Top 10 Festivals on the Continent

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Durban International Film Festival (DIFF)

The Durban International Film Festival was established in 1979, by the Sarkins, Ross and Teddy.  This South Africa based film festival isn’t just one with movie screenings and awards, it also offers filmmaker workshops, industry seminars, discussion forums, and outreach activities that include screenings in township areas where cinemas are non-existent. Since 2006, Amnesty International, via the Durban Amnesty group, has also sponsored a cash prize called the Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award at the DIFF.

Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF)

The Cairo International Film Festival boasts the record of being the only international competitive feature film festival to be recognised by the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) in Africa. Almost 50 years old, the CIFF has holds annually at the Cairo Opera House (except in 2011 and 2013, when it was cancelled primarily due to political conflict). The CIFF hands out prizes such as the Golden Pyramid Award, its highest and most prestigious award for Best Picture, as well as the Silver Pyramids Award for Best Director and Bronze Pyramid Award for Best New Director, among others.

The African Film Festival (TAFF)

Founded by award-winning filmmaker Kelechi Eke, The African Film Festival is non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating and teaching African culture through motion pictures, arts, and storytelling. Asides from film and filmmakers’ prizes, TAFF also celebrates other important elements in film, such as Drawings (storyboards) to Music (soundtracks) to Fashion (costume) to Body Paintings (makeup).

Zuma Film Festival (ZUFF)

Entering its 12th year in existence, the ZUMA Film Festival (ZUFF) is a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Information & Culture responsible for planning, promoting and driving an integrated and efficient film industry in Nigeria. Named after the famous Zuma rock in Abuja, where it holds, the Zuma film festival was a biennale event until in 2017, and presents awards for Best Picture, as well as Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film, Best Indigenous Film, and Best Animation, among others. Its 2021 edition will take place in December.

Cape Town International Film and Market Festival

Known as the Cape Winelands Film Festival (CWFF) when it was established in 2007, the Cape Town film festival has since significantly grown in size and international participation. This film festival is known for showcasing films in a wide range of countries, including Brazil, USA, Canada, Egypt, Iran, Cuba, Italy, and South Africa, among others.

Africa in Motion (AiM)

The African in Motion film festival is one that takes place outside the continental soil. Based at the Filmhouse cinema in Edinburgh, Scotland, Africa in Motion (AiM) is an annual African film festival that consists of film screenings and complementary events. Now in its twelfth year, AiM brings the best of African cinema to Scotland — making it possible for Scottish audiences to engage with African stories and industry professionals from the continent.

Nollywood Week Film Festival

The Nollywood Week Film Festival may have found global acclaim in 2021, but this event has been around for eight years. It started in 2013 as a film festival showcasing Nigerian cinema to a global audience, and its main prize is the Prix du Public (Audience Award) which is awarded to the filmmaker whose film scores the highest amongst the audience based on votes.

Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF)

Also known as Festival of the Dhow Countries, the Zanzibar International Film Festival is an annual film festival held in Tanzania. It has been described as the largest cultural event in East Africa, and was established as a non-governmental organization in 1997 to develop and promote film and other cultural industries as catalyst for the regional and continental social and economic growth.

Marrakech International Film Festival (MIFF)

As the name more than hints, the Marrakech International Film Festival (originally known as the) is held in Marrakech, Morocco. It is an international film festival founded by the Marrakech International Film Festival Foundation in 200, and the festival’s jury gathers important international writers, actors and personalities, and aims to reward the best African (especially Moroccan) feature and short films.

African International Film Festival (AFRIFF)

Arguably the top film festival on the continent, the African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) was founded in 2010 by Chioma Ude, and held its inaugural edition in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, in Nigeria. Annually held in Nigeria, AFRIFF gives out honours in categories such Feature, Documentary, Short, Animation, and Students Short, as well as awards and prizes for Directing, Acting, and Screenplay. There are also additional special awards for Audience Choice and an Outstanding Film Jury Award. Its 2020 edition featured films such as Rattlesnakes and Knuckle City.

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