The Zanzibar International Film Festival entered its sixth day with a focus on inspirational films from East Africa and further afield. Today at ZIFF was officially Swahili Day with a focus on Bongo Movies, with Bado Natafutu parts 1 & 2 which will be screened in the Old Fort Ampitheatre on the evening of June 20th.
This week has seen a range of moving and inspiring documentaries and feature films from the East African region and across the continent, but also from Germany, the USA, UK and Italy.
Sunday night saw the screening of Mother of George, a powerful film from Guinea Bissau that addressed the serious issues of men’s infertility. The African Premiere of Half of a Yellow Sun, controversially prevented from screening in Nigeria, took place on Wednesday June 18th hosted by the director, Biyi Bandele. The film, based on the book of the same name, tells a story of Nigeria’s civil war period of the 1960’s.
Eva Knopf’s (Germany) Majub’s Journey screened this week also to an extremely positive response. The film tells the story of Majub, a Tanzanian man who became a regular “extra” in Nazi era films after he moved to Germany. Knops explains that she was fascinated by the story and wanted “to finally give Majub a starring role and to make his story the centre of a film.” Meticulously researched and handled with a strong sense of empathy, the film has become a favourite of many at the festival.
Friday also saw the screening of another exceptional story beautifully told with the feature film White Shadow. Directly after the screening the director, Noaz Deshe, along with cinematographer Armin Dierolf were joined by some of the stars of the film which follows the life of a young albino man in Tanzania. This German, Italian and Tanzanian co-production is an exquisite film that recruited local actors and crew, involving the communities in which it filmed.
Tomorrow will see the African Premiere of Tanzania: A Journey Within, Sylvia Caminer’s documentary that follows a young ex-pat Tanzanian and a young American woman as they journey through Tanzania exploring issues surrounding HIV/ AIDS, culture and their discovery of the difference that they can make in thousands of peoples’ lives.
Tomorrow night will see ZIFF awarding its Gold and Silver awards to films in various categories, however, regardless of which films win, the various screenings across the last week have showcased incredible films that have brought a diversity of personal and powerful stories to the screen.