With just under two months until the start of the renowned South African film festival, the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) announced it jury members for its 40th edition.
DIFF, organized by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, takes place from July 18 to 28, in venues around Durban, South Africa.
The three juries for the 40th edition are made up of 15 members that will judge 10 documentaries, 12 features and 88 short films.
The features jury comprises Emrah Kilic (Turkey), Diarah N’Daw-Spech (USA), Laurence Boyce (UK), Diana Keam (South Africa) and Mohammed Siam (Egypt). In the documentary jury are Patricia Van Heerden (SA), Florian Weghorn (Germany), Tracy Clayton (UK/SA), Rehad Desai (SA) and Ziyanda Macingwane (SA). The short film jurors are Jaime E. Manrique (Colombia), Silas Miami, (Kenya), Jacintha De-Nobrega (SA), CJ Obasi (Nigeria) and Mpho Ramathuthu (SA).
Turkey’s Bosphorus Film Festival’s Artistic Director Emrah Kilic is also administrative coordinator of the Turkish cinema magazine Rabarba; and leads the promotion of Turkish Cinema abroad, for example at Berlin and Cannes Film Festivals.
Diarah N’Daw-Spech (USA) is co-founder and co-director of the African Diaspora International Film Festival in New York, that presents, interprets and educates about films that explore the human experience of people of color.
UK-based Laurence Boyce is an experienced festival programmer and moderator, who currently works for the Black Nights Film Festival, an A-List festival in Tallinn, Estonia. He works as both a programmer for the festival’s main competitions and short film section and is an award winning film journalist and critic.
South African Diana Keam is a producer and has vast experience in the film industry that spans across three decades. She has worked with many acclaimed directors including veteran Hollywood feature directors Arthur Penn and John Boorman, as well as some of the top commercial directors around the globe.
Mohammed Siam (Egypt), a prolific film director whose film Amal (a Durban FilmMart alumni project) opened IDFA in 2017. Siam has received several grants as Sundance, World Cinema Fund, CNC, Aide aux Cinémas du Monde, Sorfond, Vision Sud Est, Doha Film Institute and is a Member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (The Oscars).
South African, Patricia Van Heerden is a content strategist for Media24’s VIA channel on the DSTV network in South Africa. She was the co-producer of An Act of Defiance – a biopic about Bram Fischer. Her industry work includes being the Co-Chair of SASFED, a board member of the DFA, working within SOS, and as a judge for the SAFTAS.
Florian Weghorn (Germany) is the Program Manager of Berlinale Talents, the summit and talent development initiative of the Berlin International Film Festival. He also advises the seven other Berlinale Talents offshoots around the world, including Talents Durban.
Tracy Clayton (UK/SA) has over 25 years experience in the South African TV industry, from editing of award-winning television commercials and television drama to feature length documentaries, as well as producing educational drama for prime-time television.
Rehad Desai (SA) is well-known for his hard-hitting impactful films, having produced 20 documentaries (some directed by himself) that have been broadcast internationally, accepted into numerous festivals and been received with critical acclaim. His last film Miners Shot Down won local and international critical acclaim garnering 28 prizes, and Everything Must Fall the last film in a trilogy also won critical acclaim, winning awards at home and abroad. The prize for Best Documentary at One World in Prague in 2019 is the latest and biggest win to date.
South African Ziyanda Macingwane is a production manager, creative and line producer and has worked on a variety of television shows, commercials, dramas, and nature, environment and wildlife documentaries. She is currently Production Analyst at the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission monitoring the development and production of funded films.
Jaime E. Manrique (Colombia) is the founder and director of Laboratorios Black Velvet, an integral cinematographic management company. He is director of communications and launch campaigns for more than 50 Colombian films and film festivals, including the FICCI – Cartagena International Film Festival since 2011.
South Africa’s Durban-based producer Jacintha De-Nobrega is an alumni of the Los Angeles Film School. In LA she worked at a boutique talent agency and in television distribution for eight years before returning to South Africa. She started Arclight Productions based in Durban that recently produced the feature Deep End and Siba’s Adventures – a food television series for Food Network.
Silas Miami is a Cape-Town-based Kenyan storyteller who has written and co-written several feature films that include Supamodo (2018) (Kenya’s Official Submission to the 91st Academy Awards). He is currently developing his feature directorial debut with the KZN Film Commission and is the founding Director of Ten Times Half, a Cape Town-based film production company.
Nigerian CJ Obasi is a director whose film Ojuju & O-Town has screened in many festivals, including the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, Shockproof Film Festival in Prague, New Voices in Black Film Festival in New York, and many others. He has won many awards and nominations including Best Nigerian Film (OJUJU), the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), and the Trailblazer Award at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA).
Mpho Ramathuthu from South Africa is a published author, scriptwriter and creative producer. She has worked in training institutions such as The Scriptwriting Institute and Script-to-Screen in Indigenous Languages, and on a number of television shows including the popular soap drama Muvhango.
“Selecting the jury for any festival is not something we take lightly, as these individuals have a huge responsibility to the films and the filmmakers as they critique and assess them,” says DIFF Festival Manager Chipo Zhou. “We strongly believe we have a very solid team this year, and we look forward to hosting them in Durban, and to their selections and announcements of the winners at our awards ceremony which will now take place earlier on during the festival on July 23.”