HAVING the World Premiere of “T-Junction”, at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), last month was “wonderful”, according to the Feature Drama’s Director, Amil Shivji.
However, he also recognises that the festival attracts a “very selected” crowd, which are locals from there and people, who are interested in the festival itself.
Therefore, the locally-based Kijiweni Productions’ 106-minute film had its premiere last Thursday, at the Century Cinemax auditorium, within the Mlimani City complex, in the Mwenge outskirts of the city.
This, Shivji says, provided the chance for most of the cast and crew, who could not make it to Zanzibar, to watch it in the cinema first, before everybody else. “It also made it possible for selected invited guest, who we think can help spread social awareness about the film, so that we can have more people coming throughout the week,” he said.
Shivji, who is also the Scriptwriter added that arrangements have been made for the film, which won three awards at the ZIFF, to continue being screened at this cinema from yesterday (Friday) evening, at 6pm, 8pm and 10pm, for one week.
If it does well at the box-office then it will be given another week of screening there. Arrangements have also been made for it to be screened in a cinema in Mwanza Region from next Friday. Apart from these local screenings the film is currently doing the international festival circuit, while plans are being made for it to be screened in a cinema in Arusha Region.
Shivji says he strongly believes provided they can bring more locals to come and watch the film at the cinema, it would help change the culture to cinema-going in the country. “If we can change the culture and get our fellow Tanzanians to come and watch Tanzanian films, at the cinema that would be the biggest achievement for me,” he said.
He referred to the cinema as being local filmmakers “space” and “avenue”, where they exhibit their works. Therefore, its their duty to reclaim the space from Hollywood and Bollywood, who, he says have been monopolising cinema halls in the country.
When the ‘Daily News’ got the chance to hear what the Minister for Information, Culture Arts and Sports, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, who had come down from Dodoma for the occasion, he also emphasised the importance of screening local films on the big screen.
It introduces the films to the entire public, who come to the realisation that it’s not only “American or European movies” that are being shown here on the big screen. There are also Tanzanian productions like “T-Junction”, he suggested.
Such screenings, the Minister maintains are important and that is part of the reason why he was so excited to find so many young people crowding the cinema at the premiere. The minister encouraged young people to get involved in the industry, after this good beginning for it also pays.
He also mentioned having a meeting with cinema owners this coming week, to see how they can come to the agreement to dedicate at least one day a week towards screening local movies alone. This Minister Mwakyembe maintains is very important to the development of the local film industry.