IN the realm of local film and television production, Eddie “Nzou” Ndhlovu has helped to shape many characters who are doing wonders in their respective acting careers.
The Chitungwiza-bred filmmaker’s journey is highlighted by passion, creativity and unwavering dedication.
With over 21 years of experience in content development and management, the Talent of Steel Film and Television Company founder has continued to be a torch bearer in the industry.
“I was born with an innate love for storytelling”, Ndhlovu told NewsDay Life & Style.
“I embarked on this artistic odyssey in 2001 with my first short film titled: Kuteya-Bait as a producer working alongside the talented writer and director Masimba Musodza. This is when I set the stage for what would become a remarkable career.”
Kuteya-Bait film served as a stepping stone for Ndhlovu’s desire to explore the possibilities in the film and television industry.
He reckons that he made his mark in 2010 with the independently-produced ground-breaking film, Sores of Emmanuel: A masterpiece which broke down barriers, securing a prime-time slot at the now defunct Rainbow cinemas and captivating audiences with its poignant storytelling.
“Back in 2010, my film Sores of Emmanuel shattered barriers as the first independent film to secure a prime-time cinema slot at Rainbow Cinemas. It captivated audiences, rivalling and even surpassing the likes of Avatar and Ninja Assassin at the box office, and paved the way for a wave of local movies to follow,” he recalled.
“Over the years, I have honed my craft through the creation of various experimental shorts with each project allowing me to delve deeper into the intricacies of the creative process, refining my skills and expanding the artistic repertoire.”
Speaking on his recognition at the recently held Zimbabwe Annual Film and Television Awards (ZAFTA), Ndhlovu — who was a recipient of the Outstanding Contributor Award — said his vision allowed so many people to flourish as he also achieved his goals.
ZAFTA conceptualised by the Cinema Society of Zimbabwe serves as a platform to celebrate excellence and innovation within the Zimbabwean film and television industry.
“I felt humbled and honoured to win the Outstanding Contributor Award. In my 13 years of commercially being involved in the film and television industry I have opened doors for a number of fellow filmmakers be it on cinema or television platforms,” he said.
“Receiving this prestigious award truly validates the impact I have had on the industry. Players are the most popular people, but it is the coach that comes up with the game plan.”
Ndhlovu added: “Alongside my achievements, I have also nurtured the growth of numerous brands and supported fellow filmmakers through my Wenera Studios which provided free filming space and equipment for a lot of productions. Wenera even made it into the Visual and Performing Arts Grade Four textbook.”
“Through my ground-breaking series Wenera, I revolutionised the local content landscape on ZBC TV and Zimbabwe as a whole, reigniting the culture for watching locally-produced television shows making way for a number of television dramas.”
Ndhlovu said there was more to come from his film bag.
“The best is yet to come. As we step into 2024, I am thrilled to announce that I am embarking on an entirely new venture within the film and television industry. Stay tuned and witness the magic unfold before your eyes,” he said.
An insatiable appetite for innovation led Ndhlovu to join forces with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) from 2011 to 2014, during which period he made significant contributions to the industry, writing and directing the soap opera Revelations and creating the captivating short film project Zimtales Season 1.
However, his most significant achievement came in 2015 when he birthed the iconic television drama Wenera, which become one of the greatest dramas, captivating the hearts of viewers nationwide.
Unyielding in his pursuit of excellence, Ndhlovu continued to push boundaries and challenge convention. In 2018, he penned and directed the film Thandies Diary, while simultaneously serving as the executive producer for Botso, which premiered on Zambezi Magic, a 24-hour African general entertainment channel created by Multichoice for DStv.
His visionary approach and dedication to his craft were further recognised when he became co-producer for the history-making film Cook Off, which became the first Zimbabwean film to grace the screens of Netflix, an American subscription video on-demand over-the-top streaming service.
With each project he undertakes, Ndhlovu continues to redefine the boundaries of possibility, leaving an indelible mark in the world of film and television.
His latest masterpiece, drama series titled Bundu is a testament to his unwavering commitment to storytelling excellence as his creative prowess continues to soar to new heights. The fast-paced Bundu series focuses on the cat and mouse chase between poachers and rangers, bringing to light issues surrounding the poaching scourge that has become a major global concern resulting in many animal species being threatened with extinction.
As the creator, writer and director of this captivating series, Ndhlovu once again demonstrated his ability to weave intricate narratives that resonate with audiences.
His influence extends well beyond the borders. Recognising the importance of continuous growth and learning, he has actively participated at symposiums and workshops across the globe. From the bustling streets of New York and Washington DC to the artistic havens of Portland, Oregon, Kenya and Namibia, Ndhlovu has left a credible mark.
“These experiences have enriched my creative perspective, enabling me to fuse my work with a global sensibility,” he said.
His passion for his craft, combined with exceptional leadership skills and multitasking prowess, have solidified his status as an industry titan. Ndhlovu has become more than a producer, but a visionary, a storyteller and a trailblazer.
Beyond the realm of film and television, Ndhlovu has lent his prodigious talents to the world of commercials; working with esteemed corporates such as Econet, ZimParks and Zvimba Rural District Council bringing his unique vision to the advertising landscape, crafting captivating narratives that have left a lasting impression.