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2016 Durban International Film Festival Award Winners

The Durban International Film Festival announces its award-winners for 2016

On Saturday, 25 June award winners of the Durban International Film Festival’s 37th edition were announced at the Playhouse. Followed by a screening the closing film, The Space in Between – Marina Abramovic and Brazil to close the ceremony.

  • The Violin Player received the award for the Best Feature Film, under the direction of Bauddhayan Mukherji.

A seductively mysterious tale of a violin player’s mundane life and an interesting take on how chance encounters are almost predestined. By successfully weaving offbeat editing, brave cinematography, simple screenplay, honest direction and a lot of surprising elements, the film shows us that art, no matter how unimportant it may seem, can change peoples lives.

  • The award for Best South African Feature Film went to Tess (a 2013 Durban FilmMart project), under the direction of Meg Rickards. The jury describes this film as “a measured and uncompromising debut feature.”
  • The Best Documentary award went to Martha and Niki under the direction of Tora Mkandawire Martens, which the jury describes as “visual feast that skillfully intertwines a profound reflection on (an) art form with the inner journey of two compelling characters.”
2016 Durban International Film Festival Award Winners
Martha and Niki directed by Tora Mkandawire Martens. Image courtesy of Versfeld & Associates

The jury made a special mention of Action Commandante, also a former Durban FilmMart project, by Nadine Cloete, for “its exceptional quality and commitment to its subject matter.”

  • The Best SA Documentary went to The Journeymen, under the direction of Sean Metelerkamp. The citation from the jurors said “The Journeymen takes an unflinching look at who we are by holding up the proverbial mirror to South African society. The honesty, bravery and commitment of the film crew results in a mosaic picture of our country with warts and all. This is strong and uncompromising cinema that is simultaneously disturbing and life-affirming.”
  • Best Short Film went to Grandma’s Day (Dzie’n Babci) under the direction of Milosz Sakowski.

The Durban International Film Festival jury also made special mention in this category of the film Ave Maria directed by Basil Khalil.

  • The Best African Short Film Award, which is also supported by the Gauteng Film Commission, went to New Eyes under the direction of Hiwot Admasu.
  • eKhaya (Home), under the direction of Shubham Mehta won the Best South African Short Film award, which is supported by the Gauteng Film Commission as well.
2016 Durban International Film Festival Award Winners
The Journeymen directed by Sean Metelerkamp. Image courtesy of Versfeld & Associates.

Notably, the shorts jury also made special mention of two other films in this category: Amagugu directed by Ndududo Shandu and Discovery of Fire directed by Gerhard Pretorius.

  • The Best Actor Award went to Mohsen Namjoo for his performance in Radio Dream, under the direction of Babak Jalali.
  • The award for Best Actress went to Christia Visser for her role as Tess in Tess under the direction of Meg Rickards.
  • The awards for Best Direction andBest Screenplay went to Ciro Guerra (and Thoedor Koch-Grunberg) for Embrace Of The Serpent.
  • Best Cinematography to Chris Lotz for The Endless River.
  • A new award, the Best Editing , sponsored by SAGE (South Africa Guild of Editors), went to the to Tess which was edited by Linda Man.
  • The award for Artistic Bravery was given to Neon Bull directed by Gabriel Mascaro for its unique portrayal of a little-known community of Brazilian Rodeo workers.
  • The Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award for the film that best reflects human rights issues, which comes with a cash prize donated by the Artists for the Human Rights Trust, went to Noma, directed by Pablo Pineda.
2016 Durban International Film Festival Award Winners
Tess directed by Meg Rickards. Image courtesy of Versfeld & Associates.

Participating Jury at the Durban International Film Festival

The international jury this year included four jurors: 

  • Bianca Balbuena, an award-wining producer from the Philippines, 
  • Fibby Kioria, the programme director of Maisha Foundation, an initiative founded by Mira Nair to empower visionary filmmakers in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda,
  • Sherif Awad, a film critic who currently works for the Luxor African Film Festival, and
  • Trevor Steele Taylor, a veteran of festivals in South Africa, having programmed for the Cape Town International Film Festival, the Weekly Mail & Guardian Film Festival and DIFF and is the curator for film the National Arts Festival. 

In addition, the South African feature film jury includes film-makers Jahmil Qubeka and Melissa Parry. While film-makers Rehad Desai, Omelga Mthiyane and Riaan Hendricks make up the documentary jurors were. Finally, film-makers Neil Coppen and Sumayya Rawat are the short film jurors.

The Amnesty Jury includes: Coral Vinsen, Nonhlanha Mkhize, Betty Rawheath and Mark Povall.

For more information go to for more details.

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