Sembene Ousmane Awards are back at ZIFF 2021

Monday May 31 2021
ZIFF pic

Film Director Ekwa Msangi from Tanzania receives the Sembene Ousmane award at ZIFF 2015 PHOTO | Peter_Bennett


Zanzibar. The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) have announced they are bringing back the Sembene Ousmane Awards in the 2021 edition of the festival.
Organisers say the re-launching the Awards is to highlight the role that films play in development, encourage filmmakers to challenge themselves to discuss development issues in film and inspire the youth.
Sembene Ousmane Awards have been presented at ZIFF since 2011 following the demise of the Senegalese director Sembene Ousmane, who is also regarded as the “Father of African Cinema”.
The Awards are designed to reward excellence in short film production and to encourage the production of new short films, including short documentaries.
Making the pronouncement the Festival Director Prof Martin Mhando, confirmed that the German International Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ) will revive support of the awards at ZIFF.
“We would be ready to again support the awards since we do see a clear contribution to regional integration in East Africa an objective we are aiming at within our portfolio in the East African region”, said Dr Mike Falke, Country Director of the GIZ
 ZIFF which is one the biggest cultural events in East Africa is also the only festival in the world allowed to utilize the Sembene Ousmane name for its awards.
This year’s edition of the festival  will take place between July 21 to July 25,in Stone Town, Zanzibar.
Between 2015- 2017 a new program under the Sembene Ousmane Film for Development Award Competition was installed with ZIFF awarding  three films $3000 each to ensure that as many filmmakers as possible are encouraged to make creative films through the Sembene Ousmane Prize.
However, each winner was then required to utilize the funds to produce a new short film that would be given its premiere at the next edition of ZIFF.
“This was also in recognition of the fact that Africa now expanded beyond the continent thus allowing collaborative work between Africans in the Diaspora and non-Africans, in producing Africa-themed stories,”  said Prof Mhando
But with the professor’s departure from ZIFF the awards were not given the importance they deserved as a prime vehicle of African expression worth the name of Sembene.