ZANZIBAR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL MARKS 20 YEARS, CALLED ON TO MODERNIZE


It has been  a week of films here at Stone Town,  a lot has happened and more is yet to happen at a festival that started with some very wise words from the former Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete.
 ZIFF Guest Jakaya Kikwete at ZIFF 2017.
Copyright 2017, Peter Bennett

 Several film makers and industry stake holders from across the world descended on the Spice Islands to pick a thing or two from the festival that has been running for 20 years now.

There have been a great response from local film makers but unfortunately not the so-called stars of the Bongo movies theirs seem to be a resigned case.

In our midst was Dexter Davis the CEO of D Street a production company whose presence added glamour to the festival and he had some very wise words for film makers at a series of the workshops that he facilitated.

The movies were great that is a fact that most film enthusiasts admit, however what has been very obvious that organisers cannot afford to ignore is the call to modernize.

For the thousands who have travelled thousands of miles to be part of this spectacle, some it was their first time whereas for others it has become a routine that is firmly marked on their calendars.

They were all here in confirmation of the edition’s theme christened Finding Joy, probably not all of them for there were those whose films were barred by the film board due to erotic scenes.
The week has been full of activity featuring World Premieres of more than three films, works shops by veteran film makers, the Soko Filamu experience and even the village panoramas.
The choice of former President Jakaya Kikwete as the opening day guest of honour has remained a buzz around the Old Fort and it was one that was well thought of as he left the festival organisers with something to think about.
Though he remains a great fan of the festival and its aspirations Mr Kikwete is convinced that that the festival is yet to utilize its huge potential to the very end.
“This festival is talked about almost everywhere and when you choose to maximize its potential there is every possibility that it can achieve what other festivals across the world have achieved. Make it big!” he says amid a loud applause.
 “I have been told that you that this year alone you have registered about 14,000 visitors who have come specifically for this festival but this could still get better if you followed the examples that have been set elsewhere,” he said.
But as the president gave festival organisers a pep talk, there was something that was rather amiss, not even the tourism minister for the Isles was present for such a grand ceremony.
It is yet to be explained why he chose to stay away but hopefully it was all for the right reasons that befits no further questioning.
 

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