The Zanzibar International Film Festival is the biggest cultural event of its kind in East Africa. Now in its 14th year, ZIFF is a Zanzibari institution that focuses on African film while also celebrating the rich variety of culture from the region and beyond. Tamasha, (Kiswahili for ‘festival’) is a truly African cultural experience with locals, tourists and film buffs all converging to watch the shows and soak up the atmosphere.
The enchanting port of Stone Town is the festival’s main venue in Zanzibar and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Films and concerts are held in an outdoor amphitheatre in the Old Fort, which dates back to the 1600s. Films and exhibitions are also shown in other listed buildings around Stone Town such as the former royal palace, The Africa House, and ceremonial palace, The House of Wonders.
The 2011 festival theme is: Season of Visions. It will promote emerging talent and socially oriented films with dedicated special screenings and awards.
According to the programme 71 short, feature and documentary films from 39 countries will be screened during the ten-day event in June. There will also be eight workshops on diverse artistic fields including documentary film production, song writing and HD camera cinematography.
These will be complimented with gala nights and an outreach programme – the Cinema Mondial Tour, which will be projected in 15 village venues around Zanzibar and Tanzania mainland.
Watch Out For!
US reggae and dance-hall crooner Shaggy is among world-class artists set to perform at the festival. Shaggy will stage his performance on June 24, at the Amani Stadium. Zimbabwean guitarist, vocalist, performer and composer Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi will also perform at the Ngome Kongwe opening ceremony on June 18.
Films that will be showcased include:
Making The Band: A Canadian/Uganda film and an inspirational story about four women who use and motivate each other to increase their self-worth and attain a full life. Denied opportunity to an audition for a music talent TV program, the women enter the gregarious life of singing in a band. What ensues is an inspirational saga.
The Rice Paddy:
The first film made in the Dong language, spoken by one of the ethnic minorities of China, is set in the mountains of Guangxi Province and follows the life of a 12-year-old girl, A Qui. She aspires to be a writer and travel the world, but the death of her grandmother forces her family to return to the family home. Rarely heard traditional Dong music and lifestyle and the life of contemporary Chinese youth also appears in the movie.
Minnie Loves Junior:
What does a girl have to do to get a boy’s attention? Minnie lives in a seaside fishing village. Junior lives there too. Little does he realise Minnie’s unrequited love will soon save his life. Minnie Loves Junior is a heart-warming story of a little boy who loves the ocean, and a little girl who loves the boy.