheric and sensitive film," the jury commented.

The best documentary award went to a UK/Brazil co-production Waste Land directed by Lucy Walker, Joao Jardim and Karen Harley. The documentary was also voted ‘Audience Choice Best Film by the DIFF audiences and additionally it was also awarded the Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award that is awarded to the documentary film that best reflects human rights issues. The award carries a cash prize of 2500 euros.

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