The SOTAMBE International Film and Arts Festival (SOTAMBE IFAF) organized annually by the SOTAMBE Film Institute (SFI) is currently the biggest film festival in Zambia promoting filmmakers from Southern African Region. The 7th edition of the Festival is scheduled to take place in the period 22 – 26 September 2020 under the theme “Arts for a living” and this theme emphasizes the need for artists to realize financial benefits from their work. The submissions are open to all filmmakers world-wide, but the filmmaking competition applies to the filmmakers based in the Southern African region only.
During the seven years of organizing the film festival which necessitated interactions with filmmakers, we noticed that there are very few supporting structures in the country available for filmmakers such as casting agencies, film distribution agencies and film funds. “Aligning it with our theme for 2020 we decided to go a bit further and establish a SOTAMBE NATONAL FILM FUND that would help filmmakers to access funds and make their productions easier. Further the FUND would help them with the film distribution strategies in order to generate money.” Said Martina Mwanza, SFI Managing Director. This is a first project of its kind in Zambia and certainly a pilot project for the SOTAMBE Film Institute that will be launched at the Awards Ceremony.
This year the film festival received over 200 movie submissions from all parts of Zambia and Southern African region and an additional 378 short film scripts for the competition which was announced in February this year, and 26 of the Zambian scripts were legible for the competition. These numbers clearly demonstrate the interest and passion of the filmmakers to keep producing their content, and also the trust they put onto the SOTAMBE platform.
Unfortunately, in this period of the global pandemic, the SOTAMBE Film Institute was negatively impacted just like other businesses, artists and filmmakers. “As a result of these events, we have had to deal with a drastic reduction in sponsorships for this year’s edition. Almost ALL activities associated with the creative industry in the country were cancelled or postponed due to the same. However, we feel that filmmakers are putting lots of hope in the SOTAMBE Film Festival and we wouldn’t like to disappoint them by entirely cancelling our event.”
Therefore, the organizers decided to put together an online edition of the Festival with the little resources available.
“We would like to thank all the sponsors that supported us even in the difficult times like this one: Garden Court Hotel Kitwe, Circle 7 Media (SA), MultiChoice Talent Factory, Visualize Solutions and many more individuals who dedicate their free time and passion into the SOTAMBE.” The Festival will consist of online Masterclasses available for free to all filmmakers in Zambia and Southern African Region, and an online Awards ceremony at the Garden Court Hotel, Kitwe that will be aired on Saturday 26 September 2020 on social media platforms @sotambefestival!
To all filmmakers: keep safe, keep producing and tune in online for the Masterclasses and Awards Ceremony!