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Filmmaker turns novel into film



MUTARE-BASED filmmaker and novelist Stephen Mutsago is set to launch a crime-themed film based on his National Arts Merit Award (Nama) winning novel titled Vicious Circles.

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Mutsago, a police officer, said the motive of the film was to show and enlighten the world about how the Zimbabwe Republic Police operates.

“We want to tell people what they have never imagined goes on in a police set-up. We can tell our own stories, but there is a lot they need to understand about the police,” he said.

“The film also brings out several themes such as crime, infidelity and betrayal. It will teach people that crime does not pay, infidelity destroys families and betrayal has consequences, among others.”

Mutsago said the film, shot in the rural areas and sub-locations in Mutare, was meant to encourage a reading culture among Zimbabweans which he said was fast diminishing.

“I discovered that the reading culture in Zimbabwe, if not the world, has significantly deteriorated and overpowered by the digital world. People now spend most of their time on the internet, gadgets and television so the best way to spread the word is through the media,” he said.

“Filming is just a screenplay. I am a novel writer as well, so it is a matter of putting stories into motion pictures. It is not difficult for me though there is a need for technical knowledge on how to turn a story into a screenplay.”

Mutsago said he utilised vacations to balance between his job and literary work.

“As a police officer, I make use of my time off and leave days to conduct my film projects. I usually plan my projects so that they do not interfere with my work and sometimes I delegate the people I trust to do it for me,” he said.

Mutsago saluted fellow police officers for being a dedicated, professional and supportive cast as they went an extra mile to showcase how the police force operates.

“As for the cast, we have strong bonds having some from the days we trained at various training depots. I made an open call for auditions and the response was overwhelming,” he said.

“The directors of the film, Igie Matope, Wilfred Mashaya, Felix Machingambi and Masukume Philis, maintained high morale and discipline during the shooting of the film.”

He said his wish was to contribute towards the growth of the Zimbabwean film industry to its full potential.

“My immediate goal is to make Mutare a film hub so that other filmmakers from different cities will join in and together we can make Zollyhood. I am currently working on a crime series titled Scalene which is on YouTube,” he said.

Mutsago’s literary works are Vicious Circle and Bone of Contention and he also produced a horror movie titled Ngozi.

  • Follow Kimberly on Twitter @lizellekimkari

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