By +Caroline Anande Uliwa @CarolAnande-Instagram @CarolAnande-Facebook @CarolAnande-Twitter
We saw the unveiling of Zanzibar’s film festival-ZIFF on the 8th of July, where former President of the United Rep of Tanzania graced the opening ceremony as guest of honour. He was honoured with the lifetime achievement award from this festival, for his passionate contributions to the arts & for pushing the festival’s visibility for the past 20 years.
(click link for more photos of the festival) https://www.flickr.com/photos/61526027@N05/sets/72157682535631572
|Former President of Tanzania among Dr J. M. Kikwete |
giving a speech as GOH at ZIFF
opening ceremony this year-Photo by ZIFF photographer
To understand why our mainstream movie industry has many shortcomings a look at history is warranted. As ZIFF’s Board Chairman Hon Mahmoud T. Kombo (Current Health Minister of Zanzibar) highlights. “Yes, indeed by 1997 all the cinemas in Tanzania had collapsed thanks to the IMF conditions and tunnel thinking, where a peoples’ culture was held in short-thrift. Culture wasn’t considered part of development and no tear was shed when 53 cinemas in the country along with many hundreds around Africa were closed in the 80’s and 90’s…”
|Photo by ZIFF photographer, audiences at the Old Forte Ampi theatre,|
one of the screening venues of the festival
With this hacking from the knees of a whole industry casualties are to be expected. Yet the industry as of 2010 was contributing more than 300 billion TSHS to Tanzania’s annual GDP. Where a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) global entertainment and media outlook 2016-2020 report noted that: “in 36 out of the 54 countries covered by PwC’s outlook, entertainment and media spending is growing more rapidly than GDP, often by a factor of more than 50 percent.” PwC is present in Tanzania, former president Dr Kikwete noted how he’s always been impressed by the resilience of youth in the industry, who have found employment by the thousands in this sector.
|Among the pillars of ZIFF festival from left Festival|
Director Fabrizio Colombo, former festival CEO Prof Martin
Mhando and current festival CEO Daniel Nyalusi at ZIFF'17
ZIFF this year continued to propel the local movie industry, by debuting its festival with a Tanzanian film 'T-Junction' of Kijiweni Productions, Directed & written by Amil Shivji. The film on the award night of this festival (15th July) went onto scoop, ‘the Best European African Film Festival Award’ of 1000 Euros. As well as having its lead actress Hawa Ally, receive ‘Best Actress’ in the Bongo Movie Award section of the ceremony.
Among the notable screenings of Tanzanian film at the festival this year was the documentary ‘Sinema Ujamaa’ directed by Symphorian Belleghe from Tanzania. Here one can trace the gap since the 60’s to the late 80’s of Tanzanian film before ‘Bongo Movies’ when cinema houses were prominent in the country.
|Members of 'Mtendeje' performing 'Maulid ya Home' |
at the opening ceremony of ZIFF this year inside
the ampi theatre at Old Fort in Zanzibar
Also the dramatised documentary ’Son of Sinbad: A call of Zanzibar’, was another local film that was featured at the festival which had its world premier on this platform. The documentary didn’t use any professional actors in its dramatised clips. “So we were looking for people on the streets, who were willing to take part. Most of them had never been in front of the camera…” Friedrich Kluetshc the director of this documentary, which explores the maritime history of Zanzibar with connection to Oman since the 1840’s to the present. https://www.facebook.com/ZanzibarInternationalFilmFestival/
|From right Members of the Board of ZIFF Chande Omar, |
Fatma Alloo and Hassan Mitawi as well former
CEO of ZIFF Prof Martin Mhando, current
CEO Daniel Nyalusi and Festival Director Fabrizio Colombo
ZIFF this year through its Film School Program saw this years chief guest, US-based producer Davis Dexter, conduct a three-day workshop that culminated in a pitching competition for African filmmakers. Where Tanzania’s own Amby Lusekelo won the bid which will culminate in a film grant between 50,000 to 200,000 US Dollars.
Indeed the festival this year has gone aways in lighting the torch for the local industry including the opening of Soko Filam, that brought over 50 filmakers from over 12 countries to our shores of Zanzibar. Who were joined by mroe than 100 Soko Filam delegates, a wonderful opportunity in placing our country on the map in the African film industry.
We saw the Bi Kidude, chairperson award from ZIFF go to a Tanzanian production-White Potion by Ash Mswaki, together with the COMNET Bongo Movie Awards continuing to boost our own industry. Here Best Actor went to Ibrahim Osward in Hadithi za Kumekucha, Best Editor to Freddy Feruzi in Genge, Best Cinematographer to Freddy Feruzi in Genge, Best Screenplay/Writer to Ernest Napoleon & Daniel Manege, Best Film in Sound to Homecoming by Seko Shamte and Best Director to Nicholas Marwa in Kiumeni, with T-Junction as mentioned earlier scooping Best Feature Film and the Best Actress for Hawa Ally.
|Board Chairman of ZIFF (in white) |
Hon Mahmoud T. Kombo presenting the
Lifetime Achievement Award to former
President of Tanzania Dr Jakaya Kikwete
at the opening ceremony of ZIFF this year
For the full list of ZIFF winners this year click www.ziff.or.tz
First published in the east african newspaper http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/magazine/Zanzibar-Film-Festival-looks-to-strengthen-Tanzania-industry/434746-4016202-fvns9mz/index.html