ZIFF set to quench thirst of revellers and film lovers

Friday June 17 2022
Ziff pic
By Ramadhani Ismail

One of Africa’s largest film, music and art festivals is about to grace Zanzibar’s grounds for the next nine days, starting tomorrow Saturday, June 18.

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) is all set to quench revelers and film lovers’ thirst with more than 100 short, animation and feature films.

Ziff will be held from June 18 to June 26, 2022. Over the years, it has played a pivotal role in keeping alive the embers of the cinema in Tanzania and other international nations.

Every year, ZIFF screens approximately 70 local and foreign productions and hosts a dozen complementary activities which includes workshops, masterclasses, round tables, network events, panorama and music.

As a traditional, this year programme will include a number of workshops and masterclasses. Binti director, Seko Shamte from Tanzania, Sam Soko from Kenya, Lois Patino from Spain and Fred Bailiff of Switzerland will offer film directing classe through reflecting their previous work of art.

Deutsche Welle (DW) academic workshops and classes will congregate 15 filmmakers from Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania who all have received film development funds from a fund announced last year at ZIFF.

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But also, a panel discussion by the East African Screen collective, Generation Africa, Great lakes creative producers and the difficult dialogues talk show. The debate will be on the state of Cinema in Tanzania, inviting inputs from the viewers from across the globe to say something about how to save the Tanzania film industry

From local directors to international, ZIFF plans to showcase a wide variety of films from, Room 61 directed by , Tai’s Mwangaza, Nivushe, and Naweza, Swahili for ‘Light’, ‘cross me over’ and ‘I can’ respectively.

This year with the support of the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam, ZIFF will be screening a number of USA blockbusters reflecting the increased impact of the Black experience in America.

Those Hollywood blockbusters with an African touch are ‘Black Panther (2017)’, ‘Harriet (2019)’, ‘Remember me: The Mahalia Jackson story (2021)’ and the first ‘Coming to America (1998)’, The Lion King (2019).

Opening film

Out of 3480 films submitted Amil Shivji’s ‘Vuta N’kuvute’, film Swahili for Tug of War was honored to be an opening film during ZIFF’s opening night.

The film made its debut at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2021. The film story is based on the Swahili novel of Shafi Adam shafi in 1999. One of the best love stories about a young Indian Zanzibar girl escaping an oppressive arranged marriage.

On the second day of June 19, there will be an African début day on Sunday about the documentary on Marcus Garvey, the African Redemption: The life and legacy of Marcus Garvey will be premiered. In which that documentary will be shown after 15 participants sail in a Dhow on June 18 from Bagamoyo in Tanzania mainland all the way to Unguja shores in Zanzibar as a way to celebrate the first Juneteenth celebration in Africa.

“We will welcome them the following day, June 19 here in Zanzibar to celebrate how Africa has contributed to the history of Africa,” says Mhando.

From multichoice, they will screen ‘Mvamizi’ a film which was directed by Philipo Ngonyani. However, Chumba 61 which translated as room 61 from Edwin Kazoka will be screened for first time in the festival.

“It’s very important to let directors have a lot of knowledge about festivals such as ZIFF. Giving access to students to participate and learning much about film, filmmakers also needed to create movies that have themes which reflect on society more compared to entertainment,” says Edwin.

Kazoka has a degree in films from the University of Dar es Salaam and participates in the ZIFF fest for the first time this year.

25th ZIFF Anniversary

“The first time I heard of ZIFF’s new theme I was amazed the way they introduced words and how they explained about this year’s festival.”

They say “Nothing offends its marker” which means that in Swahili ‘Lake mtu halimtapishi’. Apart from anniversary, the festival will launch their publication of [email protected] book.

Inside is all about the journey in celebrating history and culture, with each participant over the years getting an ample opportunity to be featured in the book.

The 25th anniversary of the festival is expected to feature some small bongo movie directors to showcase their films including winners of multichoice talent factory and students who have participated in different international awards.

Award night

The festival typically welcomes hundreds of guests from outside Zanzibar and presents almost 20 awards selected by juries of industry professionals.

Films reflecting on themes of global cultural interaction, cultural encounters or sociocultural commentary are always given a priority.

The Sembene Ousmane Awards are also in the picture this year. Designed to reward excellence in short film production and to encourage the production of new short films, including short documentaries.

“This is my first time on ZIFF where they will screen my film. Apart from that, this film is selected to compete in the Awards nomination,” added Kazoka, a producer and short film director.

Music program

This year’s ZIFF welcomes music artistes to perform at what has become the place one can find new talent -the ZIFF Music and Performing Arts platform at ZIFF or MPA

Gracing the stage the line goes from Wezi And The Heartsound Band from Zambia, Bahati Band, and the controversial Kisingeli singer Dullah Makabila.