Golden Globe winning film SELMA to open ZIFF 2015

Golden Globe winning film SELMA to open ZIFF 2015.

selma- ZIFF 2015

SELMA is set to be screened at the Old Fort Ampitheatre in Stonetown, Zanzibar

ZIFF is proud to announce the opening night film  of ZIFF 2015, to be screened at the Old Fort Ampitheatre in Stonetown, Zanzibar on July 18th will be the Golden Globe winning film SELMA.

SELMA is the ideal film to open this year’s ZIFF – as the theme- Waves and Visions of Hope is perfectly reflected in the underlying message of the film. Festival Director, Martin Mhando explains further, “ZIFF prides itself on showcasing films with strong social messages. In 2014 we opened ZIFF with the Mandela film, Long Walk to Freedom, and we are especially proud in 2015 to open with another international film that focuses on an icon of civil and human rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Selma will be an inspirational way to open ZIFF 2015 and to highlight our focus on hope and social change.”

SELMA tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King and the struggle for civil rights in the USA in the 1960’s, yet the film’s themes resonate with audiences across the globe. The film also stars two actors of African descent, David Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo, both Britons of Nigerian descent.

The film’s universal themes of human rights and dignity have special significance for Africa, with its colonial and post-colonial struggles. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr himself likened the American civil-rights movement to liberation struggles across Africa, particularly in South Africa:

In our struggle for freedom and justice in the United States, …  we feel a powerful sense of identification with those in the far more deadly struggle for freedom in South Africa. We know how Africans there, and their friends of other races, strove for half a century to win their freedom by non-violent methods.

Clearly there is much in Mississippi and Alabama to remind South Africans of their own country, yet even in Mississippi we can organise to register Negro voters, we can speak to the press, we can in short organise the people in non-violent action. But in South Africa even the mildest form of non-violent resistance meets with years of imprisonment, and leaders over many years have been restricted and silenced and imprisoned. Today great leaders – Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe – are among many hundreds wasting away in Robben Island prison.

The screening of the film on July 18th, the birthdate of Nelson Mandela will bring added significance to the event.


ZIFF is the largest multi disciplinary art and cultural festival in East Africa will take place from the 18th – 26th of July 2015.

The Zanzibar International Film Festival is the longest running film-festival in East Africa, with global credibility and instant Pan-African recognition.

The ZIFF Festival of the Dhow Countries is organized by ZIFF, a non-governmental, non-profit organization founded in 1998 in Zanzibar to promote and showcase the culture of the Dhow Countries. Every cent raised from sponsors and donors ensures the widest possible accessibility of high- quality international screenings and cultural events to all sections of the Tanzanian population.

The ZIFF Festival of the Dhow Countries is a catalyst for the promotion and development of the region’s cultural industries. It encourages and supports the development of artistic skills and the infrastructure necessary for a vibrant and innovative arts environment.

The festival programme gives particular prominence to the visibility and interests of women and children, including the youth.

The main panorama features international film and video screenings, and international retrospectives along with music and performances, main stage events, exhibitions, workshops and seminars.


Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

SELMA is the story of a movement, chronicling the tumultuous three-month period in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition.

Director Ava DuVernay’s SELMA tells the real story of how the revered and visionary led his brothers and sisters in a movement that forever altered history.


  • Oscar nomination for Best Picture
  • Oscar nomination for Best Original Song
  • Golden Globe Nomination Best Director
  • Golden Globe Nomination Best Motion Picture
  • Golden Globe Nomination Best Actor
  • Golden Globe Winner Best Original song

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