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Zim, Uganda filmmakers join forces



A PARTNERSHIP between National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) and Piton International Film Festival (PIFF) for the inaugural NACZ/PIFF Africa 2021 film festival has given birth to a film production by local and a Ugandan production houses.

Bulawayo-based Gesh23 Productions has teamed up with Uganda’s King Paul Media Group (KPMG) to produce a short film titled Find Me.

The collaboration has put together Ugandans’ top-shelf scriptwriting and storytelling skills with Gesh23 Productions providing the of cast and film production crew.

A short film penned by Ugandan Paul Ssebata will be produced by award-winning filmmaker Marshal Mpofu and directed by comedian Mothusi Bashimane Ndlovu popularly known as Madlela Sikhobokhobo, both based in Bulawayo.

The film (Find Me) tells the story of a couple that experiences a rocky start to its marriage. The wife mysteriously disappears leaving everyone thinking the husband had something to do with her disappearance.

It chronicles how the husband launches an investigation to establish the truth about the disappearance of his wife.

Mpofu said the collaboration was the beginning of many such enterprises that could result in his production house creating films written by Ssebata.

“The NACZ/PIFF is the one that made us meet with Paul Ssebata. It provided a platform where we shared our experiences on filmmaking and from those discussions, we came up with this strategy where he writes films and we cast and produce them in Zimbabwe” he said.

Ssebata hailed the partnership saying it promoted the culture and creative industry in both countries and attract tourists to visit Africa after watching content from filmmakers that tell African stories.

“This partnership will also allow us to connect with the international market, increase education and level of film production in Uganda, Zimbabwe and Africa at large,” he said.

NACZ/PIFF Africa co-ordinator and Midlands provincial arts manager Farai Kupfavira hailed the partnership, adding that she expected more collaborations to come out of the continental film showcase.

“This is a stepping stone, not only for NACZ and PIFF, but also for the country.

“We hope this partnership will grow and spur further success for the cultural and creative industry not only in Zimbabwe and Uganda, but the whole of Africa as represented by participants in the festival,” she said.

PIFF Global and PIFF Africa, president and founder Ed “Umoja” Herman said he was elated to see collaboration efforts between companies from different African countries.

“The collaboration that is now underway between KPMG in Uganda and Gesh23 Production in Zimbabwe shows that the work, we set out to do is having positive results as PIFF Africa. We hope this is the first of many to come,” he said.

The short film will be shot in and around Bulawayo featuring a cast of award-winning actors including Antonate Sango, Marshal Mpofu, Ben Chest, Bhekimpilo Makhwelo and other supporting actors.

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