Festival director Fabrizio Colombo says that this year’s selection process was incredibly difficult due to the incredible amount of submissions, over 600, and the calibre and quality of the films across the genres of documentary, feature, and short.

“It has been really hard to make a selection from so many submissions to our festival. However, the amount of good films from all over the world is also a sign of how much ZIFF is considered one of the greatest festival in the African continent and internationally," adds Colombo.

Filmmakers from over 70 countries submitted films and amongst those countries represented in the final selection are Kenya, Canada, Spain, France, South Africa, Tanzania, India, Australia, the United States, Nigeria, Rwanda, Brasil, Ghana, Chad, Uganda, Mozambique, Hungary, the United Kingdom, and Ethiopia, amongst others.

Films will compete in various categories, including the official ZIFF awards of the Golden Dhow, the Sembene Ousmane Award, Best African Film, The Adiaha Award for Best African Female Documentary Filmmaker, Best International Film, Best Film from the Dhow Countries, the Emerson of Zanzibar award and the Trace East African Music Award, amongst a host of others.

The ZIFF opening night will see the world premiere of the Tanzanian comedic feature film, T- Junction, directed by Amil Shivji. The film includes some new acting faces and is a look at modern urban life in Tanzania. The film stars Magdalena Christopher and Hawa Ally as the two girls at the centre of the story.

Other highlights in the selection include Mbithi Masya’s feature film Kati Kati, a Kenyan film that won the Prize of the International Film Critics at the Toronto Film Festival, Florian Schott’s Katutura, one of the few feature films to come out of Namibia, and Klumeni, a new style of bongo movies from director Ernest Napoleon.

ZIFF will also include Winnie, the newest documentary on Winnie Mandela to come out of South Africa, directed by Pascale Lamche. Another inclusion in the schedule sees the return of well-known documentary filmmaker, Nick Broomfield, to ZIFF with his latest documentary on Whitney Houston, Whitney: Can I Be Me.  

The Ivory Game is another Netflix documentary from executive producer Leonardo di Caprio and directors Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani and will also be screened at this year’s festival. 

Multiple venues across Stone Town will see over 100 films screened during the nine-day ZIFF festival in its 20th-anniversary edition.

ZIFF 20th also opens a new section dedicated to African Film Schools. A selection of 15 films will be announced soon and screened during the festival. The best one will be awarded during award night.

For more information, visit www.ziff.or.tz. Alternatively, connect with them on Facebook.