2016 Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF): Α platform for cultural collaboration

ZIFF brought together professionals from different film industries

August 15th, 2016
Myron Kanter-Bax, CD News

The 20th Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) took place from July 9th to 17th in Tanzania. Participating organizations included the Beijing Film Academy, the Film and Publications Board of South Africa, the Iran Cultural Centre, and the UNO office in Zanzibar and the Valetta Film Festival. As well, professionals from the film industries from Africa, Middle East, Asia and Europe attended. Participants discussed the best practices and creating a common vision for progress.

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), also known as Festival of the Dhow Countries, is the largest multi-disciplinary art and cultural festival in Africa. The festival is held annually in Zanzibar, Tanzania; it is one of the most remarkable cultural events of international appeal taking place in Africa, righteously being described as the largest cultural event in East Africa.   

The theme of the festival was “This Journey of Ours” and ZIFF 2016. More than 60 film screenings made in Africa, Middle East, Europe, Latin America, USA and Asia were shown in one week.
One of the benchmark events of the Festival was a short discussion presented by the Beijing Film Academy about the New Chinese Cinema focusing on training and opportunities in China.

In addition, this year’s ZIFF welcomed the Valletta Film Festival which organized an event that brought together small-nations to discuss their film industries. The projected plan was to make the festival an annual event.

Each year, ZIFF also gives International Awards to the best films in each category. Film productions made in different regions of the world are compared and judged on a criteria.
East African films dominated this year the awards, with Rwanda’s “A Place for Myself” winning three awards: The Sembene Ousmane Award, The Signis Prize, and the Golden Dhow for Best Short Film. Kenya’s “Watatu” was also honored with 3 awards, including the coveted Golden Dhow for Best Feature Film, alongside the Kenyan film “Zawadi” that won two awards.


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