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2015 UKZN 36th Durban Film Festival Personal reflection

Sep 10, 2015

May the odds be ever in your favour!

By: Amanda Ndaba


I came into this with little expectation. Isn’t that the advice people whose hearts have been broken give to the naïve? Anyway, I had no expectation, I wanted to be surprised, I wanted to be thrilled, romanced, wined and dined and left wanting more. I did, I wanted more. What I got well… It can’t be adequately sampled into neat sentences, that don’t overlap the margins, that carry the right commas and full stops in all the right places. The Durban Film Festival (from this side of the ropes) was an experience. It really was. It was an experience! In an epic, fantastic, awesome sort of way that leaves you so exhausted and yet smiling from ear to ear like you’ve just seen Chris Hemsworth with his shirt off in your shower (you know if that kind of thing does it for you. It does just by the way, it so does!).


From the meetings to fetching my media pass, I hadn’t exactly thought out what it would be like on the other side of the ropes, it was daunting, scary, exciting! We were given schedules and like the good little schedule-freak that I am I planned, and tried so hard to stick with it. It was thrilling that first day, I only had one film scheduled; a documentary, so to while the time till it came I attended a talk about “Realness,” a workshop that a few creative minds were thinking of starting for writers (it sounded really cool by the way! Highly recommend people read up on it). I sat in the group of people discussing this incubation (My thoughts immediately went to Lady Gaga and her incubation period! I know Pop Culture you can’t escape it) seminar and how amazing it was and I realised; these are my people. Not in a soppy lets hold hands and talk about how connected we were spiritually. Its something amazing to come to that realisation. Beyond friendships, or school/college mates, or family, I realised that the people I was in the presence of were my people. Creative people. We had all stumbled around in life, did Lord knows what but we had all found ourselves in the same place, at the same time to explore and engage in this. Film. The Durban International Film Festival (Experience) to be exact. Might I add that no man with a long beard, in a white robe came to welcome me into the inner-sanctum (what an anti-climax) instead we all pretty much talked about how great this incubation workshop seemed and then I went off to see my first doccie.


From then on it was thrilling. The experience and privilege I received is ineffable. No weight or measure can be put on it. I got to walk into these different moments of consciousness of in all these creative and amazing people, and explore the inner workings of their minds and how it is that they experienced and saw the world. I got to delve into the deeper parts of their creative and explore narratives and worlds, ideas, moments in peoples lives (actual people, who could inadvertently or perhaps consciously change mine or inspire me in some way shape or from). Film is one of those art pieces that I am obsessed with and hold sacred. Being allowed to experience them on this level was without a doubt an honour and I had the chance to share my experience with these films, with others. Whether the films were great (they were) or not (only one) was, I think, irrelevant. I gained so much more, I think, than I gave back and for that I would be eternally grateful.


I’ve never been a “it’s the journey, not the destination,” type of person. Its always about the destination. There are few times where the journey has had profound or lasting impact on me. I could probably count the number of times on my one hand, but this ¾ the journey, this experience ¾  has been far greater than any destination I could reach. Those ten, wonderful, brilliant, great days could not be summed up, written down, condensed into human understanding, no, they deserved to be experienced first hand to understand just how wonderful, brilliant and great they were.

 Amanda Ndaba

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