Best African Tourism films awarded at ITFFA 2020

With South Africa opening its borders to international leisure and business travellers from all over the globe, and de-escalating lockdown to level one, it was an opportune time for the International Tourism Film Festival Africa (ITFFA) to finally celebrate its first official awards ceremony of The Lockdown Edition of the ITFFA 2020. The event was held at the Radisson Red Hotel, V&A Waterfront on November 27. The Africa edition of ITFAA had received 150 entries from 24 African countries and 40 best films were finally shortlisted for screening in the festival.

The much-awaited award ceremony saw enthusiastic participation of filmmakers, tourism boards, representatives of various film festivals and media. “The excitement was palpable as award winning entrants received their trophies and ended this rather peculiar year on a note of hope and encouragement. We simply had to finish this year on a positive note, and honour those whose hard work and tireless efforts make this country as great as it is,” said Caroline Ungersbock, Festival Director.

More than a dozen awards were presented in the award ceremony with South African National Biodiversity Institute’s film “MzanSea – a celebration of South Africa’s 20 new Marine Protected Areas”, winning ‘Best of the Festival’ as well as first prize in the Nature and Eco Tourism category.  In Sports and Adventure Tourism category best film was “Let’s Jump out of a Plane”, in Tourism Products – Wine & Gastronomy Tourism best film was “Glamp the Winelands”, in Tourism Services – Accommodation best film was “Glamp the Garden Route”, in Tourism Destination – Country category, the first prize went to “Follow me to Gambia”. “City v Beach: A Kenyan Experience” won the best film award in the category Tourism Destination – Region, while “Love Cape Town – The Movie” won the best film award in Tourism Destination – City category.

To further commemorate the event, the Director of CIFFT flew in from Europe to present the Cannes Dolphin to WESGRO and Sledgehammer Studios. “We were absolutely blown away by the support shown by all the award-winning entrants” said James Byrne, co-director of the ITFFA. “People literally poured in their support, knowing that we are fully self- funded, they offered to contribute in every way that they could”.

Ald James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities also attended and said “it was such a pleasure to attend the first official awards ceremony of The Lockdown Edition of the ITFFA 2020. Tourism is very close to my heart and this year has been particularly difficult. That is why it was so wonderful to celebrate amazing destinations at this ceremony, and especially Cape Town which continues to be a destination of choice for many. No matter what you are looking for, we have it all.”

“Soapbox Films’ Refiloe Chakela-Gava and Brendan Stein were instrumental is making this event the success that it was,” said both festival directors, Caroline and James.

The jury of the festival included Alexander Kammel, Director Of the international Committee of tourist film festivals CIFFT (Vienna, Austria), presidents of European travel film festivals, top managers of travel companies, and Janna Tolstikova, head of the international Department of TV BRICS.

The International Tourism Film Festival Africa (ITFFA) mainly aims to promote development of domestic and international tourism while encouraging the growth of the local film industry. The ITFFA was started in 2019 after Caroline Ungersbock, co-founder and chair of the Sustainable Tourism Partnership Program (STPP), had been invited to attend the Committee of International Tourism Film Festivals (CIFFT) member festival in Portugal (Art&Tur) as a speaker on sustainable economic development in 2017. Caroline noticed that no entries had come from Africa or South Africa. Given the talent and skills that the African continent possesses, she felt it her duty to introduce them to the CIFFT circuit. In its first edition in 2019, the ITFFA boasted more than 860 entries, from over 89 countries. 

Prior to lockdown, ITFFA had planned to host the Africa Awards ceremony, in Cape Town in April 2020. However, the onset of COVID-19 and the country’s subsequent national lockdown led to the creation of the Official Lockdown Edition 2020. The film screenings of the finalists of the festival were broadcasted in the online “Lockdown Edition”.

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