STER KINEKOR Sam Levy cinema in Harare was filled to the bream last Friday night as guests gathered to witness the premiere of Ngoda, a film whose synopsis was inspired by the country’s illegal diamond mining.
The premiere of the hour-and-half-long film was a red-carpet affair graced by top filmmakers, producers and actors, celebrities and film lovers.
Veteran filmmaker Joe Njagu and award-winning actor Eddie Sandifolo, who were on the director’s chair — having collaborated for over a decade on other productions — were the brains behind Ngoda.
The film is entirely shot in Zimbabwe at such popular sites as Dzimbanhete run by Chiko Chazunguza, who also features in the production.
In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Sandifolo said: “What I have realised is, there is a lot of talent in Zimbabwe and that talent also deserves to be in the limelight as well. This is why I am not going to be seen too much on the screen, but rather I will be working vibrantly behind the scenes to give that talent a platform to grow,” said Sandifolo.
Asked if there was going to be a continuation of the movie, Njagu said he hoped so, adding that teamwork was important in growing the local film sector into a viable commercial industry.
“The production of Ngoda was funded privately by individuals using an investment model, not sponsored. What we are doing is we are making sure that the film funds itself,” he noted.
Speaking to this publication ahead of the premiere, Njagu said: “The fictional story, that gave birth to Ngoda film set in 2006 amid the diamond mining rush, is inspired by events that have happened in Zimbabwe, through research and visiting the mining areas.”
It appears the film, which won the best film award at the recently held National Arts Merit Awards, has been well endorsed if the reaction by the guests soon after its premiere was anything to go by.
The general sentiments by the guests were that Ngoda producers should do more such films.
“This is great work, I would say it is a Netflix level film. I really hope that Zimbabwe film makers follow up and make more local productions which would be made available in cinemas such that when we visit the movie house, we have many options on the table,” said one of the guests.
Another attendee said: “I really enjoyed the movie and you have made us realise that Zimbabwe is actually able to establish a film industry if there is consistency in making films such as Ngoda.”
At the premiere, guest had the opportunity to meet the film’s cast that included Farai Chigudu, Elijah Madzikatire, Taurai Kawara, Charmaine Mujeri, Caroline Mashingaidze-Zimbizi as well as Sandifolo and Njagu the co-directors of the film, among others.
The film’s production team also included Charles Njagu, Farai Chimombe, Philip Marumha and Jude Dutiro.
“Also, part of the producers is Malaika Mushandu (former top model) who has stepped onto the film scene with a bang after a directorial debut on her award-winning film Mirage which scooped numerous awards last year and got her nominated for Best Director at the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Awards in Nigeria,” Njagu noted.
Explaining the film’s synopsis, Njagu said greed, betrayal and disloyalty lead to fatal consequences in this dramatic thriller.
“To claim back their land, the Toropito brothers must raise enough money to buy it back, forcing them into the illegal diamond mining world. They work for a ruthless diamond dealer who does not pay them well,” he noted.
“Tindo, the eldest of the brothers, accidentally finds a big diamond and decides to hide it from everyone, including his brothers and wife. The diamond is stolen from Tindo and news of the big stone spreads. The hunt for the diamond is on, but how do you find something that has already been stolen.”
Njagu also said the film would be screened around the world.