Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sinema 'Maangamizi' Ilivyotua Academy Awards - Oscars

Wadau, sinema gani kutoka Tanzania itakuwa ya pili kutua huko Academy?Maangamizi ilikuwa ya kwanza mwaka 2001.

December 7, 2001

For Immediate Release

Tanzania’s First Ever Entry In The 74th Academy Awards

Los Angeles, CA – The United Republic of Tanzania has submitted MAANGAMIZI– THE ANCIENT ONE as its film entry in the Foreign Language Film categoryfor the 74th Academy Awards. Maangamizi – The Ancient One will be competing with foreign language films from 50 other countries around the world, thelargest group ever in this category for the Academy. The only other African country in the running is Algeria; however, Tanzania remains the onlysub-Saharan African country in this year’s competition.

Maangamizi – The Ancient One represents the first ever entry by the UnitedRepublic of Tanzania. The film was selected by a group of film, televisionand theater professionals and was released in Tanzania the last week ofOctober 2001, and was received by excited local audiences.With over 50 million Swahili speakers in the world, Maangamizi – TheAncient One represents the first feature film made for worldwide release inSwahili--another "first" for Tanzania.Maangamizi – The Ancient One reaches beyond the parameters of Africa andspeaks to the whole world as a film of hope and healing and has broughtmany American Film Festival audiences a sense of peace and reconciliationin the wake of the tragic events of September 11th.

Summoned to the majestic heights of Kilimanjaro, two women--one African,one American are led by an ancient and mysterious ancestor on a primaljourney of spiritual awakening. The story locations set in Tanzania, EastAfrica, proceed from the shores of the Indian Ocean to the heights of Mt.Kilimanjaro. Maangamizi – The Ancient One was shot at some of the mostbeautiful and historic landmarks in Tanzania and was made with the supportof Tanzania’s Embassy to the U.S., Tanzania’s Ministry of Tourism, TanzaniaNational Parks (TANAPA) and the Tanzania Film Company.

Maangamizi – The Ancient One centers around three women, a doctor, herpatient and the mysterious ancestor that comes to take them on a journeyinto their past and inevitably delivers them to a place of healing.Among the film’s executive producers are Oscar winning producer/directorJonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) as well as Joan Cunningand Steven Shareshian. The film produced by Martin Mhando (currently theChairperson of Media Studies at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia) andQueenae Taylor Mulvihill was seven long years in the making with principlephotography starting in June 1994.

Co-producer Leonard Merrill Kurz inassociation with Forest Creatures Entertainment, and co-producers DavidRosshirt and Casta Tungaraza helped to walk the production to its completion which was finalized in November, 2000. Additional AssociateProducers Fatma Alloo and Mark Leveri to name only a few were alsoinstrumental in bringing the film to completion.The film’s two directors, both veteran Tanzanian filmmaker Martin Mhando(Mama Tumaini, Yomba Yomba) and first time feature film director RonMulvihill deliver an outstanding directorial feat. Both have been laudedfor bringing an exemplary and outstanding spiritual tale to the big screen.Additionally, they brought together an international pool of talent, bothcast and crew.

The cast and crew made up primarily of Tanzanians alsocomprised Kenyans, Australians, Americans, Brits and Scottish citizens.African American cinematographer Willie Earl Dawkins captures the beauty ofTanzania through the lens of the camera and transforms the audience toTanzania’s exotic locations. James B. Ling, the film’s editor has craftedthe images together to make it one of the most memorable film experiencesimagined--a film that remains etched in the mind’s of audiences long afterthey have left the theater.The original screenplay, written by Queenae Taylor Mulvihill while she wasa graduate student at UCLA’s film school was a story originally based onthe Greek Goddess, Hekate. Director Mulvihill and screenwriter TaylorMulvihill met at UCLA, however, Maangamizi – The Ancient One representstheir first film project together.

Music composed by Grammy Award winner Cyril Neville, the youngest of TheNeville Brothers is both mesmerizing and hypnotic and features the FinaMbira, an unusual mbira designed by Italian musician Enzo Fina. BothNeville and Fina build inspiring crescendos and harmonic rhythms in the score.The film stars Amandina Lihamba, a renowned Tanzanian actress who deliversan award-winning performance as "Samehe." Ms. Lihamba studied at Yale andalso studied and performed with the American Negro Ensemble. Currently sheis chairperson of the Department of Drama at the University of Dar Es Salaam.BarbaraO, also stars as "Dr. Asira" in her first major role since hermemorable and powerful performance as "Yellow Mary" in Julie Dash’s indiefilm, Daughters of the Dust.

Maangamizi – The Ancient One features Mwanajuma Ali Hassan as "BibiMaangamizi" a formidable and accomplished "Taarab" singer from Zanzibar,Ms. Hassan delivers a rare performance by a Zanzibari elder. "Bibi", (aSwahili word meaning grandmother--as the cast and crew affectionatelyaddressed her) effectively brings a loving, compassionate, strong,confident and sometimes humorous quality to the ancient ancestor she portrays.Additionally, the film has garnered two Best Actress Awards for AmandinaLihamba at the Zanzibar International Film Festival and at the SouthernAfrican Film Festival.

The Film won the first place prize, The Golden Dhowat the Zanzibar International Film Festival, Second Place Feature at the San Francisco Black Film Festival and Second Place Feature at the BlackFilmmakers Hall of Fame. It has also garnered an Honorable Mention at theBlack Dot Ritual Film Festival. Maangamizi – The Ancient One had its world premiere at the Tokyo AfricanFilm Festival, and has played as an official selection at:·

Montreal International Film Festival· Mill Valley Film Festival· FESPACO, Burkina Faso· Haus der Kulturen der Welt Retrospektive, Berlin, Germany· Afrikanisches Filmfestival, Osnabrück/Germany· African Summer Film Series - University of Wisconsin, Madison· West Virginia International Film Festival· Arizona International Film Festival· Pan-African Film Festival, Los Angeles· Pan-African Film Festival, Denver· New York African Film Festival· New York African Diaspora Film Festival· Africa in the Picture, Amsterdam· Southern African Film Festival· Zanzibar International Film Festival· Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame· Black Dot Ritual Film FestivalAdditional special screenings have been held at:· The United Nations World Conference on Racism, Durban, South Africa;· The Spiritual Institute for Divine Wisdom, Atlanta, GA· The Institute of Karmic Guidance, Washington DC· the KRST Unity Church, Los Angeles, CA.

As one of the 51 Foreign Language film entries, Maangamizi – The AncientOne has been invited to screen at the prestigious Palm SpringsInternational Film Festival, Jan 10-21, 2002.The film has been distinguished with praises and accolades from famedauthor Alice Walker (The Color Purple) who describes Maangamizi – TheAncient One as "more than a movie. It is a look at how we’ve been torn atour roots; severed from nourishment at the source…. Those of us who can remember and honor who we have been over eons of time, will be able toinspire the whole world to greater heights of compassion."

Maangamizi – The Ancient One has also received favorable reviews includingmost recently in The Variety (a major Hollywood industry trade paper)."A quietly impressive drama, U.S. Tanzanian co-production "Maangamizi"…repsa rare wade into multicultural spirituality that’s neither obscure noroversimplified… Screenplay… is unhurried yet concise in focus. Results sport significant conceptual overlap with exec producer Jonathan Demme'sToni Morrison adaptation "Beloved." In its smaller-scaled, less ambiguousway, "Maangamizi" locates a similar healing intersection betweenWesternized identity, traditional African religious belief, andregenerative matriarchal strength.

[The film’s] confident understatement a small miracle given myriad hurdles(scant location tech support, cast/crew malaria bouts, et al.) first-timefeature helmer Ron Mulvihill and Tanzanian-bred vet Martin Mhando ("YombaYomba," "Mama Tumaini") weathered en route to completion.Willie Earl Dawkins' color lensing provide leavening visual notes; diversesoundtrack assembled and composed by Cyril Neville is another well-judgedplus."(Dennis Harvey, The Variety, 9/28/01)Additional information including a synopsis can be accessed at:http://www.grisgrisfilms.com/maangamizi.htm


MadHatter said...

This articles states that the film was an official selection for the West Virginia International Film Festival. I've was involved with the WVIFF for several years now, and I can tell you that we never screened this film. The WVIFF doesn't even have "Official Selections" as it is a curated festival. This information is misleading.

Chemi Che-Mponda said...

MadHatter, Maangamizi was screened at the West Virginia International Film Festival in 2001. You say you have only been affiliated with WVIFF for a few years, so maybe you should check your archives. I think 'Official Selections' just means that it was selected to show at the festival and not what you are thinking. I remember being invited to attend but it coincided with something else at the time. Our lead actress from Tanzania, Amandina Lihamba, who played Samehe attended the WVIFF screening.

Anonymous said...

Da Chemi kutokana na profile ya MadHatter alikuwa na miaka 15 wakati inaonyeshwa huko West Virginia. Navyoelewa alidhani unamaanisha kuwa Maangamizi ilionyeshwa kuzi huko West Virginia. Hakusoma dates. Hivyo yeye ni misleading.

Anonymous said...

Pole sana u need to get historical facts right. BTW Maangamizi is not what you think you know. Be positive and avoid miseading criticism. For ur information, the names mentioned in the production and the involved individuals, I can assure you they are people you can trust on, Ron, Amandina, Martin etc wadanganye? nope

Thx Anon wa November 25, 2009 9:01 AM

Anonymous said...

MadHatter, this film was shown at WVIFF around 2001. It also went on to be nominated by Tanzania in the Foreign Language category. Judging by your profile you would have been too young to know. The blogger was reminding people that Tanzania has had a submission to the Oscars and asks which will be the second submission.

Anonymous said...

Maangamizi may not have hit regular theaters but it did play at many film festivals in the USA, Europe, Asia & Africa. It also won a lot of awards at those festivals.

Anonymous said...

MadHatter said, "This articles states that the film was an official selection for the West Virginia International Film Festival. I've was involved with the WVIFF for several years now, and I can tell you that we never screened this film. The WVIFF doesn't even have "Official Selections" as it is a curated festival. This information is misleading."

First off it wasn't an article but a Press Release from the Tanzanian Embassy in Washington D.C. written while you were still in Jr. High School. Get YOUR facts right next time.