Films by Farhadi, Hermanus and Chadwick among winners at South Africa-based film festival.

Asgher Farhadi’s acclaimed drama A Separation has won the Best Feature Film award at the 32nd Durban International Film Festival (July 21-31).

The film was lauded by the jury as a “masterpiece” with “astonishing performances from the ensemble cast” and received the festival’s top cash prize of R50,000 ($7,500).

Receiving a cash prize of R25 000 ($3,750), the Best South African Feature Film was awarded to Oliver Hermanus’ France-South Africa production Skoonheid.

The jury described Hermanus as being on a “remarkable trajectory”, and praised the film’s “subtlety, control and knowledge of film history” and its ability to “tell a complex South African story with universal appeal”.

The Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award went to South African production Sobukwe, A Great Soul, directed by Mickey Madoda Dube and Best First Feature Film went to Matthew Gordon for The Dynamiter (USA).

Justin Chadwick’s Kenya-set The First Grader, the story of an 80-year-old Kenyan man struggling to get the education he was previously denied, won the audience award. The film’s actors Oliver Litondo and Tony Kgoroge, executive producer Anant Singh and guest of honour, Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile were in attendance at the film’s premiere last weekend (July 24) at the festival

The Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre For Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) with support by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, HIVOS, City of Durban, German Embassy of South Africa, Goethe Institute of South Africa, Industrial Development Corporation and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture.