Zanzibar International Film Festival

Zanzibar International Film Festival
Location Zanzibar, Tanzania
Founded 1997
Awards Golden Dhow

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), also known as Festival of the Dhow Countries, is an annual film festival held in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It has been described as the largest cultural event in East Africa. ZIFF is a non-governmental organization established in 1997 to develop and promote film and other cultural industries as catalyst for the regional social and economic growth.

The Film festival

The annual multi disciplinary arts and cultural festival is ZIFF’s major activity; the festival is an all-arts affair, with 8 days of local and international discussion panels, workshops, 10 days of screenings of the best local and international cinema and evenings of musical concerts including a Gala each evening. All festival programs are a culmination of the realization of the capacity of film to fuse together the best of each art-form, offering a wide range of Entertainment, Educating and Networking options for world audiences. The festival is arguably the largest multi disciplinary art and cultural festival in Africa, and continues to lead as a tourist attraction event in the region. ZIFF now gives 12 International Awards presented by 5 International Juries. It is estimated that 7000 western tourists came to Zanzibar to attend the festival and the total festival audience was in excess of 100,000 with wide appeal across race, class and religions. Its impact on the economy of Zanzibar is unquestionable.

2013 audience

The ZIFF festival now runs 15 programs over the 10 days that include:

  1. Film Competition
  2. Film Workshops
  3. Opening and Closing Nights
  4. Film Outreach Projections
  5. Women panorama
  6. Children panorama
  7. Village panorama
  8. Festival of Festivals
  9. Soko Film
  10. Art and Exhibition
  11. Children Film panorama
  12. UNICEF Life skills Camps
  13. Children Peace camps
  14. Difficult Dialogues
  15. Historical and Cultural Village Tours[1]

During the festival, films are shown in Stone Town in Zanzibar City, as well as rural Zanzibari villages.[2]


Golden Dhow winners

Year Film Director Country of origin
1998 Maangamizi: The Ancient One[3] Martin Mhando, Ron Mulvihill Tanzania/United States
2000 Jinnah[4] Jamil Dehlavi Pakistan
2001 Bawandar (The Sand Storm)[5] Jagmohan Mundhra India
2004 Maargam (The Path)[6] Rajiv Vijay Raghavan India (in Malayalam)
2005 Khakestar-o-Khak (Earth and Ashes)[7] Atiq Rahimi Afghanistan
2006 L'Appel Des Arenes (Wresting Grounds)[8] Cheikh Ndiaye Senegal/Morocco/Burkina Faso/France
2007 Juju Factory[9] Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda Democratic Republic of Congo
2008 Ezra[10] Newton I. Aduaka Nigeria/France
2009 Jerusalema[11] Ralph Ziman South Africa
2010 Themba[12] Stephanie Sycholt South Africa
2011 The Rugged Priest[13] Bob Nyanja Kenya
2012 Uhlanga[14] Ndaba Ka Ngane South Africa
2013 Golchereh[15] Vahid Mousaia


  1. Pfaff, Françoise (2004). Focus on African films. Indiana University Press. p. 277. ISBN 0-253-21668-0.
  2. "Zanzibar festival aims to bridge ocean". BBC. 1999-07-06. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  3. "Maangamizi Wins". Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  4. "Festival 2000 Awards Winner". Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  5. "Golden Sandstorm Blows Over Zanzibar". 2001-07-18. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  6. wa Wanjiru, Kimani (2006-09-08). "ZIFF Integrating the Region through Art and Culture". Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  7. "Festival de Zanzibar : palmarès". July 2005. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  8. Lorey, Barbara (2006-09-08). "Setting Sail Over New Waters". Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  9. "News & Events". Kenya Film Commission. 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  10. "Winning Films at ZIFF 2008". Official ZIFF website. Archived from the original on September 17, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  11. "Zanzibar International Film Festival". Official ZIFF website. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  12. "Zanzibar International Film Festival". Official ZIFF website. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
  13. "Zanzibar International Film Festival". Official ZIFF website. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  14. "Zanzibar International Film Festival". Official ZIFF website. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  15. "Zanzibar International Film Festival". Official ZIFF website. Retrieved 2015-07-30.

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