The inaugural Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (DGLFF) started last Friday and runs until Sunday at the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts Gallery in Durban.
“The inaugural Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival came about due to a lack of a suitable lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and intrasexed (LGBTI) community events catering to cinema lovers and those people interested in LGBTI-orientated films,” said journalist and LGBTI-rights campaigner Jason Fiddler.
“My principal goal for the DGLFF is to create a comfortable space for all folks to come together, share unique film visual experiences and most importantly, to talk about what they’ve heard and seen. You see, as South Africans, we just don’t talk to each other that much anymore.”
The festival includes a range of feature films and documentaries as well as a number of workshops for filmmakers and audience members.
The festival was conceived and is being organised by Fiddler. According to him, it’s time that Durban, which is already the home of the globally-acclaimed Durban International Film Festival, arguably the nation’s largest single city film event, has its own LGBTI film festival.
The festival is being born in the shadow of the Out In Africa (OIA) Film Festival, which has dominated the LGBTI film scene for 18 years. “I absolutely recognise and applaud the efforts of OIA, especially in its outreach programmes in communities that are often neglected. But they do have limited resources and it’s been a number of years since they’ve been in Durban in a significant way,” he said.
“Also, internationally, most LGBTI film festivals are city-based and we aim to put on a festival that will have a local flavour and more closely meet the needs of the city’s pink community as well as LGBTI filmmakers.”
Fiddler said he consulted with LGBTI groups in the region to ensure that it had a broad buy-in from the community before going forward with the project.
Fiddler is particularly excited about making the DGLFF a platform for local, and especially Durban- and KwaZulu-Natal-based filmmakers. “This year we would like to see the festival become the event for filmmakers to have their pink African premières,” he explains.