The youthful South Africa-based Zimbabwean filmmaker is the first product of the Midlands State University Film and Theatre Department to produce a film outside Zimbabwe’s drowning film industry.
In an interview with NewsDay, the Tsitsi Dangarembwa-inspired Chera said the film (Luthando) was also set to be showcased at international festivals such as Zimbabwe’s International Images Film Festival (IIFF) and Tampere Film Festival 2016 in Finland.
“I believe in a Zimbabwe that tells its own story through its own people and in local languages. Tsitsi Dangarembwa is one of the filmmakers who after being a victim of donor funding went on to stand against the content that does not pertain on reflecting on her own people,” Chera said.
Shot and produced in Durban, South Africa, by Durban Motion Pictures, Luthando was directed by South Africa’s award-winning female director Bonie Sithebe.
The story is about a quest for answers to the unknown world.
After losing her only child, Luthando and her husband Mbongeni have more questions than answers. However, in their adventure to find answers what they discover changes everything.
Mbongeni and Luthando are trying for a second child, but Luthando is not conceiving which later strains the relationship.
The doctor’s results do not show any reason why Luthando cannot fall pregnant, the two decide to consult a Sangoma who tells them that Luthando has not been accepted as part of the Mavundla family since there was no lobola paid for her and she advises them to return home and do all the rituals properly.
Initially they refuse, but this creates more tension between them, suddenly Luthando has a miscarriage, they then realise that it is the time they confront the past, they leave the city and go back to the rural areas for Luthando’s lobola proceedings.
While there, they discover that Qhamukile (Luthando’s stepsister) has a boy child and he is said to belong to Mbongeni.
Born and bred in the rural area of Mberengwa, it was through his experience as a production assistant manager for two renowned television shows for Mzansi Magic — Kaching and Nguwe Na — in 2013 and 2014 that prepared Chera for greater heights.
Chera said although he is making it in South Africa, his heart is still in Zimbabwe promising to return home and give back to the community as a mentor to the upcoming filmmakers and even set up a film studio.
Besides producing films, Chera began showcasing himself when he was still a student at Midlands State University where he was the lead actor in an experimental film, How to Script in 30 Days, directed by Alex Gwaze from MSU which premiered in Harare at the Zimbabwe Film Festival in 2103.
Chera is currently working on his forthcoming film, Thank You Miss, that is in its post-production stage. The film was directed by Philani Sithebe.