(Last Updated on December 14, 2020 by GERALD NCUBE)
HARARE – Veteran actor and filmmaker Stephen Chingorimbo, famously known as Mr Huni in the popular drama series ‘Studio 263’ has said the Zimbabwean film industry needs financial and institutional support through the setting up of a film institution to coordinate the various aspects involved production.
Chigorimbo was speaking about the state of the country’s arts and film industry during an exclusive interview with ZimDaily on Monday.
He said this would help the country’s film sector grow and make it competitive in the international market, adding that Zimbabwe already had talented people who can drive the industry.
“A lot of people have said many things, some have said there is no film industry in Zimbabwe. I can tell you with a straight face, we do have a film industry in Zimbabwe. It has serious challenges but we have a film industry. When we talk about a film industry we are talking about do we have people who are able to make film products.
“Zimbabwe is endowed with people who are talented who are able to make products whether they are feature film, series, documentaries. Zimbabweans are talented in that, not only talented. There was a time when I started in 1984 when I was really the only Black filmmaker…
“But now we have a crew, we also have actors who are not just locally renowned. We have our own celebrities recognized internationally, Danai Gurira, Arnold Chirisas and so forth. There are many actually, we have exported to South Africa, America and elsewhere,” said the veteran filmmaker.
“There is only one missing element. An institution that coordinates officially all these aspects. In other countries like in Britain, there is the British Film Institute or Screen Australia in Australia or National Film and Video Foundation in South Africa. All over the world the counties who have done well in filmmaking have got these institutions.
He also said that there was need to have ways to fund productions noting that filmmakers were struggling to fund productions.
Chigorimbo suggested that Zimbabwe should emulate the way the film industry in South Africa is run.
Adding that they have engaged relevant government authorities to improve the film sector.
He further added that there should be support from the national broadcaster through having a budget to fund local production so that it is empowered to compete internationally.
“When I’m producing a product and it’s funded, my actors are paid, my directors are getting paid, my equipment is upto date. I can produce exactly the same quality as what is happening in South Africa or elsewhere and my product can compete fairly with those,” added Chigorimbo.
Chigorimbo is a renowned actor and filmmaker who has been involved in various film productions both locally and internationally.
He was involved in the production of Cry Freedom – The Steve Biko Story where he worked with the famous American actor Denzel Washington.
The veteran filmmaker has also worked with internationally renowned filmmakers including Sharon Stone and Richard Chamberlain.