“No longer is a festival about a place alone, but a festival is also about its creative structures, its sustainability as well as its contribution to the multi-colored garden of world cinema”.

(Martin Mhando- ZIFF CEO)



Each year, some of the most captivating and cutting-edge cinema from Africa and beyond is screened in venues across the island. From world-premiers to local shorts, we’ve got it all, with a long history of showcasing the highest quality film from all over the world.

The Festival aims to raise awareness and promote international cinema as art, entertainment and as an industry, promoting dialogue, human rights and freedom. Through its programmes the festival reaches wide audiences normally not commonly the focus of film festivals, and there is that is the ZIFF difference.  Through its Women, Children and Village Panoramas, its Music and Art Platform, its Public Forums and Outreach screenings, retrospectives and tributes, the festival makes a huge contribution towards a better understanding of cinema.

This year has meant a smaller program, colored by the pandemic and the late decision to hold the festival, which nonetheless will have an enormous impact on the festival’s purveyors and audiences. The festival will have both Online and Onset platforms (commonly known as hybrid). These co-supportive platforms mean bigger audiences and reach as well an opportunity to redefine festivals.

Festival of Festivals

From the beginning ZIFF has been also built as a platform for reaching out to communities through film and the arts. As with this year’s theme “Sharing Our Heritage” we also share the ZIFF platform with other NGOs, Government and Development Partners to reach audiences that would normally be sidelined or reached poorly. Through the use of film we are able to impact more effectively audiences that we interact with during the festival and beyond. This year we shall also share the platform with fellow festival of worth.

With Elles Tournent of Belgium we shall collaborate to bring workshops that advocate for gender equity through looking at the place of the woman in the film industry value chain in Europe and Africa. The Delegation of the European Union to Tanzania will also share the ZIFF platform to engage with filmmakers, creative industries and various communities in the country through utilizing the power of film.

With Native Voices of Uganda we share the ZIFF platform as a training tool. As the Festival Director of Native Voices Sarah Kizza Nsigaye says, “The knowledge and exposure that comes with being part of the biggest cultural event in the regional will not only enhance their personal career path, it will compliment Native Voices festival organizing growth.”


A Zanzibar institution, ZIFF is a truly local festival, with exhibitions, workshops, and cultural tours that take you to the heart of the community. We promote local talent in film and music, showcasing new and old creative achievements. As ZIFF comes to town, so too do opportunities for recognising arts and crafts – the festival is always a hotbed of activity!
Through the Outreach Community Film Screenings we are able to discuss issues of concern to us all as inhabitants of earth including Freedom, the value of Culture and of course the Environment.

Difficult Dialogues

At ZIFF this year, we again shall stop the festival to talk about this most urgent matter to Africans and Tanzanians in particular since we have many stories about our combats against Covid 19 and Malaria.
Malaria has killed more people than all other diseases and wars on Earth combined. What if there was a herb that could defeat the deadly malaria parasite and save a thousand lives per day, every day? Sound good? Not everybody thinks so. Big pharma corporations fear for their profits. Big donors like Bill Gates want high tech science.
Likewise indigenous knowledge around both Malaria and Covid 19, used extensively in Africa, continues to suffer as nations battle to understand how best to utilize technology without putting lives in danger as well as without undermining indigenous knowledge. This is the Difficult Dialogue of our days.