THE government of Zimbabwe’s 75% local content policy did good and bad to the music industry in this country. Names that immediately come to mind include Roqui, XQ, Betty Makaya, Leonard Mapfumo, Mafriq, and Major Playaz. <
There is however an industry that I feel should also have benefited — the film industry.
I happen to know a spam of talented and enthusiastic young film makers particularly in Harare who I believe, given the necessary support, can make good films that we’ll all be proud to be identified with.
Most of them I have worked with on productions that never went beyond rehearsals due to lack of funding or poor planning due to inexperience.
l Net Flava Entertainment was a group of young men and women who teamed up to make a film called Like Always.
Admire Maramba, the team leader and his colleague Adrian Magombedze, did a splendid job on the script. It was really good. However, everything went wrong as finding funding for the film proved to be too tall an order for the young artists.
Half the team members including Maramba’s colleague Magombedze quit. That was the last we heard of Like Always or Net Flava.
Given the necessary support and resources, I still feel Maramba and his team have what it takes to make a good production.
l Macdonald Mandishona, who claims to be a graduate of Amsterdam Film School is another one of this genre of film makers who need the corporate world’s support.
I have watched his Throw The Dice.
It’s really a yawn of a film but you’ve got to give it to the brother, he has something to show for his efforts.
I salute him for that and am convinced if he had been given enough resources and support he would have come up with something worth watching. He has passion for the industry, his film may not be anything fancy but it shows his commitment.
l After leaving Net Flava, Magombedze worked on a solo project, a television series called High Learning. I was part of the cast.
The script was, as is the norm with his writings, splendid while the cast was a classy act.
High Learning was set to dethrone Studio 263, but naturally, there was no money to execute the five-star idea. Sadly, the script was submitted to ZTV, the name was changed to Up The Hill, the cast too changed and what a shoddy piece of work the once classy script turned out to be!
High Learning or Up The Hill was a great idea that was poorly executed probably by the director. I can’t help wondering what it could have been like if Maramba had managed to get funding for his project or if he had the resources he needed.
*Tafadzwa Chimbetete once worked with Mandishona and Magombedze on a movie called Kick The Game that never went beyond rehearsals at Memorial Building. Chimbetete however went on to do his own show soon after parting with Magombedze and Mandishona. His show — Jack’s Shack is currently showing on TV. This one too, like Up The Hill, was a great idea that was poorly executed.
Jack’s Shack can improve though if the young man is given support by the corporate world.
l And then there is Paradzai Mbwende, another one of these young film makers. Mbwende has worked with all the above-mentioned film makers but to date he has nothing to show for his efforts.
I’m told he has now teamed up with Magombedze on a TV series called Set Me Free. I hope they make it this time but already word has it that while they are doing their best, they are finding the going tough.
Now my challenge to the corporate world is to bring together all these youngsters, give them the support they need and we might just have our own “Zollywood”.
Wouldn’t it be great on the night of the Grammy Awards to hear the master of ceremonies say “….and the nominees are Steven Spielberg, Larry Waschoski, Paradzai …..”
As I write Maramba is working on a television series Esate Blues, Chimbetete is still on Jack’s Shack, Magombedze and Mbwende are on Set Me Free, Mandishona is on State of Malambia. Save for Chimbetete’s Jack’s Shack and Magombedze and Mbwende’s Set Me Free which have a realistic chance of going beyond rehearsals, the rest are likely to be walking down an all too familiar path. Let’s support our artists.