Now in its sixth edition, the Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival will again be hosted at the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts gallery in Glenwood, Durban, from Friday 19 August until Sunday 28 August.
Bruising for Besos
Over the years, this community-based LGBT film festival has attracted a significant number of film entries from across the globe for a feast of independent productions that has wowed cinema lovers from all backgrounds and persuasions.
“A UK-based festival programmer chatted with me on the phone recently and I was actually quite amazed that, according to her, our humble Festival here is attracting a lot of interest on the international LGBT festival circuit.” says Festival Director Jason Fiddler.
“My efforts to bring to Durban and KZN audiences a lot of what they’ve been asking for has provided a critical platform for both South African and global independent filmmakers tackling gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer stories. These efforts have led to tough choices in final selection and I’m astounded at the range, depth and production quality of films submitted.”
“Regardless of one’s own orientation or preference, I encourage broader audiences to come through and see some genuinely breathtaking and utterly unique storytelling through this incredible medium that is cinema,” enthuses Fiddler. “The DGLFF is all about inclusivity, not exclusivity, and I honestly believe that anyone can appreciate the honesty of these stories and the genuine passion that has gone into their making.”
The official selection, now available from the Festival’s website, totals 65 productions including 10 feature films, 17 documentaries and 38 shorts packaged into eight screenings.
“More than a dozen countries are represented at #DGLFF2016 and I’m proud that we have our first South African LGBT feature, The Rose Ministry, from Johannesburg-based Mmlungisi Msomi and his partner Sekara Mafisa,” says Fiddler
The film tackles the difficult subject of sexuality and religion and tells it from a very contemporary African perspective. With multiple local languages used, and a message of Christians embracing love and not hate, this film will definitely resonate with audiences.
The Rose Ministry
Fiddler has scheduled the film for Sunday 28 August at 3pm to allow those who traditionally can’t, because of transport, make it to city-based cultural events.
Asked if the Festival was not being exclusionary because it’s located at an art gallery in an affluent suburb of Durban, Fiddler responds: “The greatest difficulty I have, as the organiser, is the cost and logistics involved in putting this event on each year with very limited sponsorship. There’s a lot of passion and volunteerism that ensures it even happens.
“So for now I have to keep it in one location and the KZNSA gallery is an amazing cultural space in which to realise this. A number of people don’t realise just how accessible the KZNSA is in terms of proximity to transport routes and it’s brilliant physical openness.”
The Festival opens on Friday 19 August at 8pm with American director Matt Riddlehoover’s latest romantic comedy, What’s The Matter With Gerald? He’s been called the gay Woody Allen and this film is imbued with quirky, dry humour and great heart.
It follows Gerald (Jacob York), a semi-alcoholic, thirty-something trust fund baby, who wakes up every morning in some sort of pain. He’s tried every medical fix he can think of, including acupuncture and reflexology.
When he’s referred to an eccentric jeweller (Kathy Cash) – much to the chagrin of his very staid partner, Charles (Jonathan Everett) – Gerald soon discovers he’s in for a whole lot more than retail therapy. With a touch of magic, the jeweller’s gemstones help Gerald ease his real pain, navigating through a complete re-examination of his life.
“There will be at least eight international and two local filmmakers joining us this year as guests – this is the largest contingent I’ve ever hosted and thankfully they won’t all be arriving at the same time…” jokes Fiddler.
“It shows such incredible faith people have in the DGLFF and its future. We have three guests from India and Pakistan and I hope that Durban’s Indian and Pakistani community will join us in welcoming them and coming to hear of their remarkable, inspiring and sometimes funny stories in both public workshops and at screenings.”
Denmark, a solid Festival supporter, is sending four Danish LGBT filmmakers to attend this year as guests and on the International Jury. Director Peter Larvsen is bringing his potent short film Perpetual, an intense look at young awakening sexuality where lust is often confused for love.
His talented lead Nicolas Wollesen also joins the screening. It should be noted that this film is very much for an adult audience. There will be Q&A after the film, as with many screenings this year.
More information, including the lesbian-themed line-up, can be gleaned from the Festival Schedule available from the festival’s website www.dglff.org.za or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.