Dar es Salaam. After more than two decades, Tanzania has made its second-ever entry to the best international feature award at the Oscars, with Amil Shivji’s romantic drama Tug Of War (Vuta N'Kuvute).
Tug Of War had its world premiere in the Discovery section of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), becoming the first Tanzanian film ever selected for the festival.
The film follows Maangamizi: The Ancient One, a Tanzanian entry to the 2002 awards.
The film is produced by Steven Markovitz for South Africa’s Big World Cinema and Amil Shivji for Tanzania’s Kijiweni Productions.
Based on a screenplay by Shivji and Jenna Cato Bass, the film is adapted from Shafi Adam Shafi’s Swahili novel in which a rebellious young revolutionary becomes involved with a Indian-Zanzibari girl escaping an oppressive arranged marriage.
It is Shivji’s second feature, after 2017’s T-Junction, which premiered at Zanzibar International Film Festival.
Markovitz’ producer credits include Wanuri Kahiu’s Cannes 2018 title Rafiki.
Shivji shared his gratitude on Instagram, saying; "It's an honor and privilege to be selected as Tanzania's official submission to the 95th Academy awards. Two decades have passed since Tanzania has been recognised by the world's most prestigious platform for cinema."
He added; "Although these are baby steps, the future of Tanzania's cinema is finally in our hands. A wave of Swahili filmmakers grows with pride, intellect and audacity every day.
This is Tanzania's first Oscars entry in 21 years.