The two-decade wait for a Tanzanian entry in the awards has ended with the shortlisting of a Tanzanian film for an Oscar. The movie Vuta N'kuvute, whose Swahili title translates to "hard struggle," has been nominated for the 95th Academy Awards' "Best International Film" category.
The movie, which was released in Swahili and features a primarily African cast, tells the tale of a young Indian-Zanzibari woman whose romance blossoms as a result of a political uprising in the final days of British imperial rule. Amil Shivji, a co-producer of the movie, wrote on Instagram that "Finally, the future of Tanzanian cinema is in our hands. With pride, intelligence, and boldnesd, a wave of Swahili filmmakers is growing every day with pride."
The first Tanzanian feature film to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival was Vuta N'kuvute in September 2021, making history (TIFF). However, East Africa enjoys the Swahili Bongo movies produced in the nation. Maangazi: The Ancient One, which premiered in 2002, was Tanzania's first submission for an Oscar. Amil Shivji viewed being chosen as Tanzania's official entry for the 95th Academy Awards as a great honor and privilege.
He claimed that it had been twenty years since the nation received recognition from the most esteemed film festival in the world. Although these are just baby steps, Tanzanian cinema's future is now in our hands. Producing the movie are Shivji and Steven Markovitz for Tanzania's Kijiweni Productions and South Africa's Big World Cinema, respectively. The movie is a translation of a Swahili novel by Shafi Adam Shafi, with a screenplay by Shivji and Jenna Cato Bass. It is Shivji's second film, following T-Junction from 2017, which had its world premiere at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. Rafiki, a Cannes 2018 film starring Wanuri Kahiu, was produced by Markovitz.
See Trailer here: