Zanzibar — The 10th Festival of the Dhow Countries was held in Zanzibar from June 29 to July 8, its main feature being the International Film Festival.
Besides music, paintings, photo exhibitions, conferences, 43 films (18 documentaries, 12 feature films, 12 short films, and one animation) were presented for a variety of awards. Many more films were screened outside the competition.
The best films were selected by the Zanzibar Festival Board, the International Critics Prize (Fipresci) Jury, the SIGNIS Jury, UNESCO and UNICEF.
UNESCO's Breaking the Chains Award, worth USD 10,000, to "film-makers who dare to speak the unspeakable" was won by the film, 500 Years Later, produced in 2005 by Owen Alik Shahadah, from USA.
The World Catholic Association for Communication (SIGNIS) had four jury members: Fr.Moses Hamungole, from Zambia, Social Communications Secretary of AMECEA, in Nairobi; Ms Sheila Mulinya, from Kenya, Production Manager of Ukweli Video, in Nairobi, Mr. Alberto Ramos, a professional film critic from Cuba, and Fr. Fabrizio Colombo, Director of Nigrizia Multimedia, in Verona, Italy.
The SIGNIS Prize was given to the film, Ibrahim, by Manyar I. Parwani from Denmark. According to the Jury, Ibrahim, featuring a young Rwandese refugee in a European country, portrays the need for solidarity, compassion and dignity that surrounds the immigration issue.
A SIGNIS Commendation went to The Film Class, by Uri Rosenwaks from Israel. It is a documentary-in-a-documentary that questions racism and segregation of the dark-skinned people as seen against the background of the historical legacy of slavery.
For the third year, there was a SIGNIS East African Talent Award. The main prize went to Malooned (marooned), by Bob Nyanja from Kenya. This story takes place in the 15th floor toilet of a Nairobi skyscraper where the two characters, a man and a woman, find themselves locked in.
According to the jury, Malooned is a unique, beautifully told story, which starts with a lot of mistrust of two people from different social backgrounds but ends on a more exciting and clearly illuminating note. The film has been screened recently in some Nairobi cinemas and is now available on DVD.
A SIGNIS Commendation for the East African Talent Award was given to Fimbo Ya Baba (father's stick), by Chande Omar from Tanzania. The jury said this is a simple story with an easy to understand plot that portrays an African woman who has come of age in standing for her rights in a marriage setup.