Zanzibar International Film Festival

Things to Know About the Zanzibar International Film Festival

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), otherwise called the Festival of the Dhow Countries, is a yearly film festival that takes place in Zanzibar island, Tanzania. The festival is the biggest cultural occasion in East Africa and its neighboring regions. ZIFF is an NGO founded in 1997 so as to promote and develop film as well as other cultural businesses as a stimulus for regional economic and social growth.

The Film Festival

The yearly multidisciplinary cultural and arts festival is the main activity organized by the Zanzibar International Film Festival. It incorporates all kinds of arts, with eight days of both international and local discussion committees, workshops, as well as ten days of showing the best international and local cinema with musical concerts during the evenings including a Gala every evening. All the programs of the festival are a climax of the appreciation of the manner in which film combines the finest of each form of art, hence offering a variety of Entertainment, Networking options and Education to world audiences.

The event is feasibly the biggest cultural and art festival in the continent which features multiple disciplines and is also a leading tourist attraction in the area. Zanzibar International Film Festival currently gives twelve International awards accorded by five international juries. Approximately 7000 European tourists did visit Zanzibar from the Western countries to attend the event. It is estimated that over 100,000 people attended the festival, with the festival attracting people from different races, social classes and religions in Tanzania. The festival also has a colossal impact on Zanzibar’s economy.

The Zanzibar International Film Festival currently runs fifteen programs during the ten days of the festival. These programs include;

  1. Film workshops
  2. Film competition
  3. Cultural and Historical village tours
  4. Difficult dialogues
  5. Peace camps for children
  6. UNICEF camps for life skills
  7. Film Panorama for children
  8. Exhibition and Art
  9. Soko Film
  10. Festival of festivals
  11. Village Panorama
  12. Children Panorama
  13. Women Panorama
  14. Film Outreach Projections
  15. Opening and Closing nights
Tanuri Group - One of the performing groups at the Zanzibar International Film Festival
Tanuri Group – One of the performing groups at the Zanzibar International Film Festival

At the festival, the films are screened in Stone Town in the city of Zanzibar and the countryside Zanzubari villages.

The Zanzibar International Film Festival Awards

  • Silver Dhow
  • Golden Dhow
  • Short/Animation
  • Documentary
  • UNICEF award
  • East Africa Talent
  • Verona Award
  • Signis Award
  • ZIFF Jury Award
  • Signis Jury Award- Commendation
  • East Africa Region Talent
  • Sembene Ousman Award
  • ZIFF Chairman Award
  • ZIFF Life Time Achievement Award

Winners of the Zanzibar International Film Festival Golden Dhow

Year Director Film Country Of Origin
1998 Martin Mhando, Ron Mulvihill Maangamizi: The Ancient one United States/Tanzania
2000 Jamil Dehlavi Jinnah Pakistan
2001 Jagmohan Mundhura Bawandar (The Sand Storm) India
2004 Rajv Vijay Raghavan Maargam (The Path) India (Malayalam)
2005 Atiq Rahimi Khakestar-o-Khak (Earth and Ashes) Afghanistan
2006 Cheikh Ndiaye L’Appel Des Arenes (Wrestling Grounds) France/Burkina Faso/Morocco/Senegal
2007 Balufu Bakupa-kanyinda Juju Factory DRC
2008 Newton I. Aduaka Ezra France/Nigeria
2009 Ralph Ziman Jerusalema South Africa (SA)
2010 Stefanie Sycholt Themba SA
2011 Bob Nyanja The Rugged Priest Kenya
2012 Ndaba Ka Ngane Uhlanga SA
2013 Vahid Mousala Golchereh
2014 Biyi Bandele Half of a Yellow Sun US
2015 Faras Cavallo Wazi? FM Kenya
2016 Nick Reding Watatu Kenya
2017 Daryne Joshua Noem My Skolie SA
2018 Likarion Wainaina Supa Modo Germany/Kenya

Recent Awards

Zanzibar International Film Festival 2021 – to be updated

Zanzibar International Film Festival 2022 –

Zanzibar International Film Festival Submission

The festival team is always accepting applications for the next events. Get more information from the festivals page here, if looking to participate –

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