Dear Guest,
Karibu! (Welcome)

On behalf of the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), I would like to extend a warm welcome to Zanzibar and to our festival. There is excitement in the air, and we all at ZIFF can’t wait to show you around our beautiful islands. We believe that our culture and history and the creativity of the arts will enhance everyone’s spirits to live through this complex contemporary world, and also serve to remind us of the place of film as a culture of a rich humanity. As you step into Zanzibar you will meet a welcoming people but there will also be a few grumpy ones (who woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning) and we hope you will excuse them and look up with optimism to meeting the next smiling, welcoming Zanzibari. We hasten to apologies on their behalf. Please avail yourself the Festival Program as soon as you can (at the cost of Tsh1000 ($0 .75) and a catalogue for Tsh 5000 ($3) and you will find most information about the festival. Please also get accredited at our accreditation Stall inside the Old Fort. Please do stop me on the street to say hello as my office is only for official stuff!

The film venues are The Zanzibar Grand Palace and Marumaru hotels, and the Wavuvi Restaurant, which shows only Swahili films. The Plenary film-viewing venue is the Old Fort Amphitheatre, where from 7pm sharp every evening we show two feature films before we proceed to Mambo Club (the second venue inside the Old Fort) for 3 hours of music and dancing. There are workshops taking place in the Old Dispensary and the Old Customs House (every film venue is old!) but most of the workshops are already overprescribed so please do not be distressed if your are turned away. The best feature of the festival is that everything happens within walking distance and every person will give you directions to the venues; a map of Stonetown is also available in the pack to help you negotiate the streets of Stonetwon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site hosting our festival.

The food in the Forodhani Park, where the general populations gathers to eat and relax is fresh, cheap and very tasty. It will make your stomach feel right at home! At night if returning to your hotel late please walk with someone or ask for an escort from the ZIFF office especially if you are waking through the tiny streets or dark corners. It’s easy to get lost!  I hope that our festival will serve as a venue for international cross-cultural exchange as well as a platform for raising film business potentials and for networking, which the ZUKU Lounge, in the Marumaru Hotel, offers every evening from 5 to 7pm.

Remember to respect the local culture as you are here also to experience that.


Martin Mhando
Festival Director