3,000 online as ZIFF 2023 gathers storm

THE Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) returns for its 26th edition this Saturday with 18 feature films, 22 feature documentaries, and 45 short films and animations.

It will be a nine-day event in Unguja with several curated programmes, including a screening of the films, discussions, training, workshops, and exhibitions that will add knowledge to arts and film stakeholders in and out of the country.

The Festival Director, Martin Mhando, said during the press briefing on the festival in Dar es Salaam, that he was delighted to have stakeholders and supporters who had played a significant role in ensuring this year’s celebration is vibrant.

He noted in this year’s festival, 3,000 films from every part of the world and East Africa were submitted to ZIFF. He highlighted that 266 films came from Africa, with 64 from Tanzania.

“This year, we received about 3,000 films from every part of the world, and East Africa’s submissions to ZIFF reached an all-time high with 206 films.

“Tanzania submitted 64 films, while Kenya had 81, Uganda 51, Rwanda 10 and South Africa 60.”

Adding, he said 89 selected films generally focus on identity. He further highlighted the selection categories, including 18 feature films, 22 feature documentaries, and 45 short films and animation.

“The theme of this year’s festival is finding identity as it engages with the question, what does it mean to find one’s identity? In diverse ways, in the festival.

“The theme will define the festival, from the films we will screen during the workshops which we will hold. We will have a forum to discuss the question of identity in Zanzibar and explore the question, of what values are embedded in being a Zanzibari.”

During the press briefing, the festival director took the honour of naming the film that will open the festival as ‘Married to Work’.

“The film speaks a lot of Zanzibar. The film showcases Zanzibar as the magical island of love and dreams and where we meet new stars of Tanzania and the global film industry.”

Among the artists who attended the launching event was Ahmed Olotu, alias Mzee Chillo who acknowledged the importance of the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) to artists.

He noted ZIFF opens doors of opportunities mostly to young and experienced film actors, producers, and directors, for the festival offers a chance to showcase different films from within and outside of Tanzania.

“This is our opportunity; we should take part in it. It’s the best platform, and I urge all actors, content creators, and arts stakeholders to join in the festival, for they will learn and build a network with other content creators outside the country.

“Through these festivals, it aids our artists and content creators to see more opportunities and improve their level of creativity.”

Other than giving opportunities for artists and content creators in Tanzania, both upcoming and renowned, to showcase their works of art, the organisers will facilitate training, discussions, exhibitions, and workshops at different venues and dates in Unguja.

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