ORGANISERS of the 24th Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) scheduled to take place in Zanzibar from July 21st to 25th this year have revived over 240 films from 25 countries.
This was revealed by the ZIFF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Martin Mhando.
“This year, we received over 240 films in total. We received films from 25 countries including for the first time a film from Estonia. “Tanzania’s representation at ZIFF this year is at an all-time high. Tanzania has 13 films while Kenya has nine and Uganda five. South Africa has five. There are 67 films selected for screening this year, with ten feature films, 5 feature documentaries and 40 short films and animations in competition,” Mhando said.
The festival aims to raise awareness and promote international cinema as art, entertainment and as an industry, promoting dialogue, human rights and freedom.
Through its programmes, the festival reaches a wide variety of audiences, which is what makes ZIFF different.
He said the festival makes a huge contribution towards a better understanding of cinema through its public forums, community screenings, music and art platforms.
The festival has seen an increase in support from Europe with online training, masterclasses and women focused events being funded by the European Union Delegation to Tanzania.
The EU is also supporting the festival programme backed by Germany and the UK. ZIFF hopes to sign a media partnership with Clouds TV and radio, as we continue the very long relations between ZIFF and Clouds Media.
Through an imaginative media partnership with Clouds Plus, Clouds Channel 3 and Plus Radio, ZIFF will be able to reach more audiences. After three years, the Sembene Ousmane Awards return to ZIFF.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Entwicklung (GIZ) has revived its support of the awards at ZIFF. The festival will have both online and onset platforms (commonly known as hybrid).
These co-supportive platforms mean bigger audiences and reach as well an opportunity to redefine the festival.
As the CEO of ZIFF always says, “No longer is a festival about a place alone, but a festival is also about its creative structures, its sustainability as well as its contribution to a multi-coloured garden of world cinema”.
The theme of the festival this year is Sharing Our Heritage (Urithi Huu ni Wetu Sote).
Speaking about the theme, the Chairman of the Festival Omar Chande said, “The Swahili translation says it all. “It is about acknowledging that any cultural heritage is indeed part of the world’s heritage, and through ZIFF we share our heritage with others when they visit as tourists, as filmmakers or otherwise”.
Tanzania has seven World Heritage Sites nominated by UNESCO including Stone Town, but we have more heritage to share and we welcome the world to ZIFF for that.
“We therefore, today, also launch our 24th Festival poster. The poster is an artistic view of the festival in the Blue economy, as well as a poetic rendition of cinema and culture. The poem, by Master-poet the late Haji Gora Haji, a ZIFF Lifetime Achievement Laureat who passed away on 11 June, underlines these links,” he said.
The focus of the festival this year is on Women. Gender issues have attained higher importance in Tanzania with our first woman president.
Talking about her programme, Sabrina Othman, the Women Panorama Coordinator argued that” Gender is a way of looking at how social norms and power structures impact the lives and opportunities available to diverse groups of men and women”.
With that in mind, the first film workshop will be an online conversation on the topic of Women in Film: Representation and Voices.
In partnership with the Belgian film festival “Elles Tournents Dames Draaien” with the support of the EU, this event will be held two weeks before the ZIFF festival on 8th July.
Through this ZIFF webinar a panel of women filmmakers from Europe and Africa will engage with a global audience to exchange best practices in Europe and Africa in general and discuss the status of women’s representation in film both in-front and behind the camera.
Five European women filmmakers purposely selected will join five African women filmmakers selected by ZIFF to form a discussion panel to exchange views on the subject.
The panelists will discuss their work environments and conditions that support the development of greater women representation and voices in and through film and film festivals. A global audience of at least 50 participants is expected.