ZIFF 2014 promises exciting line-up

Genre : Miscellaneous
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Release/publication date : 2014
Published on : 13/05/2014

The Zanzibar International film Festival will be celebrating its 17th Edition 14th June 2014. This edition will be marked by a number of impressive activities that also foreshadow the great potential that the festival has.

It has been also confirmed that the Oscar nominated film Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom will be the opening film of the festival with some of the top stars from South Africa attending the opening ceremony.

"79 films will be screened in the 10-day festival foregrounding films from Africa and the Dhow countries and spiced up by award winning film from international film festivals.' says the Festival Director Professor Martin Mhando adding, "The films come from 35 countries with 38 short films, 23 feature length films and 18 documentaries."

The prestigious festival ranks among the world's top 100 film festivals and is an annual gathering for film industry stakeholders, filmmakers and film students, with ZIFF being considered a key launching pad for East and Central African films. Founded in 1997 the Festival is held within Stone Town, a nominated UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

Commenting on the event Sponsorship, Richard Alden, Zuku CEO noted that,, "The festival is an expression of Zanzibar's historical link with cinema as well as highlighting the festival's long‐standing commitment to joining filmmakers and local audiences together to experience cinema in a country where all cinema theatres were closed in the 1990s".

The announced festival program has an exciting schedule consisting of musical and exhibition components as well as the film outreach program called the Panoramas.  Over 2000 school children congregate to watch films and discuss them in the Children Panorama partly sponsored by the Save the Children Zanzibar. This year the core discussions will be around the environment with the theme "a safe environment" encompassing protection, the law and awareness.

Music-wise the festival will feature 18 performing groups with Didier Awadi, the Senegalese maestro performing on the opening night on 14th June with Habib Koite performing on the Awards night. Groups from Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and South Africa are scheduled to entice audiences over the 9 nights of the festival. A top billing music group is yet to confirm. The Dervish dance performers from Egypt will enthrall visitors with their entrancing whirling movements on the opening night.

An exhibition from France, the Tryptic by Les 7 Portes/Sisygambis will be on offer for 7 days of the festival while popular art and fashion exhibition Afrika Tumefika from Uganda will also be featured.

"Over two dozen filmmakers from around the world presenting their works will also be in attendance taking part in workshops, networking events and film pitching contest," said the festival director adding, "A special Script writing workshop to be facilitated by UK's top film makers Special Guest Director Nick Broomfield (Big and Tupac) and Marc Hoerferlin (Albino United) will also be held."

"This workshop is especially funded by ZUKU TV which is looking for submissions for feature-length Swahili films for broadcast on ZUKU Swahili Movies, which is a premium movie channel tailor-made for audiences within East African", added Alden. Priding itself on the quality of its output, the channel seeks to respond to strong consumer demand for Africa-produced and Africa-themed programming.

Tanzania's Bongo movies will have a special program at the festival pitting 8 nominated films to compete for the 6 ZUKU Bongo movies awards for technical excellence in the industry.

Other workshops also include a Scriptwriting workshop in Kiswahili that will be organized by the Maisha Lab of Uganda. Maisha Film Lab founded by the renowned filmmaker, Mira Nair, is a training initiative for emerging East African filmmakers providing hands-on intensives in screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, editing and sound recording. Maisha screenwriting lab is made possible by the financial contribution of the European Development Fund with the assistance of ACP Group of Countries. A $2,000 reward for the best script will be given at the end of the lab to produce the film within three months.
Talking about the workshop Fibby Kioria, the Maisha Lab Director said that, "We are offering 15 scholarships for an 8-day screenwriting lab in Zanzibar from June 9th to the 16th.  All applicants above the age of 18, who are citizens of Tanzania are welcome to apply." Holding the workshop in Kiswahili is a response to requests from Tanzania filmmakers who have often expressed the discomfort at utilizing English when discussing Tanzanian films that are predominantly in Kiswahili.

Another workshop will be a film production Workshop for East African filmmakers to be sponsored by the East African Community in partnership with the German International cooperation Agency GIZ. This workshop follows the birth of the East African film Network, a regional organization of film festivals, policy makers and industry stakeholders.

With the 10-year Event Sponsorship of ZUKU, ZIFF has seen more sponsors come aboard acknowledging the role that the arts play in each community. Last year we welcomed Ethiopian Airlines, Tanzania Media Fund, ComNet, Cello, Air Uganda, Gina Din and United Petroleum.

"This year we welcome the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, ARTerial Network and Steps International to ZIFF", said Prof Mhando adding, "As one of the largest political education institutions in Germany today, the Foundation is committed to the mainstream ideology of democratic socialism, and it will support discussion forums for critical thought and political alternatives during ZIFF 2014," The Foundation's will also organise an exhibition on the theme "Natural Resources – Blessing or Curse?" discussing how people's lives have changed through land grabbing, mining and forced migration.

The ARTerial Network will organize a Forum aimed at mapping and monitoring the state of freedom of expression for artists in Africa. It will involve a weeklong training programme for 20 coordinators selected from around the continent who will then return to implement programmes in their own regions. The initial training of these coordinators, organised with Swedish Foundation for Human Rights, will take place during ZIFF 2014.

Steps International is a non-profit organisation based in Denmark with offices in South Africa and Denmark. Steps International will be providing films from the internationally acclaimed Why Poverty? series for circulation in villages in Zanzibar and Pemba. The films will be dubbed into Kiswahili.

"The Why Poverty? series uses film to get people talking about poverty. ZIFF as a social platform wishes to encourage audiences to ask themselves, What is it like to live in poverty? How does poverty shape one? Why are people still hungry? What can I do to change the situation? It is a role that ZIFF continues to play exceedingly well enhanced by ZUKU's visionary support as Event Sponsor," concluded Prof Mhando.

To ensure that visitors are able to get their tickets in time and conveniently ZIFF has entered into an agreement with 3G Directpay, which will provide with the online payment service for the nine-day bounty of special programming and festivities. Passes will be available for purchase at www.ziff.or.tz

About ZUKU
Zuku is a homegrown East African brand under Wananchi Group. It was established with the aim of making quality home entertainment and communication services accessible to a rapidly growing, choice conscious East African middle class. Zuku TV has over 70 channels on the Zuku Satellite platform and more than 120 channels on the top-end Fiber platform.

Zuku is proud of its nine exclusive Zuku channels, which were developed in East Africa, especially for East African audiences. Zuku Movies (4 channels), Sports, Afrika, Life, Swahili Movies and Kids offer a unique combination of international and regional programming of all genres.


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