A FEAST of movies is expected when filmmakers from around the world converge on the 30th Durban International Film Festival.

The festival, to take place throughout Durban, including its townships, will kick off on Thursday and run until Augus 2.

It is used as a platform for filmmakers to showcase their craft. Over the years, this has proved to be a well rrom which aspirant filmmakers to acquire knowledge and technique.

Organisers have appealed to movie lovers to seize the opportunity to be on the lookout for some of the best films around .

Peter Rorvik, a director of the Centre for Creative Arts, which hosts the event, said there was a strong concentration on the South African content this year.

Of the 200 movies from 46 countries to be screened, nine are South African products . In addition, 22 local documentaries and 40 home-brewed short films will be screened.

"Yes it is going to be a feast and the most difficult thing will be to choose because you might find yourself having to choose from five screenings," Rorvik said.

He said the festival had grown from strength to strength over the years, with a strong focus on workshops. He said there would be workshops at various venues where film gurus will share their experiences on movie making. This ranged from getting funding to the technical aspects.

"There will be 40 workshops every day and all of them are free," he said. Some of the workshops you will have to apply for because they are closed workshops. It's really a way for filmmakers to get together and share ideas. So I really urge aspirant filmmakers to seize this opportunity."

Rorvik said the festival was three-pronged. At the height of the event's aims was to showcase local movies and at the same time to draw people to the movies because Hollywood was dominating the world in that respect.

"Thirdly, it's training. People are hungry to get into films and they don't have the knowledge, so the festival presents them with that opportunity."

Rorvik said screenings at most venues will be free, whereas people will be charged if they go to the cinemas.

"The free screening is part of audience development, to make cinema easily accessible to communities. It's a way of taking cinema where the people live," Rorvik said.

A South African movie that hit gold internationally by bagging two awards, Izulu Lami by KwaZulu-Natal filmmaker Madoda Ncayiyana, will open the festival.

Rorvik said between 60 and 100 filmmakers and representatives from around the globe were expectedto attend the festival.