BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
RENOWNED author and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise US$285 000 to finance the production of a new film titled Nnenna, as part of efforts to empower women and create an enabling environment for female thespians.
The filmmaker said the production was set to commence next year with the shooting scheduled for Lagos, Nigeria.
“We also have an international platform for people to donate. We have raised a bit of money on the platform. Any contribution to that amount is welcomed. We are going to spend about a year by the time we know we have the funds,” she said.
The campaign, done through Dangarembga’s African Women Filmmakers Hub, will transform Nigerian Ifeoma Theodore (Jnr.)’s book, Trapped in Oblivion, into a screen production.
Dangarembga, who is the programme’s creative producer, described how Nnenna’s plight speaks to challenges that affect girls during adolescence due to the absence of information around their sexuality.
“Culture has changed. The aunties who were there to provide advice do not do that anymore. Traditional structures are no longer there and yet we don’t have new structures replacing the decaying old structures. It’s a big problem,” she said.
The filmmaker also said they had already conducted trainings in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Senegal.
“Now, we want to go further and produce a feature film. Nnenna is an adaptation of a book, Trapped in Oblivion. The book did very well in Nigeria where it was released, and I read it when I was judging a literature competition a few years ago,” she said.
Dangarembga said the country’s film industry was unfriendly to women filmmakers as they found it difficult to penetrate the higher echelons of the industry.
“Zimbabwe is one of the countries that is very difficult for women who would want to rise or do well in the film industry. The industry is not well-developed at all and has not been women friendly,” she said.
Dangarembga said the story was ideal for film, adding it was a good way to teach women how to do film scripting and directing.
“I worked with three young Nigerian women during scripting and I will work with a young Nigerian director also. There are many women working for male producers, directors and DOPs producing short documentaries but are not occupying those top positions,” she said.