11 days to go until ZIFF 2011

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From 18 - 26 June, 2011, Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) now in its 14th year, taking place in Zanzibar, Tanzania is East Africa's largest film and arts festival, showcasing a broad spectrum of African films.

Things are now starting to take shape with 71 films - feature lengths, shorts & documentaries - selected for the festival and to be shown at The Old Fort and various other venues.

World Premieres will include the hilarious Taka Takata (SouthAfrica) and Kenyan film The Rugged Priest by Bob Nyanja (Malooned).

The 'Festival of Festivals' exchange welcomes Trinidad & Tobago. Thanks to the continued support of the Commonwealth Foundation, this exchange program will see films from Trinidad & Tobago showcased at ZIFF for the second year running.
"We are pleased to again be part of this wonderful initiative," said Jonathan
Ali, Editorial Director of TIFF. "I especially look forward to showcasing these films at ZIFF, confident that the universal language of cinema will speak to the audiences there and reflect the beautiful diversity that characterises us as Caribbean people."

Two short films and two feature length form Trinidad and Tobago will be screened at ZIFF 2011. The feature length films are Children of God, a poignant drama out of the Bahamas, winner of both the jury and audience prizes for best film at the ttff/11, and Caribbean Skin, African Identity, an engaging documentary from Trinidad and Tobago about the politics of racial and ethnic identity.

The Commonwealth Foundation has been inexistence for almost 50 years, working on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth nations to make a stronger, healthier society. Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah Director of the Commonwealth Foundation is hugely supportive of this film exchange program; “Increasing exposure to films across continents is an effective way to share ideas and dreams, For the second year the Commonwealth Foundation is supporting this innovative partnership between Zanzibar and Trinidad and we believe it is important that we do so not just from a cultural perspective but from a social one too.”
The first phase of the exchange will happen at ZIFF while the TTFF will take place from 21 September - 4 October 2011. For details visit here: and here:

ZIFF may be an international festival, but it is also a local festival representative of the rich cultural heritage of the Dhow countries. To honour this, a substantial part of the program is devoted to East African cinema, including many Swahili language films. The Mambo Club will be showing Swahili films every second day throughout the festival and Friday 24th June will be a devotedly Swahili & Bongo Film Day at all the festival venues. ZIFF will showcase two East African film World Premieres to look forward–“Glamour” and “Ray of Hope”. Keep an eye on the website for scheduling updates.
 
ZIFF 2011 is introducing the Documentary Pitching Tree Contest as an extension to its Soko Filam Program. Filmmakers from East Africa are invited to submit their projects to be included in our Pitching Contest. The sessions will be open only to East African documentary filmmakers. Nick Broomfield will be running a Documentary Workshop at ZIFF 2011.

British Documentary film maker Nick Broomfield talked to ZIFF about his interest
in East Africa. Nick said that East Africa is “a part of the world that I'm fascinated with - I'm kind of in love with East Africa. I was last year filming in Tanzania as Executive Producer in a film called Albino United about a football team in Dar Es Salaam, so I got to know it quite well. The film I’m working on at the moment is actually being shot down in Mwanza but I had the opportunity to meet with the President of Tanzania and also spend a bit of time in Zanzibar. This part of the world has become part of my life”…

Tell us a bit more about that project! “Ronan Bennet, an Irishman wrote a book called The Catastrophist and it's set in the Belgian Congo at a time of Patrice Lumumba in 1960.I spent quite a lot of time visiting different countries to find locations and really felt that Mwanza had the best location. I've gotten great co-operation from the Tanzanian military and of course from the President and the Mayor and the town council in Mwanza, so I will be coming to the festival from there with my line-Producer Donall McCusker and my Producer Paul Miller. They are both doing workshops at the festival as well.”

Why do you think documentary is important, and what kind of knowledge do you
think you can pass on at the ZIFF workshop?
“Well documentary is immediate, I
think with modern technology it's become very accessible to a lot more people. Documentaries are stories on people’s doorsteps and I am sure that there are a lot of amazing stories in Zanzibar and East Africa. I like to encourage making documentaries as cheaply and as simply as possible. Documenting ones own life and ones own situation. I've never felt I've had any expertise. A lot of it seems to be kind of common sense and story telling. To tell the story in such a way that people want to see the story you're telling.“

Your advice to filmmakers?
“The hardest thing would be to you know just believe in yourself, we all have that side in us that says it’s too hard, no ones going to want to watch it etc. I think it's very important to stick with your convictions and go with them even when it gets very hard. (…) You need to promise yourself that you'll make it through to the end. And that's easier said than done. The actual making of the film is hard. And I think that's very important to realize when you're starting as a filmmaker because not only will you have lots of self doubt, and probably will have lots of financial problems too, but there are also problems that you never imagined and it takes many times longer that you thought. Some people can be defeated before they finish the film and they will probably never do it again because it was a bad experience, so I think that's the hardest thing to keep on putting one foot in front of the other really”.

For more information visit ZIFF here: