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Film festival kicks off

Itai Mushekwe

THE International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF) roars into life this evening at the Avondale Vistarama.

The festival, now in its fifth year running, is being held under the

theme “Women with Standards”. Over 30 films are lined up for screening at various venues in Harare and include submissions from France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Algeria and South Korea.

The South Korean film My Mother, the Mermaid, directed and written by Park Haung Shik, is about a young woman who quarrels with her mother but is somehow taken back in time and sees her parents’ courtship.

Another feature film not to miss is the German entry, Sophie Scholl, which will be shown at the Elite 100. Sophie Scholl was nominated for best film at this year’s Oscar Awards.

In a press statement, IIFF programme assistant, Elsworth Benhura said: “The film is set in Munich in early 1943. It is about a young woman’s resilience in her fight against the Nazis. Sophie displays great courage and intellect and remains true to her ideals, even when she is offered a deal that could save her life.”

A mini inaugural film festival, an organisational collaboration between IIFF and the Swedish Development Agency, is also slated for Bulawayo and will run from November 17-18.

Other major highlights of the festival apart from the motion picture feast, are among other things women’s narrative workshops aimed at equipping upcoming female writers with narrative and script writing skills. The workshop will run for four days.

Another exciting dimension of the festival is the screening of Zimbabwean short films, namely Nhaka Yedu, Indian Summer, The Search, and Grind Your Mind. Nhaka Yedu, produced by Short Film Project director, Nakai Matema and directed by rising filmmaker, Marian Kunonga, is set to thrill film lovers due to its controversial but insightful storyline that looks at corruption and mismanagement brought about by the land reform programme and how opportunism for wealth continues in the form of the continued and forced evictions of the remaining white farmers.

“The story is about things happening around us, which people choose to keep quiet about,” Kunonga told Independent Xtra on Tuesday. “It touches on corruption and mismanagement. The truth is really I don’t care whether you call it controversial or not. If it touches a nerve then to me it’s a good film.”

IIFF director, Tsitsi Dangarembga said this year’s theme is ideal because: “We see women contesting the kind of morals imposed on them by society, and it is only through film that they can express themselves.”

Dangarembga said the film workshops for women held in the past have been very useful as evidenced by the worldwide success of two short films, Growing Stronger and Peretera Maneta, both produced by women filmmakers and have gone on to scoop international accolades.

IIFF will mark the end of Zimbabwe’s film calendar after the Zimbabwe International Film Festival that was held two months ago.

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