Smoke and thunder as Mosi-oa-tunya International Film Festival launches

Smoke and thunder as Mosi-oa-tunya International Film Festival launches

Mosi-oa-tunya is the indigenous alternative name for Victoria Falls, a resort town in southern Zimbabwe famed for its magnificent waterfall and diverse flora and fauna. The name, inspired by the misty magical wake of the rumbling fall, loosely means “the smoke that thunders” in the language of the local Batonga people.

But, between the 1st and 4th August 2024, the serene resort will be thundering with a different kind of smoke: the inaugural edition of the Mosi-oa-tunya International Film Festival (Motiff).

Founded by Fronteras Capital, a Zimbabwe-based investment institution and supported by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, the festival will be so much more than just funfare and screenings. With an array of programs ranging from fashion shows, workshops and an awards ceremony, the Motiff seeks to be a marketplace for the trading of rich African cinematic content, capital opportunities for filmmakers, entrepreneurs and investors from across the globe.

Motiff was officially launched at an elegant ceremony at the picturesque and rustic Bushman Rock safari park in Ruwa near Harare on the 2nd of June 2024. The chairman of Fronteras Capital Zimbabwe, Dumisani Nyoni, who is also the director of the Motiff; representatives from the banking sector; arts stakeholders; corporate partners and members of the media made part of the guests.

Dumisani-Nyoni-1024x862 Smoke and thunder as Mosi-oa-tunya International Film Festival launches
Dumisani Nyoni

“We’ve come together to say how do we create a platform for film as a means of telling stories to become something that people know how to participate in as investors or producers and how policymakers can start to think about film in a very different way, and finally how those people looking for African stories can find them out of Zimbabwe”, said Dumisani Nyoni in his address to the press at the launch.

” We want people to say we are coming to Zimbabwe to look for a story; we are going to go to Mosi-oa-tunya every year and find the people who make the stories happen”, he added.

Curated by a team of seasoned entrepreneurs and creatives who include the director Dumisani Nyoni, groundbreaking film producer Tomas Luthuli Brickhill, internationally recognized fiction and documentary filmmaker Rumbi Katedza and California trained theatre practitioner, tutor, writer and actor Chipo Chikara-Nyoni, the festival promises to match the standards of other established festivals from the region like the Durban and Zanzibar editions, while complimenting the other existing festivals at home.

Despite being cradled in a prime holiday resort which might restrict accessibility to only the “big boys” of the industry, the organisers of the Motiff promise to make the festival an open platform for every filmmaker with an idea and story to sell to the world, no matter how far flung away they will be.

“The online space is a big part of it (the Motiff). We want people to be able to be streaming, logging in and access the festival via online media. But that’s why we also need partners who can help us to have the resources to bring in young people. And… this is not a big boys thing, it’s a public thing and it’s for everyone”, explained Dumisani Nyoni.

Forty films from across the continent of Africa are expected to screen during the four-day extravaganza.

Submission details will be available on the festival’s website

Occasional updates will also be available on social media – @themotiff

Elias Muonde

Elias M Muonde is a Writer, Scriptwriter, film Director and Journalist based in Harare. His writing has been published in a handful of anthologies as well as in The Standard Newspaper, The NewsHawks, various international journals, blogs, and online platforms. He's also a Human Interest correspondent with My Afrika Magazine, but often happily encroaches to hard beats like politics and business. A film enthusiast, Muonde has worked on several film projects in different capacities: from production management to assistant directing. He also wrote over a hundred episodes of radio drama aired on Radio Zimbabwe , TV series for independent producers and popular satirical shows under Magamba TV. When not writing or reading, Muonde spends his life in the garden helping a swathes of colourful geraniums, hibiscus and roses open up their buds to the sun and bloom.

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