Following the news that ZUKU had pumped 1 Million USD into the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) over 10 years, we got to thinking amidst the champagne toasts. What is cooler than a million?
We reckon the objective of a film festival such as ZIFF is to expose a growing number of film makers in the region to the world. That is to distributers, technicians, producers, broadcasters of international repute not to mention audiences.
It would be cool if some of this money went towards facilitating skills and knowledge transfers through co productions for instance. Productions commissioned by ZIFF produced by crews from all over the world including East Africa to be broadcast on the ZUKU platform, with ZIFF retaining the rights to the broadcast so as to recoup its seed investment thereby sustaining the ecosystem of film and tv regionally and outernationally. Its important that East African slots on such a production crew are competed for and not just handed out, ZIFF jury selections can be a guide.
Cooler still would be training seminars and all manner of support for would be festival directors in the region with the objective being to create a feeder system or tier of platforms for film making talent . So for instance a festival selection at say ZUKA automatically qualifies one to ZIFF. The competition at one prepares the filmmaker for the next stage, a consistency in quality of content will result.
For this to work, the partner film festivals and in particular the teams that organise them ought to be trained to run the festivals to a standard that complements ZIFF, still these smaller festivals must retain their creative autonomy and remain authentic to the communities in which they are situated. The diversity of jury selections from festivals across the region will sustain ZIFF and more importantly the community of film lovers across the region.
Positively ice age would be, school tours across the region to expose the work of filmmakers in the region to a wider regional audience which will attract financial backing from investors in the region eager to reach the same audience. These school tours would include screenings and appearances by renowned film makers to share experiences with the next generation.