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Inset left: Ayanda Director Mrs Sara Blecher with
her family. Inset right: Mr Kishore Gobardan;
Dr Nisha Singh and DVC Humanities Professor
Cheryl Potgieter.

The 36th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities, recently screened the highly anticipated movie Ayanda from director Mrs Sara Blecher.

Blecher and the talented cast walked up the red carpet to their seats in the cinema which created a great buzz of excitement among the capacity audience. South Africa celebrities that also graced the occasion were actresses Hlubi Mboya (Isidingo), Xolile Tshabalala (Generations), Terry Pheto (Tsotsi) and comedian David Kau.

The opening film is a coming-of-age story of a 21 year old Afro-hipster Ayanda, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery when she has to fight to save her late father’s legacy – a motor repair shop – when it is threatened with closure.

Ayanda is thrown into a world of greasy overalls, gender stereotypes and abandoned vintage cars in need of a young woman’s re-inventive touch to bring them back to life again.

Of the movie, DIFF Director, Mr Pedro Pimenta said, ‘Ayanda offers an interesting and positive convergence of talents style, resources and distribution potential for the film market.

While the film’s director Blecher added, ‘We are very proud of Ayanda and are thrilled to have it selected as the opening film. It was a film made for my two daughters and I wanted to do a film that showcases the incredible vibrancy of the country. This project was in the market at DIFF and through the platforms that DIFF offered, it allowed us to make this film. It is indeed an honour to premiere the film here in Durban and as part of the festival.’

Addressing the audience on opening night, DVC and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, said: ‘We are both delighted and proud to host the festival. DIFF dovetails into the strategic goals, vision and mission of the University. And we will continue to work with our partners to further grow the festival.’

Provincial MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu recognised the hard work of UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) in steering the festival to world class standards and playing a pivotal role in unearthing talent in the country.

He also applauded the cast and crew of Ayanda. ‘It is a film well done and with a female producer at the helm, it brings to light that we are moving in the right direction of gender parity and transformation.’

Mayor of eThekwini Municipality Councillor James Nxumalo further recognised the film festival as a contributory factor in economic and social development. ‘The festival further contributes to the development of the film industry in the country and Africa, leading to job creation and exposing talent. We will continue to support this festival.’

Director of Professional Services for the College Mr Kishore Gobardan added that DIFF is a key player in global cinema with the festival creating a platform for the College’s Drama, Media and Film students to network and engage on. ‘It is also great that government is acknowledging and supporting the festival as an important vehicle for social change,’ said Gobardan.

For full festival details go to www.durbanfilmfest.co.za or phone 031 260 2506 or 031 260 1816.