Joe Njagu, one of Zimbabwe’s growing filmmakers, has made history by winning an international award at the American Film Festival.
Njagu won the best director award for the movie The Gentleman released earlier this year. The movie had been nominated for two awards — best director and best cinematography in the foreign languages category with five other African films.
Speaking to NewsDay, Njagu was upbeat about the award. He said he was happy that Zimbabwean filmmakers’ efforts were not in vain.
“The award is reassurance that we are not working in vain and we are now getting recognition,” said Njagu.
“It is humbling to represent my nation at such a level. This is not my award alone, but The Gentleman team and my country.”
Rufaro Kaseke, director of photography on the movie, seconded Njagu and said African films had become synonymous with poor production quality, but that has since changed.
“Zimbabwe has come of age in the film industry and we are happy that The Gentleman was the only Africa film to win an award.
“We have realised that film festivals all over the world are the way to go in as far as recognition is concerned and we entered the movie for numerous awards in Africa. We hope we will get similar recognition for various other categories,” said Kaseke.
The Gentleman is currently showing at Rainbow Cinemas and is set to premiere in Malawi on December 3, where it received sponsorship from the business community.
It features South African actor Presley Chweneyagae, Big Brother Africa finalist Munya Chidzonga and local businessman Philip Chiyangwa, among others.