The Durban International Film Festival is one of four festivals presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of Kwazulu-Natal. The other festivals are the Time of the Writer festival, the JOMBA! Dance festival and the Poetry Africa festivals. The Centre for Creative Arts, located in the School of the Arts at the University, is a multi-disciplinary hub which values the power and agency vested in the arts to contribute to social change. Aligned to the University’s academic agenda the festivals also play a vital role in knowledge generation through teaching, learning and research. The festivals are also the University’s interface with its diverse publics.

The Durban International Film Festival fulfils a facilitative function as a promoter of the film industry, creating platforms for networking and cultural exchange. It was initiated as a safe space for intellectual and creative dialogue to initiate conversations that spark innovation and question the world we live in and the lenses through which history is portrayed during a time of conflict and extreme racial tensions.

The programme mainly showcases films from the continent and those made by Africans in the diaspora as well as of African descent. The power of the audiovisual medium isn’t something we can debate about. So potent, it has been used for propaganda purposes by leaders throughout history to serve their cause, it is also this power that has been the cause of their demise. We as the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, would like to harness this power, over the course of September 10 to 20 and share it with the world.

The Festival has curated a film programme that speaks to the historical injustices, and the different ways in which healing and redress are sought through the 21st-century lens under the theme “Shifting Paradigms”. The plots in the selected films, through different lenses, have shown contemporary relevance to the challenges currently being faced by the world which has progressively over the last few years begun to interrogate history to right wrongs and restore human dignity to previously disenfranchised populaces.

We are on the precipice of a renaissance, with the world becoming more interconnected, and the issues affecting a nation, often similar across the globe with varying degrees and contexts. The industry has changed, the way in which film is created and consumed has evolved dramatically and the way we showcase has been propelled into the future, by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Festival will, for the very first time be presented online.

We are grateful to our valued programme partners for their continued support: the US Consulate in Durban, KZN Film Commission, the KZNSA, Durban Film Office through the Durban Filmmart Programme, Talents Durban, National Film & Video Foundation, NEWF, SWIFT and other valued partners. We thank you very much.

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