Zamora Wins at Moroccan Film Festival

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“Zamora” Director Shams Banji flanked by the film’s leading cast Richard Bezuidenhout (L) and Richa Adhia (R).

Zamora has yet another accolade under its belt. The enchanting film, a Swahili love story revolving around the evolution of one man’s hidden desires and his quest to find true love scooped the top accolade at the 16th Khouribga Festival held in Morocco from June 22-29, 2013. “Jury member Sanaa Alaoui emphasized the jury’s difficulty in discerning this year’s prizes, because of the overall high quality of the films in competition”, a statement from the film’s screenwriter’s Facebook page read. She added that ZAMORA nevertheless stood out for its originality, its poetry, and its imagery. Seventeen films from fifteen African countries competed in the festival seen as the second most important rendezvous for African film on the continent after FESPACO. The film’s director, Shams Bhanji for whom is his first feature, was accompanied by his two lead actors, Richard Bezuidenhout and Richa Adhia to the festival. Earlier this year Zamora won a special award at FESPACO for best digital film.

Zamora was filmed against a backdrop of mystical and mythological world of Zanzibar and the story revolves around Zamora, a vain artist/womaniser on a voyage of self discovery. Filled with romantic connotations about the spice island, he meets a beautiful Omani woman who mesmerises and inspires him to buy a dhow to have a comfortable life in paradise. Zamora’s passion for the unknown, a reckless adventurous lifestyle and a sordid past lands him in nightmarish situations. Through three separate emotionally charged relationships, (Zulfa, Saada and Zareena) he almost becomes a victim of the confrontation between the good and the evil. Zulfa stands for innocent love spiced with traditional restrictions. Saada stands for the mystical, magical and unconditioned side to the African psyche. Zareena stands for power and obsession and its immoral implications. Zamora’s winning streak started with the special jury prize (Silver Dhow) as well as Best East African Film at the 2012 Zanzibar International Film Festival.

Text: MOSES SERUGO (kampala1ne@gmail.com)

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