PRESS RELEASE: PRESS AND INDUSTRY BRIEFING- ZIFF25TH ANNIVERSARY 

We are delighted to welcome you to the Press and Industry Briefing for the Zanzibar International Film Festival- the Festival of the Dhow Countries. More importantly, this year ZIFF celebrates its Silver Jubilee, an important landmark to an organization: forging ahead with a long history to learn from and be proud of.

ZIFF was conceived with a number of aims and objectives but the long-term view was to establish an enduring, credible and significant film festival in the world of cinema, art and culture. In 25 years, ZIFF has become a true heritage- an embodiment of memories for individuals, the organization, the nation and the film and arts world.

In a new turn of events at ZIFF, a record 3498 films were submitted through our online platforms Filmfreeway and Festhome.  To view this huge number of films we had to invite a huge number of pre-selectors to undertake the screening of films. We do take our work seriously and we thank all those 40+ pre-selectors who volunteered their time and money to be part of the celebration.

This year we shall establish a permanent ZIFF YouTube Channel for the selected films screening in the festival as well as the ZIFF@25 Retrospective. The retrospective will include films that have won or made an impact at ZIFF. We intend for the Youtube Channel to be a regular screening and discussion space where filmmakers can reach discerning audiences and conduct dialogue with them. We are also here to launch our Poster, which is a ritual we take seriously as well.

The ZIFF poster is our calling card to the community. We are proud of the poster, designed by Hoclay Mganga, a designer, and, a former ZIFF winner and a common visitor to ZIFF. We thank him profusely and ask other designers to support cultural events by assisting promotional activities, which also help expose the artists and highlight our growing talents internationally. 

The Poster is a cute reflection of the celebratory nature of this year’s festival. The Khanga motif is reflective of the Swahili wedding celebration, as are the waters around our beloved Islands and proud history. As the saying on the Khanga says, “Lake Mtu Halimtapishi”- “Nothing offends its maker”. It speaks of the pride that Tanzanians in general have in ZIFF as one of the top three most vibrant film festivals in the continent. ZIFF has not only survived where others have failed but it has also forged a strong base on which to build. Whatever weaknesses ZIFF might exhibit, we remain proud of it hence, Lake Mtu Halimtapishi!

25 years ago, when the cinema industry had collapsed, ZIFF was born on the promise of the industry rebirth, which we are proud to say has certainly happened. East Africa has a vibrant film industry buoyed by our common language, Kiswahili. 

ZIFF is a cultural festival providing Tanzania and East Africa a moment to look at the film industry through a number of perspectives. In a new direction this year we have instituted a Country Partner program to invite selected countries to celebrate with us in a special way. Our collaboration with Docubox Kenya, is such a catalyst. This year we shall have a Kenya Day, a South Africa Day and a European Union Day. During the festival, full days will be given to these countries to showcase their film industries and cultures. Please join us to thank these partner industry countries for the camaraderie they have sustained with ZIFF. 

As usual, the festival will present its programmes including the Women, Children and Village Panoramas where we focus on film and activities around the three community groups. 

With support by the European Union (EU), this year, we shall undertake film and culture activities in Pemba after failing to do so last year. There will be film screenings on the theme of women and entrepreneurship, and women production groups sponsored to produce ZIFF visibility materials and merchandise.

This year the festival will also include 6 major workshops delivered by acknowledged trainers highlighting the role that festivals play to Africa’s film profession. The workshops include- On Documentary (Docubox- Kenya); TV Series writing (Pilipili Entertainment, Tanzania); Women and Film (EU); Short film Lab (Kenya/Wales); Experimental filmmaking (Spain and Ajabu-Ajabu); Post-Production (Off-Court-France).

The Women and Film workshop will present views of women film directors as in how they develop their women characters, as well as how they wish audiences to perceive them, thus inviting women filmmakers to reveal how they work. A Masterclass on new Cinema and Emerging talents (with screenings), will be conducted by Luis Patino, Spain’s emerging talent in film directing. With his cast and crew coming in May to shoot a film in Zanzibar, there will be opportunities for professionals and novices to participate and learn new techniques in creative and abstract filmmaking. 

A number of regional film initiatives will launch at ZIFF including the first outing for The East Africa Screen Collective (EASC), a coalition of companies and organizations advocating for narrative sovereignty in the screen-based sectors in Eastern Africa. The Deutsche Welle Akademie (DWA) will congregate the first cohorts of funded individuals in film development from Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania.  The purpose is to meet, greet and share experiences about film development. DWA is hosting the event in partnership with Film Lab Zanzibar to build talent through the fund in Tanzania. Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries programs are to be launched at ZIFF2022 bringing together ACP countries in Co-productions and film training, and Docubox will be hosting them.

A major feature of this festival is the production of the ZIFF@25 Book. With the support of the EU and the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) we shall publish a commemorative book on the journey to celebrating ZIFF’s 25 year history and keeping a memory of our sponsors’ support of this important cultural event in Tanzania. 

This festival has only been able to exist due to the support we have had from our sponsors. The European Union Delegation in Dar es Salaam has been our main supporter in previous festivals and continues to do so this year. Likewise the GIZ continues to sponsor the much loved and hailed Sembene Ousmane Film for Development awards, which support the development of short films made by Africans. We welcome Rom Solutions, a new ZIFF sponsor and applaud COMNET of Zanzibar, the longest lasting sponsor of all. 

Finally, we wish to issue a special appeal to Tanzanians, East Africans and people world over. In order to joyfully commemorate our 25th anniversary we wish to share a moment with all those who have ever been to ZIFF in Zanzibar. We invite people to send us photos of their memories of being at ZIFF by revealing to us the year you were at ZIFF and the people we see on the foto. 

We are celebrating, and we want to celebrate with you. Please send your photos to Coordinator Aisha Mussa  

Email: aishaziff@gmail.com 

ZIFF is East Africa’s largest film, music and arts festival, bringing new talents together from all over the world for a Zanzibar Tamasha! 

Beginning in 1998 its aim is to contribute to regional socio‐cultural growth and global cultures of tolerance. This is done through creating spaces and events in which film, music, performances and other art forms are engaged with in promoting, developing, show-casing, exploring, and informing regional culture and especially as these relate to dhow culture. As an NGO ZIFF aims to increase the creative capacities and incomes of the creative industries community through improving the market systems and fast adoption of improved quality of technical and physical infrastructure services.