Kenyan Film ‘Watu Wote’ on the Mandera Bus Attack, Crowned 2017 ZIFF ‘Best African Film’ + Complete Winners List

A scene from 'Watu Wote' (2016) | IMDB

Watu Wote‘, a Hamburg Film School produced movie about the 2014 Mandera bus terrorist attack which took place in Northern Kenya, has been awarded the Best African Film at the 2017 Zanzibar International Film Festival awards which took place in the Tanzanian coastal city over the weekend.

The other Kenyan to walk away with an award was Kamau Wandugu for the film ‘Maria’. South Africa’s Noem My Skollie/ Call me Thief directed by Daryne Joshua took home the coveted Golden Dhow Award, presented by Showmax, along with a $3000 cash prize. The film also won the SIGNIS Award for Best African Film. South African short film The Hangman, directed by Zwelethu Radebe won the Sembene Ousmane Award and Best Short Film. In 2011, Bob Nyanja‘s ‘The Rugged Priest‘ grabbed the top award.

Ugandan artiste Eddy Kenzo bagged the inaugural Trace Mziki East African Music Video Award for his song ‘Jubilation’. The other new award category introduced in this year’s edition was the Adiaha Award for Best Female African Documentary Filmmaker.

ZIFF organisers this year introduced first film and TV market, SOKO FILAM, boasting over 50 filmmakers in attendance from over 12 countries who joined the 100 inaugural SOKO FILAM delegates.

ZIFF’s Chief Guest, US-based producer Dexter Davis conducted a three-day workshop that culminated in a pitching competition for African filmmakers. Davis announced a prize for the winning pitch of between $50,000 – $200,000 to produce the feature film. The winner of the competition was Tanzanian Amy Lusekelo.

Here’s the complete list of winners at the 2017 Zanzibar Film Festival

Film School Award

The Final Border – David Wayne Smith (AFDA South Africa)


Best East African Talent Award: Kony: Order from Above, Steven Ayeni (Uganda) – $1000

Best African Film: Noem My Skollie/ Call me Thief, Daryne Joshua (South Africa)

Chairperson / Bi Kidude Award

White Potion: Ash Mswaki, (Tanzania/Turkey)

Adiaha Award for Best African Female Documentary Sponsored by O MESS (Nigeria) and Red Flag Content Relations (South Africa) ($2000)

The African Who Wanted to Fly: Samantha Biffot (Gabon/Belgium/France)

Emerson of Zanzibar Foundation Award

Kokota: Islet of Hope: Craig Norris

European African Film Festival Award (1000 Euros)

T-Junction: Amil Shivji (Tanzania)

Sembene Ousmane Awards ($2000 each)

The Hangman: Zwelethu Radebe (South Africa)

Maria: Kamau Wandungu (Kenya)

Gerretta: Mantegaftot Silehshi

Trace Mziki East African Music Video Award – Winner to receive video produced by Wanene Productions.

Eddy Kenzo – Jubilation (Uganda)

Bongo Movie Awards presented by Comnet

Best Actress: Hawa Ally in T-Junction

Best Actor: Ibrahim Osward in Hadithi za Kumekucha: Tuna

Best Editor: Freddy Feruzi: Genge

Best Cinematographer: Freddy Feruzi: Genge

Best Screenplay/Writer: Kiumeni, Ernest Napoleon and Daniel Manege

Best Film in Sound: Homecoming; Seko Shamte

Best Director: Nicholas Marwa; Kiumeni

Best Feature Film: T-Junction; Amil Shivji


Best Short Film: The Hangman, Zwelethu Radebe (South Africa)

Best Animation: TIS, Said Hamich (France)

Best Documentary: Mama Colonelle, Dieude Hamadi (DRC)

Best Feature from Dhow Countries: Half Ticket, Samit Kakkad (India)

Best Short from Dhow Countries: Azaad, Rahul V. Chitella (India)

Best International Film: Wallay, Berni Goldbat (Burkino Faso / Qatar)

Best African Film: Watu Wote / All of Us, Katja Benrath (Kenya)

Golden Dhow for Best Feature Film presented by Showmax ($3000)

Noem My Skollie/ Call me Thief, Daryne Joshua (South Africa)


Watch the ‘Watu Wote’ Trailer below:

ZIFF also announced the dates and theme for the festival 2018, that will take place from July 7th – 15th with the theme Speak Up and Say It! (Sema na Usikike)




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