‘Binti’ film streams on Netflix in January 2022

Exciting news for Tanzanian film industry as Binti - a Swahili drama film directed by Seko Shamte and co-produced by Black Unicorn Studio co-owned by the two sisters, Alinda and Angela Ruhinda - becomes the first Tanzanian film to be streaming on Netflix.

Streaming in January 2022, Binti continues to break boundaries: from being the opening film at the Zanzibar International Film Festival to premier in different international film festivals. They include Jozi Film Festival in South Africa and the Pan-African Film Festival in March 8, 2021 - and then goes global through the world’s largest film sales network.

Sharing the good news, Angela Ruhinda, co-producer of the film from the Black Unicorn studio, excitedly tweeted that “Binti will be streaming globally on Netflix from January 7, 2022! The first Tanzanian film to do so! Produced by Black Unicorn Studios and directed by Seko Shamte! Tanzania to the world!”

For her part, Seko Shamte, expressing gratitude, said “Binti is the first Tanzanian film to get on Netflix as a global acquisition! We are elated and deeply humbled by this honour. We have worked so hard to get Binti onto the screen - and to bring Tanzanian stories to a global audience,”

The film title ‘Binti’ - Swahili for ‘young woman’ - was first premiered in March 8 as a token for women all over the world.

The story revolves around four Tanzanian women - Tumaini, Angel, Stella and Rose - who are unknowingly connected through their ability to persevere life’s hardships.

Exploring a contemporary view of womanhood, a searing introspection into the sometimes painful world that a woman could find herself in.

Tumaini, a young entrepreneur, runs a mini-supermarket making her own ‘chapatis’ and riding a bicycle selling eggs. Others are Angel, who also attended the same school with Tumaini.

Angel runs a bridal salon while one of the other two ladies struggles with her son, while the other faces infertility issues.

“Wow! For people like me, who learn languages through movies, this is such welcome news!” commented fans who reside in the social media platform

Binti was shot in Dar es Salaam giving audience a typical urban life’s view.

Ms Angela says the Binti story was first written by a young woman named Maria Shoo who won a screenwriting competition hosted by Black Unicorn Studios in 2018/19.

“The competition was called ‘Made in Africa,’ and called for original stories from Tanzanian writers,” says Ms Angela.

The film was then re-written by Angela Ruhinda and Seko Shamte, and was produced by the two sisters, Alinda Ruhinda and Angela Ruhinda from Black Unicorn Studios.

“We invited Seko Shamte on as Director and Producer - thanks to her vast experience in the world of film and television and her knack for storytelling,” narrates Ms Angela.

As the production team recounts, the Binti film faced many post-production delays due to the global coronavirus pandemic. But, it finally got its premiere at the Pan-African Film Festival in March this year.

“That was before having three East African premieres during Women’s Month. And we were fortunate enough to get a licensing deal with Netflix - which is a feat for the Tanzanian industry,” says Ms Angela

The rave reviews stemming from the story narrative that it has attracted keen interest from avid fans. This has catapulted the Tanzanian drama to the global audience, ultimately landing on Netflix. A revolutionary move for Tanzania’s film industry.

“We are overly-thrilled to be making history as film makers, storytellers - and as women in this tough industry. Binti is a labour of love, and we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to show it to the entire world.

The Binti cast and crew worked tirelessly for a long time - and, this is a win for all of us. We hope this is only the beginning of a fruitful and rewarding journey for Tanzanian film makers, and we thank everyone in advance for logging on to NETFLIX (worldwide) on January 7 2022,” shares the two sisters, Angela and Alinda Ruhinda.

“Our hope is that we can show our capabilities as storytellers on creative and technical levels that can entice the global filmmaking community to turn their eye on the Tanzanian film industry, bringing fresh opportunities for our actors, actresses and technical crew members,” adds Ms Shamte.

Apart from ‘Binti’, ‘Slay’ - a film starring Tanzanian actor Idris Sultan and others from various parts of Africa - is also on Netflix.

‘Slay’ was released on March 26, with Idris setting a record as the first Tanzanian artiste to be featured on the world’s largest film sales network. Cheers!