The Durban International Festival Commemorates 35th Edition with Festival Poster Retrospective Exhibition at KZNSA

The Durban International Festival Commemorates 35th Edition with Festival Poster Retrospective Exhibition at KZNSA

In celebration of its 35th year, the Durban International Film Festival is delighted to announce a retrospective exhibition of its iconic poster design over the course of its existence. The exhibition will be presented for the duration of the festival at the KZNSA gallery cafe, which also serves as a hub for this year’s short film programme.

Since its inception in 1979, DIFF has grown from strength to strength, and is firmly cemented as a premiere event on the cultural calendar not only in the City of Durban, but across the country, continent and world. Every year, the high anticipation surrounding the ten day feast of cinema is marked by excitement around the release of the invariably innovative and recognizable poster design. For the first time in history, these posters have been brought together into a single collection that narrates the story of the longest-running film festival in the country through its pictorial history. Long-time festival goers will be treated to a nostalgic journey, while first-timers can enjoy an induction into the vivid world of the well-loved event through its graphic design, culminating in this year’s striking poster by Wesley van Eeden. The digital archive of posters can be found at

Opening hours at KZNSA Gallery (166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban) are Tuesday to Friday: 9am - 5pm; Saturday: 9am - 4pm; Sunday, public holidays: 10am - 3pm. Closed on Mondays. Entrance is free, except during short film screenings (R20 entrance).

The Durban International Film Festival takes place from 17 – 27 July 2014. The festival includes more than 200 theatrical screenings and a full seminar and workshop programme, as well as the Wavescape Film Festival, the Wild Talk Africa Film Festival, and various industry initiatives, including the 7th Talents Durban (in cooperation with Talents Berlinale ) and  the 5th Durban FilmMart co-production market (in partnership with the Durban Film Office).  For more information go to 


1st DIFF (1979)             First DIFF takes place. Tickets to screenings cost R1.50. The founder and festival director is Ros Sarkin.

3rd DIFF (1981)            Poster design by Floris Eloff. Screenings take place at West Kine in West St, Durban.

4th DIFF (1982)            Poster design by Maria Criticos. Festival moves to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

5th DIFF (1983)            Poster designer unknown. Festival struggles to acquire films as commercial distributors unaccustomed to film festivals refuse access to films. They even threaten to deny cinema space to other companies who supply the festival with films. Government censorship is     also broadened.

6th DIFF (1984)            Poster design by Pippa Lea. Presented for the first time by the University of Natal (now UKZN).

7th DIFF (1985)            Poster design by Louise Baily. Festival expands to other venues across the city, as well as to Umlazi and other township areas.

8th DIFF (1986)            Poster design by Neville Trickett. First ever section devoted to South African cinema, with ten local documentaries.

9th DIFF (1987)            Poster design by Neville Trickett. South Africa in State of Emergency. DIFF screens Cry, The Beloved Country, and Alan Paton speaks. The programme includes a section on films devoted to Civil Rights and Justice. Corporate sponsors are introduced, including Natal Video, Legends restaurant, Southern Sun Hotels among others.

10th DIFF (1988)          Poster design by Georgia Sarkin.  Venues expanded to include Kine 600, the Playhouse Theatre and UKZN Shepstone 1.

11th DIFF (1989)          Poster design by Zahid Hoosen. The festival states that its policy is “to select films of superior quality which are not readily available in South Africa; films which highlight the problems and shortcomings of our own system; and films which promote political and social change in South Africa.”

13th DIFF (1991)          Poster design by Georgia Sarkin. DIFF creates association with progressive groups such as the National Organisation of Video and Allied Workers (NOVAW) and the Film and Allied Workers Organisation (FAWO).

14th DIFF (1992)          Poster design by Georgia Sarkin. Introduction of workshops and seminars to the programme.

15th DIFF (1993)          Poster design by Georgia Sarkin. Cultural boycotts against SA fade, and DIFF programme expands as a result.

16th DIFF (1994)          Poster design by Georgia Sarkin. DIFF celebrates first festival under democracy. Initiates schools programme and expands to include screenings in rural areas surrounding Durban on a year-round basis.

17th DIFF (1995)          Poster design by Georgia Sarkin. DIFF celebrates one year of democracy and 100 years of cinema.

18th DIFF (1997)          Poster design by Gulam Mather. DIFF returns after one year’s absence, and is scaled down and housed within the Centre for Creative Arts at UND (now UKZN). Gulam Mather takes over as Festival Manager. All screenings take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.           

19th DIFF (1998)          Poster designer unknown. Festival dedicated to Prof. Teddy Sarkin, after the husband of long-time festival director and co-founder, Ros Sarkin, passed away.

20th DIFF (1999)          Poster designer unknown. DIFF celebrates 20 years, and the fact that it is the longest-running film festival in the country. Peter Rorvik takes over officially as director of the CCA, while AJ Nel joins Gulam Mather as Festival Manager.

21st DIFF (2000)           Poster design by ND Mazin (Andy Mason) and D Hadlow. Reintroduction of outreach screenings - in KwaMashu, Ntuzuma and Shongweni. Berea CineCentre is introduced as a new screening venue after its support of Cinema Sublime – a regular Durban screening of arthouse cinema on Sunday evenings.

22nd DIFF (2001)          Poster designer unknown. Nashen Moodley takes over as Festival Manager. Expansion of workshop programme. City of Durban comes on board as principal funder. The festival features a retrospective of films by Djibril Diop Mambety and Oliver Schmitz.

23rd DIFF (2002)          Poster design by Disturbance. Further expanded workshop programme. The closing night film is Amandla!.

24th DIFF (2003)          Poster design by Disturbance. Festival introduces four new venues: Ster Kinekor Nouveau, Gateway, Nu Metro CineCentre - Suncoast, Cinema Screen Entertainment at the Workshop and the Ekhaya Multi-arts Centre, Kwamashu. The festival receives support from the National Film and Video Foundation and the National Lottery. Outreach programme expanded.

25th DIFF (2004)          Poster design by Disturbance. DIFF celebrates its 25th year, and ten years of democracy. It also outlines its principal objectives as such:

“to produce a world class, professionally implemented cinema event; to present a broad selection of culturally diverse, quality films from around the world; to create a special focus on Africa and South Africa and provide an internationally recognized platform to promote South African film and filmmakers; to devise a relevant seminar and workshop programme aimed at filmmakers, aspirant filmmakers and general public; to develop a comprehensive and meaningful outreach screening programme; to strategise effective audience development in all areas and levels; to make KwaZulu-Natal an integral part of the South African film industry.”

26th DIFF (2005)          Poster design by Disturbance. Festival adds Ster Kinekor Musgrave to venues. Wavescape Surf Film Festival comes to DIFF for the first time, including an inflatable screen on the Bay of Plenty lawns.

27th DIFF (2006)          Poster design by Disturbance.  Introduction of the Amnesty Award for films focused on social justice. BAT Centre added as a venue.

28th DIFF (2007)          Poster design by Disturbance. 77 countries represented in the DIFF programme – the most ever. Poverty and Inequality Challenge Film Festival presented as part of DIFF to raise awareness about inequality created through poverty.

29th DIFF (2008)          Poster design by Disturbance. “Love Film/Hate Xenophobia” included as a major theme of the festival following the 2008 xenophobic crisis in South Africa. The first edition of Talent Campus Durban takes place.

30th DIFF (2009)          Poster design by Disturbance.  The festival celebrates its 30th year. The festival hub is located at the Royal Hotel.

31st DIFF (2010)           Poster design by Disturbance. The inaugural Durban Film Mart takes place in association with the Durban Film Office.

32nd DIFF (2011)          Poster design by Disturbance. The festival is dedicated to oppressed Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof. Nashen Moodley leaves the position of Festival Manager to run the Sydney Film Festival.

33rd DIFF (2012)          Poster design by Disturbance. The festival presents a programme of 175 films (as opposed to the 30 films in 1999). Peter Rorvik retires as the director of the CCA.

34th DIFF (2013)          Poster design by Disturbance. Peter Machen takes up the position of Festival Manager. Wild Talk Film Festival and Conference is introduced to the DIFF programme.

35th DIFF (2014)          Poster design by Wesley van Eeden. DIFF celebrates its 35th year, and South Africa celebrates twenty years of democracy.

The 35th Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts at the 
University of KwaZulu-Natal (a special project of the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter) with support from the National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development & Tourism, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, City of Durban, German Embassy, Goethe Institut, Industrial Development Corporation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture and range of other valued partners.