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SIGNIS prizes at the Zanzibar Film Festival

Tuesday 19 July 2016, by SIGNIS

Zanzibar, July, 19th, 2016 (SIGNIS). At the 18th Zanzibar International Film Festival ( ZIFF), that took place from July 9 to 17, SIGNIS gave two prizes and one commendation.

SIGNIS gave its prize to Watatu, by Nick Reding (Kenya, 2015)

Watatu is a film made in Mombasa, Kenya, where the problem of religious radicalization is dividing the society. Radicalization of the youth is slowly becoming a great concern in the entire region, if not in the whole world. The Jury recognizes the artistic quality of the film, saying that “It has an original and contextual way of presenting the problems arising from religious radicalism, which has rocked the entire world” and that there is “a balance between sense of humour and the seriousness of the matter”. The Jury also noted that it has a universal impact as it shows universal aspect of the contemporary society, such as ethnic and religious tolerance, the danger of religious radicalism and the indoctrination of the youth. Finally, the Jury said that “In the film, there is an originality of using the audience to drive the message home.”

SIGNIS also gave an “East African Talent Award” to A Place for Myself, by Clementine Dusabejambo (Rwanda, 2016)

This short film tells a story about the love of the mother for her child with albinism, on which basis she commits herself to fight for the right of the child to education and to dignified life, in a manner that is not violent. The Jury noted that “the story is told from the point of view of the suffering mother and the child that is stigmatized for her being with albinism. The way the mother confronted the teacher and the parents is an interesting factor in the film: without using violence but dialogue and letters” The film highlights the importance of being tolerant towards “people that are different from us, especially those with albinism and any other kind of disability” and strives for “a recognition of the human rights of people with albinism and other disabilities.” The Jury also said that “the film is so simple but the plot is constructed in a unique way - around the stigmatization experience that the child and her mother are undergoing” and that “how the child struggles to understand her situation moves the viewers into a kind of discomfort.”

The SIGNIS Jury also gave a commendation to "Me Belgian, My Mother Ghanian", by Adams Mensah.

The film maker takes us on this journey of ours, from his personal experience, of trying to find ways of finding health care for his sick mother by taking her to Belgium to stay with the rest of the family, only to find it impossible to get a visa. Adams tackles an issue of Africans’ migration into Europe but in a very captivating way. The Jury explained that what makes the film captivating is that “the suffering of his mother becomes his personal suffering, as he tries to overcome the systemic challenges within the bureaucracy.” The film calls for equal opportunity and treatment for all human beings. There is a need for policies that promote a human heart when addressing problems of migration. The film also addresses “the ugly face of corruption, which is making people inhuman to each other”. The documentary really “raises awareness about the plight of African whose families are disintegrated due to migration. “

The Jury Members were

  • Pamela Adinda, Kenya
  • Fr. Andrew Kaufa, Malawi
  • Barbara Brugmans, Belgium
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