Samira's Dream

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Samira's Dream (Ndoto ya Samira)

original title:

Ndoto ya Samira

italian title:

Il sogno di Samira

directed by:


Matona Zanzibar, Bi-Kidude, Sebastiano Forte



Fall Films, Framevox, with the support of Simon Cumbers Film Fund, European Media Programme, Swiss Embassy in Tanzania and Zambia


Ireland / Italy / Switzerland



film run:





Ready (09/09/2020)

festivals & awards:

  • RIFF - Roma Independent Film Festival 2019: Official Competition
  • Zanzibar Film Festival 2019: Special Screening
  • Pan African Film Festival 2020
  • Messapica Film Festival 2020
  • IFI Documentary Festival 2020
  • Social World Film Festival 2020
  • FESCAAAL Festival Cinema Africano, Asia e America Latina 2021
  • Matera Film Festival 2020: Official Competition
  • Augen Blicke Afrika 2020
  • Cannes Film Festival 2021: Special screening at Pavillion Afrique Officiel
  • Babel Film Festival 2021: Miglior Film
  • Sudestival 2022: Menzione Speciale
  • Kaduna International Film Festival 2021: Best Outstanding Documentary
  • I-Fest International Film Festival 2021: Miglior Doc
  • Docs Without Borders 2021: Merit Award
  • Raidharc Awards 2021: Special Mention
  • Boden International Film Festival 2021: Best Feature Documentary
  • Matera Film Festival 2021: Miglior Documentario Lungometraggio
  • Gallio Film Festival 2022: Concorso Opere Prime

On a visit to the island of Zanzibar, I came across a group of local young women, in the fishing village of Nungwi. They agreed to share their stories. Only one girl from the entire group owned a mobile phone and spoke a few words of English: Samira.
What started as a curiousity conversation developed into becoming the subject of my film for the ensuing 7 years to come!
The story follows the everyday daily life of a 21 year old Samira, growing up to a reality that pressures her into marriage while she is determined to further her knowledge in life and better her condition as a woman.
She does not want to be the rebel in her society, the one who does not respect the religion of her people nor their traditions. Samira wants to have a family and mother a child like the rest of her friends, but sees no obstacle in also being a successful woman, a role model for her society.
Should she renounce to being simply a mother or to continue fighting to become also an independent modern woman?
Engaging with Samira and her personal struggle, I saw an allegory that speaks to all of us.