The Zimbabwe International Film Festival Trust (ZIFFT) has announced the cancellation of its 21st edition of the festival which had been scheduled to run from September 14 to 21 under the theme "Owning Our Story".
In a statement, ZIFFT director Nigel Munyati said they took the unfortunate decision in response to the dire funding constraints resulting from the prevailing economic environment.
"While the Trust tried its best to curate a dynamic Zimbabwe-focused film screening and workshops programme, the inability of our corporate sponsors to support us this year has made it impossible to continue with our plans.
"The festival has received over 100 submissions of films in all genres both from Zimbabwe and abroad, proving that the interest in Zimbabwe's creative industries is very high," he said.
"ZIFFT does have full confidence, however, that the festival will return next year."
The theme "Owning Our Story" was intended to highlight ZIFFT's continued focus on upgrading the image of the African creative; as they seek relevance, validation, and pride in a global space where western, and lately Asian, cultures predominate.
In a related matter, ZIFFT is progressing with its "Narratives from Zimbabwe" project, in which it is documenting Zimbabwe's history and heritage, to create a multi-media digital archive and interactive website.
So far the project has interviewed Zezuru (Chiweshe), Karanga (Gutu), and Budya (Mutoko) chiefs, and filmed heritage sites in the respective areas. The 18-month project will cover all of Zimbabwe's provinces and all ethnic groups.