- The festival has been christened after one of the channels on the Azam platform called Sinema Zetu International Film Festival.
- The festival is under Swahili channel 'SinemaZetu’ will focus on Kiswahili Panorama will also features Swahili filmmakers from other four countries
Dar es Salaam.
The Tanzanian film sector or industry had been in some downward spiral in the last five years or so with the players blaming it on myriad of issues.
Chief on the list of the malaise is piracy as the filmmakers cry out loud on the persistent problem without any solutions in the near sight.
Some have offered to change tact whereas there those who opted out completely for there is not a point sticking to a job that wasn’t going to pay the bills.
This week there seems to be some development is the industry as pay TV providers Azam announced the launch of an international film festival which is set to be held in Dar es Salaam in April.
The festival has been christened after one of the channels on the Azam platform called Sinema Zetu International Film Festival.
The festival is under Swahili channel 'SinemaZetu’ will focus on Kiswahili Panorama will also features Swahili filmmakers from other four countries artistes such as Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Speaking at the launch the Jury Chairman and festival mentor Professor Martin Mhando said they will start receiving entries between now and November 30 for films that were produced between 2015 to date.
Mhando who achieved success during his tenure as festival director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival for 10 years says the films shall be screened from December 1.
He said each category will have four films to be televised till the festival’s gala night on April 1 at the venue that is set to be announced.
“Bongo movies industry has slowed down. Azam TV has seen it and the festival will now give a new lease of life through this creative initiative', the aim is to bring together different stakeholders in the Kiswahili language film industry through our channel Sinema Zetu . The channel is unique because it only shows Swahili movies and our aim is to grow our language and culture,” says Mhando.
Festival Director Jacob Joseph reinforced that SinemaZetu International Film Festival ( SZIFF ) is a competitive and unique event where ‘ Documentaries, Short Films, Animation and Feature films ‘ produced/dubbed in Kiswahili will be screened.
The festival provides film enthusiasts, a platform to watch their films through ‘SinemaZetu’, the flagship movie channel of AzamPayTv Limited.
According to him popular festivals like the ZIFF still reach a limited audience but for the industry to grow there is need for a wider coverage.
“We will be working with our festival partners positioned in Morogoro, Zanzibar, Tanga, Arusha, Mwanza, Dodoma and Mtwara, Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali, Bujumbura and Goma. They will be responsible for raising awareness, motivating and be the collection point for the films,” said Jacob.
According to Zamaradi Nzowa the festival coordinator, the aim is to grow the industry and enable audiences to watch quality films that bear in mind the element of cultural integrity.
“The festival will enhance professionalism in the industry through establishing excellence and raising standards, but also enable audiences to watch films of quality,” says Nzowa.
The festival is likely to screen close to 150 films. In acknowledgement of the role that films play in contemporary society, festivals bestow certificate of excellence and cash awards to filmmakers as a tribute to their creativity, innovation and commitment.
During the hours of screening, the channel will be Free-to-view with a panel of critics to discuss he films after presentation and some filmmakers will be at hand to present their films as well.
This will improve the capacity of the viewers to analyse the some of the elements that they see in the film.
In another development the festival has appointed AMVCA award winning actress Elizabeth Michael aka Lulu as the brand ambassador for the festival.
Lulu who rose from a child actor to become one of the most prominent actresses has praised the move saying this could be career changing move at a time when there are so many negative forces facing Bongo movies in Tanzania.