Rwodzi restores fashion pride through film

Rwodzi said the mini film fest was a collaboration which showcased three films Ruka, Daughter of the Soil and I Wear My Culture.

INNOVATIVE award-winning film actress and producer Chiedza Rwodzi premiered a memorable film festival on December 6 called When Fashion and Film Collide at Padonhodzo in Newlands, Harare, where three fashion films were screened to a full house.

Rwodzi said the mini film fest was a collaboration which showcased three films Ruka, Daughter of the Soil and I Wear My Culture.

Rwodzi explained to NewsDay Life and Style: “I produced and acted in Daughter of the Soil and the other two films were collaborations with other creative teams. Overall, the event was a massive success because each award-winning film portrayed a high level of quality in visuals, storytelling and execution. The bar within filmmaking has been raised and it’s amazing to see creatives such as these collaborations creating such work. As a country, we should be proud and we must aim to support such projects that are competing and winning awards at regional and national levels.

“The event featured three award-winning films which shared a mutual element of fashion within storytelling. The key cast and crew of all three films chose to collaborate and host a screening of all these films to an audience of over 130 people. This event featured a variation of age demographics from 16 to 60 years of age and the tone of the event was both lively, yet also mellow with people from different backgrounds and professions colliding and networking.”

Eyes were glued to the first film to be screened, the multi-award winning film Ruka which received several impressive comments.

Rwodzi co-founded an international theatre company in the United Kingdom called Unshaded Arts, a company that champions universal stories driven by marginalised voices.

Her first play How Are You Really won two Nama awards in 2020. She has performed and narrated audio stories, audio plays and theatre plays in Zimbabwe, Uganda and London for such organisations as BBC Radio 4, Almasi Collaborative Arts, Fifth Word Theatre & Kampala International Festival.

“I had the pleasure of producing and acting in short film Daughter of the Soil this year. The film was written by Shylet Ndarambwa and directed by Derrick Manieca. Daughter of the Soil is a short film about the power and beauty of African women. Daughter of the Soil highlights the importance of knowing one’s identity and the relevance that history plays in the world that is ever changing and dictating who you should be.

“I see myself doing what I’m doing now on a much larger scale. I believe I’m already within my purpose, but it would be about being more fruitful within the things I am already doing. I love the creative industry and I believe in the ability for art to impact, shift and change our world for the better. It is my hope that I will continue to grow in my craft,” Rwodzi said.

The crowd was electrified and evidently entertained by the Daughter of the Soil film.

There were some loud cheers during the screening of the film as the crowd responded to the powerful women being showcased.

“I was impressed by the positive feedback on the costume design as well as the scoring, directing and film production. This film will positively transform the youth to draw inspiration from their cultural contexts,” one of the viewers said.

After a break, the award-winning documentary I Wear My Culture was screened.

The project follows the journey of seven Zimbabwean fashion designers who were assigned to research and design garments inspired by different ethnic groups in Zimbabwe.

The documentary was very informative, and the audience were deeply connected with the work.

The audience felt enlightened and stressed how they need films like these to be screened in schools to remind young people of where they come from.

Rwodzi elucidated: “I Wear My Culture documentary is a project that follows the journey of seven Zimbabwean fashion designers, who were assigned to research and design garments inspired by different ethnic groups in Zimbabwe. The documentary shows the process of how the designers learned about the history, culture and traditions of their assigned ethnic groups, and how they translated their findings into contemporary and creative fashion pieces. I Wear My Culture is a project that aims to educate and inspire viewers about the rich and diverse heritage of Zimbabwe, as well as the potential and innovation of African fashion.

“Ruka meaning ‘to braid’ or ‘to knit’ in Shona, is a short fashion film based on slow sustainable fashion pieces by Fungai Muzoroza and captured beautifully by Mordekai Musonza. Braiding has been a part of African culture from the beginning of time through means on hairstyling, knitting, crocheting, weaving and macramé. The film Ruka celebrates these methods through each design and plays around with a mixture of cultural and modern-day inspirations and textures. It also celebrates the beauty of collaboration and cross culture education within Africa.”

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