BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
IN the world of film, it takes a team to make a production, but sadly, only those that appear in front of the camera take all the glory. The star-makers largely go unnoticed or celebrated. Local female film producer Talent “Mai Chidzawo” Chitauro is among those who work behind the scenes for the production of popular soapie Wenera, which has since been rebranded to Viva Wenera.
Among her duties are to make sure the hiring process for cast and crew is fair and adequate, setting budgets and timetables, delegating work to the appropriate personnel within the production, overseeing the editing process to create the final product. But Mai Chidzawo remains unfamiliar to many followers of the soapie.
How do you describe yourself?
“Faithful, loving and trustworthy.
Becoming a producer
“I was a vehicle parts sales person for about 10 years and during that time, I always went to help Eddie Ndhlovu (Wenera executive producer) with his filming work and I fell in love with the film industry.
“In a way, I worked part-time producing and full-time as a sales person, but at the end of the day, I just decided to resign from my salesperson job and focus more on what I loved most and that is producing.
Attainment of Mai Chidzawo moniker
“When we started shooting Wenera, Amai Dorothy Chidzawo was head of studio at ZBC-tv, if I am not mistaken, and the guys we were working with at that time, Gizzy Mupiwa and Zolile ‘Tsotsi’ Makeleni, just started to call me that and the rest is history.
Dealing with different characters
“It is very difficult dealing with different characters because everyone has his or her own wants to be handled. Dealing with divas is a hustle, but I have learned a trick of having different relationships with most of them. Some of them are daughters, sons, brothers or even sisters.
Also having been a salesperson for about 10 years, it trained me in handling different people and meeting their needs and this has helped me to deal with the different people I work with in the film industry.
On women taking leading roles in film industry
“For me, it is a good thing for women to be taking leading roles in the film industry. For a long time, women have just been pushed to the back.
“I am happy that as women, we are making a great stride in marking our spot in this male dominated industry and I know what a man can do and a woman can also do even better.
Source of inspiration
“Happiness, which feels people’s hearts when they see a good production, pushes me more. Just knowing that I had a hand in that production inspires me a lot.
View on state of film industry
“Zimbabwe has a lot of talent, which has not been given enough recognition. The film industry needs a lot of support from our fellow Zimbabweans. Our actors and actresses need to be embraced first in our country so that they are recognised worldwide.
“Apart from Wenera, I have produced a number of productions such as Thandie’s Diary and several crime prevention short films we were working on in collaboration with Rhodesville Crime Consultative Committee.”
Follow Winston on Twitter @widzoanto