The Sauti Zetu Film Festival will be the first event of its kind to take place on the mainland of Tanzania. The festival seeks to use the influence of movies made from a human rights standpoint to ignite dialogues about civic space issues, particularly freedom of expression and youth involvement in governance and policy making, as well as gender equality, where the emphasis will be on promoting equal access to social and political opportunities for all. Sauti Zetu is Swahili for "Our Voices," and the festival's main goal is to elevate the voices of ordinary citizens through films made with a focus on human rights. The festival is set to take place for two (2) days, from 13th of October to 14th, soon after the commemoration of the International Girl Child Day.

It will be a festival that combines the Discourse Steered and Deliberative styles. With the dialogue-guided side, the emphasis would be on showing movies that provoke thought and conversation in the audience. After the screening, panel discussions will be organized so that attendees may share their opinions on the topics covered in the movie. The deliberative side of the event will be organized to expressly appeal to an audience interested in human rights. The objective would be to persuade the target audience to accept human rights as the normative legal and political framework for society.

Film festivals provide a forum for discussion between professionals, creatives, decision-makers, journalists, civil society organizations, and the general public. Films and conversations about human rights offer exceptional chances to use one's right to free speech. They can be extremely important in providing a rare opportunity for people to express their opinions about the problems presented and ask questions, particularly in circumstances when individuals and civil society struggle. The audience can learn about any missing information and receive answers regarding the events being screened. It is unfortunate that on the Tanzania mainland, we don’t have any film festivals, not even speaking of human rights film festivals.


The Sauti Zetu Film Festival will honor the filmmakers' efforts by presenting five awards, which will include the following:

1. Best Film on Freedom of Expression: This award will acknowledge the film that best explores the theme of freedom of expression, highlighting its importance and addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with it.

2. Youth Empowerment Award: This award aims to recognize a film that effectively explores the role of young people in governance and policy-making processes, emphasizing their potential to bring about positive change and contribute to decision-making.

3. Gender Equality Award: This award will honor a film that addresses gender equality issues, promoting equal access to social and political opportunities for all individuals. It would recognize efforts to challenge stereotypes, promote inclusivity, and empower women and girls.

4. Best Documentary on Civic Space: This award will acknowledge a documentary film that sheds light on the state of civic space, focusing on the challenges faced by individuals and civil society organizations striving to exercise their rights and engage in public dialogue.

5. People's Choice Award: This award would be determined by the audience, allowing festival attendees to vote for their favorite film. It will recognize the film that resonates most with the viewers and effectively engages them in discussions about human rights and social issues.

These awards will not only honor outstanding films but also help create awareness and stimulate dialogue on human rights, freedom of expression, youth involvement in governance, gender equality, and civic space issues.

Rules and Terms


1. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019
2. All entries must adhere to the year's project theme. The festival themes for this edition.
3. Location: The Film was shot on the African continent. For this edition, we will prioritize films produced in Sub-Saharan Africa.
4. Nationality: The Filmmaker/(s) is a National/ (are Nationals) of an African Country. Foreign nationals can also submit entries if they meet the requirement (3) stated above.
5. Diaspora Productions: Films shot outside the continent will be considered provided that the narrative deals with African Identity.
6. All local dialect films must have English Subtitles.
7. Films must be submitted via private online screener. Entries via YouTube or publicly available online will not be considered. Films that have been broadcasted on public platforms (Television, streaming sites) will be considered only if they are currently not available publicly.
8. Works-in-progress will be considered for selection provided they will be completed prior to the screening.
9. We do not accept Music Videos
10. You may submit more than one film.

Submissions that do not comply with these requirements are not eligible for consideration and will be disqualified.

Overall Rating
  • Xolisa Mpafa

    Great film festival, filmmakers please check this festival next year.

    October 2023