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ZIFF has taken over Zanzibar!

ZIFF has taken over Zanzibar!

I’m happy to start this blog by writing about ZIFF, Zanzibar International Film Festivals. Our office in the Old Fort happens to be in the heart of all action, so I’ve got a close look on what’s going on.

Movie screening in the Old Fort

Firstly, this festival is huge. Besides that there are film screenings the whole day every day for 9 days, there are also music perfomances every night. So if someone decides to come next year to ZIFF, I’m sure you will find enough to see and do.

As a Finnish person, it was a pleasure to get a chance to watch Mika Kaurismäki’s Mama Africa with the mostly African audience. Besides for certain teenagers with their loud mobile phones, there was a great concentration and apllases in the high points of the movie.

Our office has never before been a more interesting place to hang out. It’s been used as a VIP lounge and a press room, so there have been people from all over the world, especially from Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa. And we got a chance to get some Hollywood glamour from the We The Party -movie promoters Mario Van Peebles and Michael Cohen.

Khamis from Colors of Zanzibar, actor-director Mario Van Peebeles and designer Farouque at the film forum

This year there is also lots of excitement around the local movie productions and there was a discussion forum on how to make Zanzibar a more appealing filming location and also how to boost local movie industry. Did you know that the Dar es Salaam movie industry, called Bongowood, has been growing extremely fast? There is nowadays a new movie almost every day!

The thing is, movie industry is still in a very early stage here in Tanzania as there is no proper education provided in Tanzania, and funding is difficult to get. The money comes now from DVD sales, but the DVD prices are very low to avoid piracy. But now a pay-TV called Zuku has promised to stand up and start broadcasting local movies.

Here is one small example of how the local movies here look like:

So this years’ festival has been great, and there is still more to come on saturday and sunday. Those of you who didn’t make it this year, make it next year then!

Colors of Zanzibar provides special packages made for ZIFF visitors, and there is always a possibilty to have a tailor-made holiday including ZIFF. And you East Africans, you should definetely visit this and enjoy the culture of your own district!

Shilole performing in the Old Fort

 

Written by: Aino Tanhua

 

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