New ZIFF Award For Developmental Films


Films from Africa and all over the world will again be on show at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) from 11 to 20 July. For the first time the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, in co-operation with the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) and the Southern Africa Communications for Development (SACOD), will be awarding the Ousmane Sembene Films for Development Award. The prize will be awarded to a film that takes a particular look at topics of development co-operation. It carries prize money of US $5,000 and is designed to help the winner in his or her future filmmaking career.

The focus of the ZIFF film selection in 2008 will be on HIV/AIDS, with topics such as gender, the environment and ecology, education and poverty following in the years to come.

“HIV/AIDS poses a threat to people and societies throughout the world, particularly in the large majority of African countries. Future development in the countries of Africa depends to a large extent on whether the societies particularly hard hit by HIV manage to cope with this pandemic. That’s why we’re focusing on HIV/AIDS in the first year of the prize,’ said Thomas Kirsch-Woik, GTZ expert on HIV/AIDS.

“People all over the world are fascinated by films, both documentary and fiction. Films are more than just entertainment, because they always show us something about ourselves and society. If film makers manage to address topics such as HIV/AIDS and hence use their work to contribute to a person’s or a country’s development, that’s a very great achievement. I am delighted that we have teamed up with the ZIFF festival management and SACOD to support committed filmmakers in their work,’ said Thorsten Wassermeyer, initiator of the GTZ film prize.

“ZIFF opens again its platform to the world in the ardent hope that the confluences of the oceans that drove dhows and other vessels to this distant coast of Africa will again bring forth new energies to a world in need of synergies of cultures”, said Martin Mhando, chief executive officer of the Zanzibar International Film Festival. “Our objective is to create an environment and develop skills which will enable filmmakers to pursue their mutual concerns. I am optimistic that the Ousmane Sembene Films for Development Award will bring us a step towards this.’

“As the only peer review mechanism of its kind in Africa, the SACOD Forum presents a rare opportunity to celebrate development films. SACOD’s association with the Ousmane Sembene Films for Development Award is therefore our way of celebrating the African story and the men and women who are committed to telling this all too important story’, said Tambudzai Madzimure, director of the Southern Africa Communications for Development (SACOD).

Filmmakers may submit their films if they have citizenship of an African country or if their permanent place of residence is in an African country. The prizewinner will be decided by an international jury. It is hoped that there will be special showings of the winning film at other African and European film festivals. Partnerships with African and European television channels, which would like to show the winning film, are also being considered. At a workshop held at the same time as the film festival, filmmakers will have an opportunity to share ideas about how topics such as HIV/AIDS can be successfully addressed in films. (Source: SACOD Newsletter)


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