Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF)


15th Festival of the Dhow Countries

7 – 15 July, 2012

East Africa’s largest film and arts festival, showcasing a broad spectrum of African & International creativity on the theme When Global Images Meet in Zanzibar.

Tentative Schedule

The Opening Day July 7th will begin with film screenings in the morning. The official opening will be in the night in the Old Fort Amphitheatre. It will consist of cultural presentations of music and dance centered around Zanzibar art forms but also inclusive of the broader Tanzanian and African art forms. A video montage of a selection of different films to be screened during the festival will be shown. This will then be followed with the screening of a feature narrative film.

On Sunday July 8th the Dhow race will kick off the day’s activities. Screenings will begin after the race.  In the evening a narrative feature film will be shown followed by the grand opening of the music festival in the Mambo club.

Monday July 9th Workshops on HD Camera and Film Editing Techniques together with the activities of the Children’s and Women’s Panorama will begin in the morning at 09:00. In the evening the same format will be followed i.e. a feature film presentation followed by the music show in Mambo Club. Monday will also see the beginning of the Festival of Festivals Program.

Tuesday July 10th screenings, workshops and activities of the Children’s and Women’s Panoramas will continue as per scheduled. In the evening the program changes such that the theatre performance of Calabashes will replace the feature film presentation. The music show in Mambo club will follow the theatre presentation.

Wednesday July 11th is Made in Zanzibar Day for films and music. The program will be held in La Gema Hotel, outside stonetown.The screenings will reflect this theme as much as possible. The evening the program will present a Kiswahili language Made in Zanzibar narrative feature. The Music show at the Mambo Club will also reflect this theme and will include spoken word.  Wednesday is also The Sembene Ousmane Films for Development showcase day. All the 16 competing films will be shown and assessed by the Jury .

Thursday July 12th   Screenings, workshops and activities of Women’s and Children’s panoramas as per schedules. Afternoon Panel Presentation and open forum on Developing the Film and Entertainment Industry for Employment Creation; Evening program will present the second performance of Calabashes followed by the music show in the Mambo Club

Friday July 13th is Tuwasikilize Wanawake theme day for films and music; Screenings, workshops and activities of the Children’s and Women’s Panoramas as per schedules. The Women’s Panorama activities will be planned in sync with this day to bring the Women’s Panorama center stage at the festival. Evening documentary or narrative feature presentation on, about or by women will be featured this will be followed by Fashion show and the night of women musicians and singers.

Saturday July 14th Screenings, workshops and activities of Children’s and Women’s Panorama as per schedule;

Sunday July 15th the Grand Finale concert with the headline artists in Mambo club. Screenings, workshops and activities of children’s and women’s Panorama as per schedule. Evening closing ceremonies that will include presentation of shorts that were produced in the workshops; presentation of awards with clips from winning films. Closing remarks from guest of honor; followed by Zanzibar music and dance presentation for closing ceremony; and screening of ZIFF winner for best narrative feature

Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF). When Global Images Meet in Zanzibar  during ZIFF from 7th to 15th July 2012.

You are all invited in Zanzibar during the above dates and hope to see you there!!! Promise a lot of Excitement and New Networking Opportunities!


As the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) embarks on a new phase of development, some 15 years since inception, it sees its principle role as centering around enhancing media integration to spur development in both the social and economic spheres across Zanzibar, the United Republic of Tanzania, the East African Community, Africa and globally through the cultures of the Dhow Countries Linkages.

Increasingly, it is becoming crucial for any film festival to address the status and significance of such fairs in the rapidly changing landscape of contemporary media and technology. While one can simply define a festival as an event held by a community to celebrate a unique aspect of that community, it is in many ways a mechanism to sustain cultural groups, or assuring acceptance of a particular cultural discourse that not only generate pride and identity but also has a direct impact on the incomes and well-being of the people.

And it probably goes without saying that the question of for who the festival is targeted at remains an obviously crucial consideration. An initiative like a festival should probably target diverse groups, and would obviously assume different shapes and groups including the local youth groups, film/media makers, tourists, creative types or other leaders from the region, women and children.

While it is important to create something that appeals to multiple constituencies, we must always be mindful of the participants’ potentially different needs, and the opportunities that the festival represents.

Film festivals, for that matter, need to create an integrated cultural environment as part of the larger landscape that audiences live in and for filmmakers – in particular – it forms an essential part of their creative milieu. As ZIFF celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, it is intended to showcase the celebration of art through films. ZIFF 2012 will also celebrate other art forms such as painting, music, architecture, theatre, literature and poetry and thereby, position ZIFF; within the firm roots of the past, as embracing the present and as an opener to the greater and broader future.

More integral to ZIFF at this point and age is its links to the tourism industry and development of new linkages through Film and Cultural Tourism. Tourism is a recognized global industry and one of the largest industries in the world. Like any global industry, tourist business activities have considerable impact on local development trends. Tourism generates foreign exchange earnings, attracts Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), creates employment opportunities, promotes rural enterprises as well as national integration among other things. Indeed, the most direct way to increase the positive impacts of tourism-related business is to increase opportunities for local people to engage in appealing tourism activities in their own regions and geographical locations.

ZIFF – like many other Tanzanian community organizations, is putting concerted efforts to ensure the sustainability of the tourism industry, both in terms of retaining as much value as possible in the region and without compromising the local environment and culture along the way. In partnership with our new and old partners, ZIFF sees a role in becoming a catalyst for the emerging cultural tourism industry locally through collaborative marketing processes, designed to benefit not only ZIFF but also encourage partnerships with businesses such as hotels, tour operators, restaurants, retail media outlets and galleries by enabling them to share audiences, leverage resources, and consider new ways of working together.

The festival is designed to work at multiple levels to always create a significant impact, including efforts to share with our partners existing audiences, target new audiences and enhance the public profile of partner organizations.

And that is why ZIFF’s new links with ZUKU over the next 10 years presents a great opportunity to excel. For us at ZIFF, it is an opportunity to become savvy in our role as a creative industry leader and advocate. We see this as an occasion for stepping out into the future with confidence so as to revolutionize our role as a worthy partner.

The new phase that ZIFF has embarked on aims to position us as a valued partner to organizations by creating an enabling environment for engaging audiences through effective platforms embedded within ZIFF.

It is argued that when festivals are delinked from the community and become forums for tourism purposes alone, they become spectacles and not cultural enlightening and enriching activities. ZIFF presents a balance of this modification of festivals from the consumed commodity to a community’s artistic and educationally enriching tool, ushering shared values amongst the various festival stakeholders, locals, tourists and sponsors.

The main challenge for us all is to entice further the tourism industry in Zanzibar with linkages of the Dhow Culture crossings to realize the immense opportunities that ZIFF can offer to the local, national and international tourism and other film industries. Another key challenge is for us to sustain the 15 years of success not just as a series of events but as a key creative hub for film makers, viewers and other audiences. ZIFF offers itself as a unique opportunity in the region as a platform for artists as well as to engender diverse cultural growth and development.

Karibu ZIFF 2012 and join us in celebrating ZIFF’s 15th Anniversary.