The must-see SA films at the Durban Film Festival

2018-07-22 00:00

Johannesburg - The annual Durban International Film Festival is the place where the year's best local and international films screen. Taking place from July 19 to 29, here are four local films you should catch when you're there.

The Tokoloshe

Director: Jerome Pikwane

Busi (Petronella Tshuma), a young destitute woman with dangerously repressed emotions, lands a job as a cleaner at a rundown hospital in the heart of Johannesburg. Desperate for the money so she can bring her younger sister to Johannesburg, she must cope despite the predatory and corrupt hospital manager.

When Busi discovers an abandoned young girl in the hospital, who believes she is being tormented by a supernatural force, Busi must face the demons from her own past to save the child from the abusive monster that pursues them both relentlessly.


Director: Wanuri Kahiu

Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) are two very different girls living in a Nairobi housing estate. Despite the political rivalry that exists between their families, the girls remain close friends, supporting each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. But when they fall in love, they are forced to choose between their safety and their love for each other.

Based on the award-winning short story Jambula Tree by Monica Arac de Nyeko, Rafiki received its debut screening earlier this year as part of the UN Certain Regard selection at Cannes, where it received high praise.

Filled with vision and vitality, this is an important film that deserves to garner as wide an audience as possible.

High Fantasy

Director: Jenna Bass

High Fantasy tells the story of four friends who go on a camping trip to an isolated farm in South Africa’s northern Cape owned by Lexi’s (Francesca Michel) family. She’s invited her two best friends, the politically radical Xoli (Qondiswa James) and the happy-go-lucky Tatiana (Liza Scholtz). Without telling the others, she has also invited a new male friend, Thami (Nala Khumalo), whose chauvinistic attitude immediately puts the three young women on edge.

The friends do their best to get along and survive the weekend together but the next morning when they wake up, all four have swapped bodies. Their reactions vary from horror to disgust to glee, but one thing is agreed: they can’t go home like this. They’ll just have to get along long enough to find a solution. But tension mounts swiftly as conflicts from the past return in force and things that have been left unsaid are suddenly blurted out.


DirectorS: Anjali Nayar, Hawa Essuman

Silas is the inspiring story of Silas Siakor, a political activist who devotes his life to protecting the people and forests of Liberia from multinational corporations and their governmental handmaidens – who hand over land that has belonged to communities for generations to companies who strip it of its timber and replace the natural forests with palm oil plantations. Silas, who had previously exposed the role of logging in funding Liberia’s 14-year civil war, is now set against a new – and more respectable – enemy, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a political darling of the West who has sold off nearly a quarter of the country to foreign interests.

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