Top filmmaker in trouble over contract breach

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THE High Court has issued a writ of execution against award-winning journalist and filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono over his failure to settle a $3 000 debt owed to actor Peter Pasipamire after the latter provided commentary for the documentary.

BY ALOIS VINGA

The documentary titled Pain In My Heart, was produced by Chin’ono in 2009, who subsequently breached the verbal contract after failing to pay the actor as agreed. Although Chin’ono argued there was never such an agreement, High Court judge Justice Susan Mavangira determined that the parties entered into an oral agreement.

She issued the writ of execution empowering Pasipamire to attach the filmmaker’s movable property.

“On the evidence adduced before this court, plaintiff has established on a balance of probabilities that the parties concluded a valid oral agreement one of whose terms was to be paid $3 000,” she ruled.

“He also clearly established that he performed his obligations in terms of the agreement and that the defendants have not, in breach of that agreement performed their obligation to pay the amount. There being no excuse in fact and in law for the defendant’s failure. In the result it is hereby ordered that the defendants shall jointly pay the plaintiff the owed amount and also pay for costs of the suit.”

Pasipamire, who was represented by the Legal Resources Foundation, approached the courts seeking to recover the money Chin’ono had promised to pay him as a token of appreciation for the comments provided for the documentary.

Chin’ono had disputed the claims arguing there was no concrete agreement to prove Pasipamire’s claim. He said the documentary was produced as part of fulfilments of the requirements for his Master’s Degree in Documentary Practice with Brunel University.

Mavangira, however, considered the fact that the documentary film did not indicate it was part of the degree studies and that the complainant was not learned enough to appreciate the processes of legal requirements in terms of agreements.

Pain In My Heart won the 2008 CNN African Journalist of the year award. In the same year, the film scooped the Archbishop Desmond Tutu leadership award and the Kaiser Family Foundation award for excellence in HIV and Aids reporting in Africa.