Zanzibar — IRANIAN Director Vahid Vousain won the Golden Dhow at this year’s Zanzibar International Festival (ZIFF), for his feature film “Golchehreh”. As is the custom immediately after the event on Saturday night, the film was rescreened, on the big screen of the amphitheatre within the Old Fort in Stone Town.
The film depicts the plight of a cinema owner in Kabul, Afghanistan, Ashraf Khan, who wants to rebuild her cinema after the fall of the communist regime of Najibullah and the domination of the Mujahidin. One of the jurors, Wengeci Murage from Nairobi, Kenya, told a packed amphitheatre they had chosen “Golchehreh” because of the way it reaches out to audiences and cinema lovers both on and off the screen, emphasising the importance of art for survival and the way cinema enables people to communicate across boundaries.
“In the spirit of ZIFF, this film embodies the importance of cultural history and identity. The film is visually stunning and tells a compelling story of resistance and hope,” she added. The trophy was collected by the Director of the Iranian Fajr Film Festival, Mohammadreza Abbasian, on behalf of Vousain, who had not come to Zanzibar because he was busy finishing his latest film.
This year’s Silver Dhow went to a Kenyan production entitled, “Ni Sisi”, which was directed by Nick Reding. The film portrays a typical Kenyan community, which is built with a harmonious mixture of ethnic groups, intermarriages and extended families. The jurors told the spectators they found this film had successfully brought together theatre and cinema to inform, educate, entertain and engage an audience both inside and outside of it. For the jurors “Ni Sisi” had combined elements of theatre, cinema and popular music to create a “powerful assemble performance that represents the best of the community spirit”.
This is completely in line with this year’s ZIFF theme of a “Shared History”. However, it was not just a night for foreign films getting awards, for on the domestic front there were five awards, each with a financial amount attached, given for local films under the Bongo Movies Awards. In this category Bond Bin Suleiman took both the Best Actor prize for his role as Bobby and Best Director for the film “Lovers Island”.
The Best Actress awards went to Elizabeth Michael, who played the role of Linda in “Woman of Principals”. The People’s Choice award went to “Shoeshine” by Amil Shivji and the Best Feature Film in this category went to “Lovers Island”, which was produced by Javed Jafferji. The judges said the movie has won three awards because right from its beginning the tale of lovers stuck on an island was made a “cracking thriller with a well developed surprising end”. While building slowly, it explores the theme of wealth, poverty, pride humility, resourcefulness, dependency, true love and servitude.
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