The 6th SOTAMBE Film Festival joins hands with International Human Rights Arts Festival

martina mwanza
Director

Published July 4, 2019

The SOTAMBE Documentary, Film and Arts Festival (SOTAMBE DFAF) organized by the SOTAMBE Film Institute (SFI) in Kitwe, Zambia is this year partnering with the New York based International Human Rights Art Festival (ihraf.org) through its 2019 International Fellow Mbizo Chirasha who is also the Ihraf.org African representative in Africa. The partnership is highly commendable because both organizations use arts, film and literary projects to project human rights, to speak social change and to promote freedom of expression issues.

In Zambia and Africa in general, the subject of arts activism and arts for social change is growing and it is now taking center stage with art organizations, festival directors, artists and writers to produce their creative projects with the sole responsibility to positively transform their communities in many ways possible. Ihraf.org is an all arts for human rights series festival that includes dancing, film, all theatre genres, literature, spoken word and all musical genres throughout the year. It is a full packed festival outfit of international and American arts for human rights to promote expression by vulnerable voices and unpublicized communities, using arts as voice of the people, connecting arts and humanity for the promotion dialogue. This makes IHRAF perfectly qualified to be a partner to the SOTAMBE Documentary, Film and Arts Festival in 2019 and beyond!

The 6th edition of the SOTAMBE DFAF is taking place in period 21 – 29 September 2019 in Kitwe, Zambia and it is organized under the theme “Southern African Reels”. The main objective of this theme is to broaden the critical network of filmmakers based in Southern Africa and allow for exchange of experiences and regional collaborations. The submissions are open to all filmmakers word-wide, but the filmmaking competition only applies to the filmmakers based in the Southern African region only.

IHRAF will be represented by its African Representative and 2019 International fellow, Mbizo Chirasha who is an accomplished Zimbabwe poet, writer, editor and arts for human rights catalyst. He will participate and organize a number of events that include the SOTAMBE /IHRAF LIVE LITERATURE event presenting poets from Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia, and the workshop on Arts for Social Media. The fellow will also present the role of social media in arts publicity, international exchanges and cultural diplomacy at the “Documentary in Making” master class. In addition, the IHRAF documentary will be screened at the Festival.

“We are extremely happy to collaborate with IHRAF that has been running for the past 15 years! This will expand our network as a Film Festival based in Zambia, as well as add a value to the Zambian artists and filmmakers,” said Mrs. Martina Mwanza, SFI Director. “Our core objective is to initiate social change and contribute to the creation of job employment opportunities through film and arts. Partnership with organizations such IHRAF is therefore key for our growth and achievement of our objectives!”
“This partnership is highly important and of great value to the arts, artists and organizations in place for it practically arts exchange programs and cultural diversity among nations, artists and their organizations,” said Mr. Mbizo Chirasa. “I’m personally very excited to come to Zambia to represent IHRAF at the SOTAMBE Film Festival!”

SFI, a company limited by guarantee, was established in 2014. Its aim is to educate and raise awareness of social issues through film and arts. The organization serves as a platform for:

  1. Learning institutions that want to use documentaries, arts and panel discussions as a new and advanced method of learning.
  2. Local filmmakers and artists looking to showcase their projects, share ideas and inspire others.
  3. Capacity building for the filmmaking industry through filmmaking workshops.

Each year in the run-up to the festival, we organize filmmaking workshops and boot camps, art workshops for children and art exhibitions, outdoor screenings, film entrepreneurship conferences, and tree plantings campaigns.

The FILM FESTIVAL itself runs for five days in September. The annual event consists of documentary movie screenings followed by panel discussions targeting students from colleges and universities, as well as screenings of locally produced movies followed by discussions with the producers and directors on the challenges they faced during the production process. In addition, we host a series of conferences, workshops and filmmaking labs with the local and international special guests of the festival Art/photography exhibition, drama play and musical performances are a necessary component of the festival’s additional programmes.

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ART FESTIVAL (ihraf.org)
The International Human Rights Art Festival offers an ongoing series of art-advocacy events, festivals, workshops and community programs at the intersection of art, spirit and society.  We open up space to hear different points of view, to listen to unique stories and perspectives.  We believe that beauty, sincerity and vulnerability are the most powerful tools in the activist’s toolbox.  We engage in open-hearted creativity and discourse with politicians, social leaders and others as partners, not adversaries. We partner with artists whose work is based in the mystical/activist "I am" or "I should," as opposed to the political/religious/oppositional "you are" or "you should." We open space for healing, reflection and engagement with those we agree with, as well as others who might seem foreign.

Mbizo Chirasha Ihraf.org African Representative and 2019 International Fellow
MBIZO CHIRASHA is (ihraf.org) 2019 International Fellow of the International Human Rights Arts Festival New York. 2018 Recipient of Global Literary Influencer Certificate of Merit by Directorio Mundial de Escritores through Academia Mundial de Literatura, Historia, Arte y Cultura (http://directoriomundial.allimo.org/Mbizo-Chirasha/), Vice President of POETS OF THE WORLD in Africa (poetasdelmundo.com.), 2017 Recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant, 2017 Recipient of the EU-Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund, Curator of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal, (miombopublishing.wordpress.com), Editor of the WomaWords Literary Press (https://womawordsliterarypress.home.blog/), Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe (100tpc.org/Zimbabwe) and the Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement (me.facebook.com/mbizochirasha). Co-Editor of the STREET VOICE a German Africa Poetry collection (http://www.street-voice.de/SV7/SVissue7.html) in Germany, Contributor Atunis Galatika, (https://atunispoetry.com/2018/11/23/mbizo-chirasha-zimbabwe/), Belgium. African Contributor of Demer press poetry series since 2018 , Netherlands (http://www.hannierouweler.eu/category/demer-press/), Contributor of the International Gallerie 2019 in India (https://www.gallerie.net/about-us/), United Kingdom.African Essays contributor for the MONK art and soul Magazine 2019 (http://monk.gallery/category/essays/), Contributor of the World Poetry Almanac series (https://openlibrary.org/authors/OL816823A/WORLD_POETRY_ALMANAC) in Mongolia and Featured in the POIESISI Slovenia International literature Press (https://www.poiesis.si/) Slovenia.