Explosive Opening for women film fest
By Zandile Zaza Ndlovu
The 15th edition of the International Images Film Festival IIFF 2016 hosted by the Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ) roared into action with a glitzy and glamorous opening ceremony that would be the envy of Hollywood.
Running under the theme Women Alive Women of Heart, the opening ceremony was held at the Ster Kinekor in Borrowdale, Harare.
The well attended event attracted veteran and entry level filmmakers across the spectrum, funders, the diplomatic community, practitioners in the film making industry, rights activists and lovers of fine arts.
Speaking at the event, the festival director Laura Ganda expressed the importance of amplifying the voices of women and girls through film narratives by bringing an eclectic mix of films from 34 countries to five different venues across Harare.
The venues include Ster Kinekor Borrowdale, Alliance Francaise, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Stimulus Innovation Centre at 171 Fife Avenue and Rutendo Hall in Mufakose.
IFF 2016 offers a platform for women filmmakers to showcase their productions, network, as well as compete for accolades.
This year also sees the return of the SADC competition with Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe being represented.
The Filmmakers will be vying to win the Best African, Best SADC, Best Zimbabwe National Fiction, Best Zimbabwe National Documentaries, Best Zimbabwean film with Best sound, Best World View, Vest Newcomer, and Best Short Film categories being judged by both local and international judges.
The festival primarily seeks to promote the affirmative action women filmmakers, hosts various workshops that include and promote gender equality through the support of the Ford Foundation and European Commission.
IIFF2016 also welcomes the role of the Zimbabwean government has played in the formation of the African Audiovisual and Cinema Commission (AACC) by the African Union.
The festival was officially opened by veteran filmmaker Dorothy Meck who took time to welcome filmmakers from across the globe and invited the audience to experience the inspiration and fun of film.
As per tradition, the international film festival for women was brought to life with the screening of a feature film with the honour this year going to Belgium with a film titled Black by European filmmakers of colour Adil El Arbi and Bilal Fallah and breakthrough lead actress Martha Canga Antonio.
The film in tragedy form represented a modern day Romeo and Juliet, exploring the struggles of survival of young love in a grand ridden community.
From beginning to end, the film grips you with its vivid story of life as black person, as a foreigner, as a migrant, peer pressure, roles of parenting, a survivor of war atrocities, the underworld of drugs, rape vicious cycle of gang violence.
Traditional stereotypes of women being victims are explored and challenged at the same time.
One of the lessons for filmmakers taken from the film is on the need to get rid of sugar coating.
The feature film Black is a riveting, heart pumping, raw depiction of love and fang warfare that will have you on the edge and jumping out of your seat.
It is also a powerful, thought provoking film and certainly a must see great showpiece to open the festival.
The festival till September 3 and is open to the public and more information on venues and films can be found on www.icapatrust.org/IFF, facebook@WomenFilmmakersofZimbabwe and Twitter @wfozicapa #IIFF2016.