(CNN) — The long-running Durban International Film Festival is back and this year its offering cinema lovers a host of child porn must-see movies.
From Kenyan crime thrillers and Ghanaian romantic comedies to insightful documentaries celebrating the achievements of Nelson Mandela or 20 years of democracy in South Africa, festival goers are spoiled for choice.
Overall, the 35th DIFF includes more than 200 theatrical screenings of local and international productions, including 40 feature-length films, 38 short films and more than 50 documentaries. It is also showcasing a selection of some of the best environmental and wildlife movies as part of the Durban Wild Talk Africa Film Festival.
Here, African Voices highlights some of the films screened at DIFF this year — the festival runs from July 17 -27; for the full schedule, click here.
Veve — dir. Simon Mukali, Kenya & Germany, 2014
Filmmakers showcase their work in Zanzibar
Celebrating film on an island without cinemas
Zanzibars deserted cinemas
From the award-winning producers of 2012s hit Nairobi Half Life, comes a new crime thriller set around the khat — a mild narcotic crop — industry in Kenya. Veve sees popular actress Lizz Njagah take on the character of Esther, the lonely wife of a corrupt local politician who falls for the towns bad boy, Kenzo. Unbeknownst to her, Kenzo is at the heart of a scheme to bring about the downfall of Esthers Khat kingpin spouse.
Difret — dir. Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, Ethiopia, 2013
A film from Zeresenay Berhane Mehari and executive producer Angelina Jolie, the 99-minute feature is based on a true story which deftly examines the issues faced today by women and girls in rural Ethiopia. Protagonist Hirut is a teenager kidnapped as she makes her way home from school. Tension mounts as she faces the increasing prospect of rape by her male kidnappers. Luckily, the astute young woman manages to steal a rifle and escape, but not before killing one of her would-be rapists. As local justice falls on the side of the male perpetrators, only one person, the head of a local not-for-profit, fights to save the young teens life.
Read: Best African films of 21st Century
The Two of Us — dir. Ernest Nkosi, South Africa, 2014
South African film The Two of Us makes its world premiere at this years DIFF. First-time filmmaker Ernest Nkosi tells the story of a tempestuous sibling relationship between Thulas and Zanele and their lives in the Alexandra township. Burdened by a childhood of observing his sisters abuse, Thulas develops an overprotective need to help his sister which comes to a head when Zanele falls in love with an older man. Themes accessible to an international audience but with a distinctly local flavor, it is a strong directorial debute from Nkosi.
Living Funeral — dir. Udoka Oyeka, Nigeria, 2013
A 21-minute short, Living Funeral is a powerful story of courage in the face of imminent death. Nigerian director Udoka Oyeka tells the tale of Yvette, a young woman diagnosed with terminal breast cancer who stoutly helps her family come to terms with the inevitable by holding her own mock funeral.
From Morocco to Hollywood
Wegkruipertjie — dir. Chatre Chafford, South Africa, 2013
Lupita Nyongo: From Kenya to Hollywood
Putting Africa on the fashion map
Bandele: I had to make Half of a Yellow Sun
Wegkruipertjie (which translates from Afrikaans to mean Hide and Go Seek) is a brilliant stop-motion animation directed by Chatre Chafford. The 10-minute short tells the story of seven-year-old Anna, who is struggling to overcome the loss of her mother during a farm raid. Grappling with intense loneliness, the young girl withdraws into an imaginary world making friends with Bersie.
Wild Talk Africa
Black Mamba: The Kiss of Death — dir. Kira Ivanoff, South Africa, 2013
Black Mamba: The Kiss of Death cautiously explores the world of one of Africas most poisonous reptiles, the Black Mamba. Directed by Kira Ivanoff, the 50-minute doco offers a secret insight into an often feared creature trying to find a home to incubate her eggs while avoiding her biggest enemy — man.
Lady Baboon, dir. Adrian Cale, South Africa, 2014
Meet Rita Miljo, an unusual elderly German woman who lives with 500 baboons. While many see the primates as pests, Miljo has spent decades trying to save them. South African director Adrian Cale tells the story of a conservationist willing to do whatever it takes. A heartwarming insight into protecting natures unwanted little people.
Miners Shot Down — dir. Rehad Desai, South Africa, 2014
An 85-minute documentary brought to life by director/producer Rehad Desai. The film follows the August 2012 Marikana miners strike in which over 30 employees were gunned down by police while protesting for better pay.
A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake — dir. Michael Lessac, South Africa & the U.S., 2014
Michael Lessacs latest film follows a group of actors as they embark on a world tour of Truth in Translation, a play which looks at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in South Africa after the abolition of Apartheid. As the troop travel through former war-torn lands, including Northern Ireland, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the documentary explores the theme of national reconciliation. The highly-anticipated film, which also features new music from jazz legend Hugh Masekela, will make its world premiere at this years festival.
Read: Best African films of 21st Century
Read: An unseen side of S. African icons revealed
Watch: The rise of Lupia Nyongo
Watch: Zanzibars deserted cinemas
(CNN) — The long-running Durban International Film Festival is back and this year its offering cinema lovers a host of child porn must-see movies.
(CNN) — Eminem and Rihannas Monster is headed for the MTV Movie Awards.
The duo will perform the No. 1 hit live for the first time at 2014s show, which is scheduled to air on Sunday, April 13. Theyll join previously announced performers Ellie Goulding, Zedd and twenty one pilots.
Through user votes, the MTV Movie Awards honors the best, funniest and most absurd in movies from the prior year with the networks version of a trophy: the golden popcorn statue. This years ceremony will be led by late night host and comedian Conan OBrien.
Itll also be a big night for Channing Tatum, who will receive MTVs Trailblazer Award. Tatum, 33, is the first male star to receive the honor, which is in its third year and recognizes actors whove taken unique and diverse paths to success.
Prior recipients include Emma Watson and Emma Stone, the latter of whom will make an appearance by video during the ceremony. Stone and her Amazing Spider-Man co-star Andrew Garfield are scheduled to reveal a never-before-seen clip from their May release, The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
The MTV Movie Awards will kick off Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, and fans can still cast their vote for who should win.
Following their performance at the MTV Movie Awards, Eminem and Rihanna will gear up for a brief joint tour this August, when theyll co-headline tour stops in Los Angeles, New York and Detroit.
Editors note: Tara Wall is senior strategist for media and engagement at the Republican National Committee and founder of the PTP Foundation for Media Arts. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN) — I cant remember exactly when I began reading Ebony. Ive been flipping — now scrolling — its pages as long as I can remember. Like family, its just always been there and helped form my perspective.
Thats why it was so troubling for me when a senior editor of the esteemed magazine, Jamilah Lemieux, recently went on a Twitter tirade against black Republicans, failing to uphold the standards that Id come to expect from Ebony.
I care about NOTHING you have to say, she wrote while disparaging conservatives and Republicans in general.
This was not the Ebony Id grown up with, I thought, the Ebony Id worked with, that encouraged political discourse and diversity of opinion. To my relief, the next day, Ebony issued an apology for its editors actions after receiving a letter from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
EBONY strongly believes in the marketplace of ideas, the editors wrote in their response. And we all should. Any good publication allows for diversity of thought. Any good journalist should be able to listen to all sides of an issue. She should not resort to the virtual equivalent of putting her fingers in her ears.
As a conservative black woman, I understand Im in the minority of a minority. But I challenge all of those who disagree with me to listen to what my party has to say. Are your opinions based on hasty assumptions? Or were they formed after reasoned debate?
We dont have to agree on every issue. We shouldnt. But we cant claim to be informed citizens if we refuse even to hear another perspective.
And its never been more important for us to be informed than at a time when our political clout as black Americans, especially black women, is growing. In last years gubernatorial race in Virginia, where I live, black women turned out to vote at a rate higher than other demographic groups, according to exit polls, just as we did in the past two presidential elections. Its in our interest to understand the full spectrum of political ideas.
Most black Americans only need to ask a parent or grandparent to hear stories of when the opinions, views and voices of blacks were silenced, not because of what they said but because of who we are.
12 Years a game changer for diversity
Students fight racial bias on campus
Vanity Fair praised for diverse cover
Some of us have experienced that bigotry firsthand. How can any one of us, then, be so quick to refuse to listen to others?
If you take the time to listen, you might be surprised at what you hear. Ask a Republican about education policy, and you might learn that she is fighting to ensure school choice is the right of parents to choose the school thats right for their kids, regardless of their ZIP code.
Yes, Republicans agree with the majority of black parents.
If a black female entrepreneur asked a conservative about economic policy, she might learn that Republicans at every level of government are fighting to streamline regulations so that she can grow her business faster, hire more workers and keep more of what she earns.
Yes, Republicans are fighting for her, too.
If the young black millennial whos looking for work asked a Republican congressman what hed done for him lately, hed hear about the 40 jobs bills that the Republican-led House of Representatives has passed but the Democrat-run Senate has refused to consider.
Yes, you might be surprised.
In the course of my career, Ive worked as a journalist and held editorial management positions at a number of media outlets. Objectivity and balanced coverage were demanded; personal views could not and did not interfere with a reporters duty to tell the full story.
Thats because journalism and political discourse must make room for a diversity of opinions. The marketplace of ideas can sort out whats right, wrong, persuasive and not. And it wont be the same for every person.
But for me and many others, conservative policy solutions offer more financial freedom, greater religious freedom and more economic opportunities.
And if you cant understand why, well, thats all the more reason why we need to engage in meaningful political discussion.
Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.
Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.
London (CNN) — When you cant build up theres only one solution — build down.
At least thats the theory in some of Londons wealthiest neighborhoods.
The UK capital is in the midst of a luxury basement boom, with well-heeled residents and developers excavating large areas underneath their homes and gardens.
Some have used the extra space gained to install the likes of cinemas, gyms, wine cellars, golf simulators, bowling alleys and even swimming pools.
In the stylish borough of Chelsea and Kensington alone, there were 450 basement applications in 2013, according to figures provided to CNN by the local council. Thats a 46% increase on 2012 and more than 500% increase on 2003 figures.
Reports indicate a similar story in nearby Westminster as well as Hammersmith and Fulham.
People have been piling into the basement sector in recent years, explained Stephen Merritt, managing director of specialist dig-down firm, London Basement. Were probably doing around 30 to 40 projects a year now. (Clients) are definitely pushing the envelope more and more … to create new basement space.
See also: Where are the worlds most expensive luxury properties?
Wish Town offers smarter living
Israeli tech boom fuels Golden Kilometer
Kurdish capitals property boom
A lack of room and strict planning laws dictate that the facade of many of Londons picturesque Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian-era neighborhoods must maintain their original character and outward appearance.
This annuls the possibility of large extensions upwards and outwards. The simplest alternative therefore is to go down, Merritt explained.
The price per square foot (of basement extension) in areas we work in is probably £400 to £500 per square foot (between $660 and $830 per sq ft). The extra space this brings is probably worth double that, he added.
As the UK property market heats up again, the extra value a kitted-out basement can provide is clearly an appealing option for investors and homeowners.
But while underground digs are an increasingly common sight, the general concept of extending down is not new to London. Merritt says his company alone has been excavating in plush areas like Kensington since the mid to late 90s.
The difference today, however, is that the projects are becoming increasingly luxurious and ambitious. They have also spread to more modest, although still attractive neighborhoods, such as West Kensington, Wandsworth, Clapham and Fulham.
See also: Shipping containers offer housing solution
In some famous cases the operations extend as many as five stories underground.
Property mogul Leonard Blavatnik as well as composer Andrew Lloyd Webber have both reportedly excavated large areas beneath their palatial London properties in recent years.
Billionaire mobile phone mogul John Caudwell, meanwhile, has applied to dig beneath two mansions in the citys Mayfair district, replacing an existing basement pool and sauna area while extending further down.
These so called iceberg basements are the exception rather than the rule, however. Most extensions drop just one or two floors beneath the ground.
A mock-up of a London iceberg basement (Inez Torre/CNN)
I think for any property with a value over £2 million ($3.2 million) a basement extension is certainly a consideration for the owners, explained Rob Atkins of London estate agency, Domus Nova. If youve lived in a house for 15 and 20 years and you cannot get a move for the right value then it is an option that can suit that growing family.
You are now expected to pay 7% stamp duty (a tax on land and property transactions) on a move of over £2 million. All in, then, it might cost you 10% of your sell or your purchase to move house so people are looking inwardly instead of moving, he added.
These trends are similarly noted by developer Blaze Stojanovski. He believes the investment in a basement extension can be a smart one if made in the right location. Stojanovski currently owns 28 properties around west London and has added 11 basement extensions in recent years.
Indias city of contrasts
Bangkoks high rise development
Worlds tallest residential tower
On a price per square foot basements are hugely expensive, which is why 10 years ago people werent really building them, he said. As Fulham and other areas have come up price wise we have got to a stage where it is cost effective to dig basements.
See also: Indias luxury property starlet
But while keen to stress his experience of the positives, Stojanovski is also quick to point out that adding a basement in just any old house wont work.
If you get the wrong property you could easily break even or lose money, he continued. You have to make sure that the property is on the right street and it can justify a big investment like a basement.
Neighbours and those nearby, however, arent always as keen.
Horror stories abound in Londons local papers of skips falling through streets as the earth beneath is hollowed out while complaints about the inconvenience of noise and dust from dig sites is common.
Our members have become increasingly worried by the nastiness of having great big holes dug next door to them, said Terence Bendixson, honorary secretary of planning at the Chelsea Society.
Randa Hanna of the Belgravia Residents Association meanwhile described a multitude of problems for residents in her area. There were cases of serial fraud (with builders). There have also been instances of flooding and problems for neighbors living next door to the work, she added.
A basement dig in Kensington, London
For the likes of Stojanovski and Merritt, these negative experiences are a genuine concern. Merritt believes there are few bad apples in the industry guilty of cutting corners but points to his own companys award-winning reputation as a considerate constructor.
As it stands, however, these complaints have done little to halt the attraction or number of applications for luxury basement digs.
There have been rumors regarding a changing of the rules to limit underground extensions but these have yet to to be implemented in any London borough.
See also: Iraqs unlikely property hotspot
Given the international diversity of Londons wealthiest residents and property investors, Stojanovski can even see the trend for subterranean extensions spreading to cities in other countries where space is tight and demand high.
Many of his current tenants are from outside the UK, while the majority of his recent sales have been to wealthy foreign investors.
These people will be living and getting used to living in houses with basements, he said. They will consider that and probably talk about that when they go back home.
Therefore I wouldnt be surprised if you see that kind of basement living incorporated in houses for example in Paris, Rome, Vienna or Moscow in the future, he added.
Editors note: CNNs On the Road series brings you a greater insight into the history, customs and culture of Ghana. escort CNN explores the places, the people and the passions unique to this African nation.
(CNN) — Funerals in Ghana are not only an occasion to mourn. They are also an opportunity to celebrate the life of the dearly departed.
Hardly ever a somber, low-key affair, Ghanaian funerals are a social event attended by a large number of mourners, which could reach hundreds — the more, the better.
That means the person was very friendly, very charitable, was good to socialize, was having a good communication with the people within the society, says Jamima, a family friend who attends the funeral of the 70-year-old Joanna Boafo in the town of Kumasi.
Ghanaians may spend as much money on funerals as on weddings, sometimes even more.
An average funeral should cost between $15,000-$20,000, says Kwaku, a funeral planner who is in charge of 30 funeral parties on this one day alone.
I think if she is anywhere, if my mother is anywhere right now, she will be very happy
That includes the obligatory giant, colorful billboards that announce funeral arrangements. The billboards, which may cost from nearly $600 to $3,000, are placed at strategic spots for everybody to see, often dotting the cities skylines.
Most funerals are held on the weekends, most frequently on Saturdays. Mourners, usually dressed in black or black and red traditional funeral clothing, may travel to other towns or villages, and in turn they expect the bereaved families to provide food, drinks, music and dance.
The extravagance also extends to the caskets.
A Ghanaian worker crafts a coffin that looks like a bottle of cola.
Coffins have become a statement in Ghana. They are usually brightly colored and elaborate. They may have fanciful shapes that resemble the deads favorite objects, or represent their profession.
Thus, a carpenter may have a coffin shaped like a hammer, or a shoe for a shoemaker. There are also caskets shaped like Coca-Cola bottles and airplanes.
Ghanaians revere the dead so much that funerals are at the heart of Ghanaians social life.
Lavish spending on funerals has invited criticism from political and religious leaders.
We are investing in the dead rather than the living … and that is bad, legislator Alban Bagbin once said.
Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, the Archbishop of Accra, said: The surest way to remember the dead is not the type of coffins used to bury them nor is not the type of cloth or T-shirt won during their funerals, but doing something positive for the dead which would benefit the living.
Kicking the bucket with a nice brogue.
Funeral rites also involve some official crying by mourners, as well as praying. The Boafos, like many grieving Ghanaian families, hold a church service for Joanna as well.
But the rest of the funeral ritual is purely party time.
I think she would be very happy, says Richard, son of Joanna, as mourners are dancing and having a good time. I think if she is anywhere, if my mother is anywhere right now, she will be very happy.
See also: Ghana: Keeping one of Africas stars of democracy shining
See also: Bamboo bikes turn around fortunes for working women in Ghana
Yenni Kwok contributed to this report.
CNNs On the Road series often carries sponsorship originating from the countries we profile. However CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reports. Read the policy
Will you be watching the Blue Angels perform? Share your photos with CNN iReport.
(CNN) — Clipped wings no more, the Blue Angels are soaring again. The blue and gold jets are returning to the sky after being grounded much of last year because of forced spending cuts.
The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron kicked off the 2014 air show season with its first show Saturday, March 15, at Naval Air Facility El Centro in California.
The nations best military fliers halted their iconic aerobatic performances in April 2013.
But aerospace and military fans are rejoicing as the Blue Angels return this year for more dynamic aerial demonstrations. The team is scheduled for 68 performances at 35 locations between now and November 8.
Hopes and dreams come in all sizes and shapes. You can journal and make collage boards of all the “things” you want in your life but you still have to have the major ingredient of action to make them reality. If changing the geographic location of where you live seems too major, start with making where you are now more livable.
Are you still keeping those bedrooms intact for the children to come home? Get up and clear the room. Turn it into your private space. Take out the easel and the paints and throw down a tarp and begin to let the air out of this mid life crisis. Color it any color you want. Frame and put your own paintings, drawings or creations on the walls. There is no one to criticize you. Actually, most of your friends will either be jealous or copy your every move.
It’s time to make a few decisions with yourself in mind. What do you want in your life? Where are your finances at this point in time? Is it time to downsize, remodel or sell? Is it time to bring out those dusty goals and dreams you put away for the future? The future has arrived. Is it time for a makeover of mind, body and homestead?
Just know for sure that you are not alone. Many aging baby boomers exist out there and have as many questions as you. It’s time to build a boomer sitemap of your own and step into the next phase of your life.