Film industry an unpolished jewel: Chibhamu

Leonard Chibhamu

RENOWNED filmmaker and financial analyst Leonard Chibhamu has described the local film industry as an unpolished jewel with potential to contribute to the country’s gross domestic product.

In a recent interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Chibhamu said the statistics he gathered from a number of Pan-African film financing and business seminars showed that film was an under-invested industry.

“Most new projects in the film sector die a natural birth after a coming soon premiere normally due to lack of funding,” he said.

“Our film narratives have been largely dominated by donor funding and we believe from a different school of thought that film is a business. So, absence of funding has been a result of the business philosophy of the corporate world towards film.”

Chibhamu pleaded with the corporate world saying film was not a charity issue, but a business, “so failure to partner with the film industry is an issue of missed opportunities as good storytelling transcends borders”.

Chibhamu, who is the writer and executive producer for the Village Secrets series currently airing on ZBCtv and JIT TV in South Africa, said his projects were not spared financial challenges.

“The Village Secrets storyline is a rural narrative and securing funding to produce it has been a challenge. We had to dig deep to sustain it on a self-funding basis,” he said.

“Each season was a learning curve, making reviews to cope and we are proud that even in the darkest moments of the COVID-19 pandemic, we managed to provide fresh content to our viewers.”

Chibhamu said filmmakers were not doing much to promote local languages in their productions.

“There is a lack of support for our local languages. Taking a closer look at our sector you can tell that English subtitles get more attention than local languages. This is a different scenario in South Africa, where much of the soapies are in their native languages,” he said.

“I am proud to be a flag bearer and advocate of our major local languages in my productions and will continue to be the best alternative for our audience.”

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