Environmental Films at the Durban International Film Festival 2014

Submitted by: Nadia Shah, Thursday, July 10, 2014

<p>The Durban International Film Festival will showcase over 250 screenings at venues in and around Durban from the 17th-27th of July. (Image Source:DIFF)</p>

The Durban International Film Festival will showcase over 250 screenings at venues in and around Durban from the 17th-27th of July. (Image Source:DIFF)

The 35th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) has plenty on offer for nature lovers, environmental enthusiasts and those interested in sustainable living. DIFF, South Africa’s largest and longest running film festival is hosted by the University of KwaZulu Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts. The 2014 edition of the festival will showcase over 250 screenings at venues in and around Durban from the 17th-27th of July.

As part of DIFF’s partnership with Durban Wild Talk Africa, the festival will include a selection of some of the best environmentally themed documentaries from around the world.

Here are our picks of environmental films showing at the DIFF this year:

The Human Scale

It is expected that by the year 2050, 80% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Rapid urbanisation has given rise to megacities which do not take our social needs into account. In this film, Professor Jan Gehl, a Danish architect illustrates the influence urban design has on human behaviour and looks at how we can build cities in a way that promotes human interaction.

Cinema Nouveau: Monday, 21 July (18.00– 19.25)

Tide Lines

A largely South African crew set of on a 40 000 mile yachting adventure around the world. Along their journey they encounter a massive garbage gyre which reveals the impacts plastic debris has had on our oceans.

Musgrave: Monday, 21 July (20.00– 21.40)


Damnation, United States, 2014. (Image Source:DIFF)


Dams were once seen as a symbol of national pride in America, this view is changing as more people become aware of the impacts dams have on the health of rivers and the ecosystems they support. This film explores the how nature is altered by dams and how environmental restoration can be achieved by the demolishment of obsolete dams. 

Suncoast: Sunday, 27 July (17:30 – 19:00)


The Ghosts In Our Machine, Canada, 2013. (Image Source:DIFF)

The Ghosts In Our Machine

This film explores the commodification of animals as we utilise them for food, clothing, product research and entertainment. It covers stories of animals from around the world living in and rescued from global animal industries.

Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel: Saturday, 19 July (15:00– 16:35)


Unearthed, South Africa, 2014. (Image Source:DIFF)


Hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ in the Karoo has been met with much resistance from the environmental community due to the threat is poses to water security, wildlife and humans in the area. However, the job creation it offers also brings hope to an impoverished community suffering from high levels of unemployment. It is for this reason that filmmaker Jolynn Minnaar keeps an open mind during her investigation. Her journey leads her to America, where she exposes the environmental and human health implications of the fracking industry.

Musgrave: Friday, 18 July (18.00-19.30) and Sunday 20 July (13.00-14.30)


Watermark, Canada, 2013. (Image Source:DIFF)


Watermark illustrates our relationship with water by sharing case studies from around the world. From abalone farms in China to monumental dams, sacred rivers the ice sheets of Greenland, this ultra high definition film takes us on a journey to explore our most precious resource.

Suncoast: Thursday, 24 July (18.00 – 19.35)


Microtopia, Sweden, 2013. (Image Source:DIFF)


Portable and flexible housing is emerging as a solution to reducing our impact on the earth. Microtopia gains insight into the reasoning of individuals who occupy these unusual spaces, and the ingenious technology that supports their lifestyles.

Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre: Saturday, 26 July (16.00 – 17.00)

For more information visit the Durban International Film Festival website.

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