Local filmmakers discuss challenges

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Film

RENOWNED Nigerian filmmaker based in the United States Robert Peters’ remarks that Zimbabwean filmmakers needed to “wake up” has prompted the local filmmakers to revisit issues crippling the industry.

BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO

Peters, who directed the much-awaited film, Mugabe, centred on the late President Robert Mugabe, told Play Afrika TV last week that Zimbabwean filmmakers should stop sleeping on the job and start telling other stories of Mugabe’s life.

“We have done our part. There are so many things to talk about,” he said.

Mugabe’s producers were last year accused of sidelining locals by casting Nigerian Hakeem Kae-Kazim for the leading role.

Filmmakers on the Zimbabwe International Film and Festival Trust’s WhatsApp platform reacted differently to Peters’ remarks.

“We might be sleeping in a different way which we need to realise. Local producers fail to gather and come up with ideas that bring out the best. I personally feel the industry is dead not only because of the government, but due to failure to team up for a cause because we feel different,” said Precious Musaruwa.

Another filmmaker, Cosmo Zengeya, said Peters’ sentiments were unfortunate.

“He should have just said that Zimbabweans have potential. We are actually not finding sleep because of our industry. Government does not have funding for independent filmmakers,” he said.

Award-winning filmmaker Shem Zemura (pictured) said government needed to create a conducive filmmaking environment, describing the operating environment under current legislations as “very toxic”.

“Someone from outside might look at us and think that we are sleeping but they don’t realise that Zimbabwean producers are like ants under government’s elephant foot,” he said.

Melgin Tafirenyika said: “Our problem is that everyone wants to be number one. As filmmakers we are also full of hatred, anger and jealousy. We don’t support each other.”

Former Studio 263 actor Stephen Chigorimbo said it was “foolish” for filmmakers to expect support from government.