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Zim, Canada film makers collaborate for short film

by Staff Reporter
15 Sep 2013 at 04:56hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe film industry has taken a new dimension as a Canadian film maker, Martha Ferguson, has collaborated with local producers to make a short film called Freestate.

Freestate, which was nominated for the "Short Film Oscars", was written by Melissa Webster, a Zimbabwean who was born and raised in South Africa. Webster wrote the script with the assistance of local script writer Tsitsi Dangarembga.

Ferguson directed the film with Daves Guzha coming in as the producer and main screen planner. Stephen Chigorimbo is the lead actor in the short film which has 10 other characters.

In an interview during the launch of Sinners, Chigorimbo said the short film is currently being shown at film festivals and other special functions.

"Freestate is a pilot programme of a feature film that will be released next year but surprisingly it has already been nominated for the Short Film Oscars and this is evident that the concept is impressive," said Chigorimbo.

"Presently the short film is being showcased at special film festivals and will only be on the market when the film is released. Recently Freestate was premièred during the official opening of the Zimbabwe International Images Film Festival of Women."

He said the brains behind the film, Webster, was inspired to write the film by the way she grew up in South Africa in the Freestate.

"Webster was raised in South Africa in a place where women were deprived of their desires due to social expectations and in the film she reflects the set-up of such an environment," said Chigorimbo.

"The storyline is about a taxi driver who was very sensitive to the needs of his mistress that he always respected her wishes even when society deprived her. However, one day the mistress allowed her feelings to come out and she broke a custom that opened up a whole can of worms which is where the other side stories emanate from."

Chigorimbo said the storyline also explores the cultural tensions surrounding women's desires.

The whole film was shot in Vumba at Leopard Rock and yet it is hard to tell if the scenes were from the same area.

In a separate interview, Guzha said the short film paved way for the local film industry to diversify and partner with international casts.

"The production crew was dominated by black Zimbabweans and the only non-Zimbabwean in the film is Alex Disenhof, who came as a technical expert," Guzha said.

"It is essential for our local and international producers or film writers to partner in their productions because it brings a lot of unique ideas. We need our productions to be recognised on the international platform."

He said his interests in Freestate came during the launch of the Harare City Library fund-raising early this year when he was chatting with Martha.

Guzha said: "When I heard the concept of the film that night, I fell in love with it and that alone made me so keen to work on it. Tsitsi, Melissa and I then started working on the screen plan as well as the logistics in the same week. "

Ironically, the title of the film is referring to the women's state of mind, strengths and weakness with complex characters.

Webster also wrote the short film titled 'Space Full' which was based on Ferguson's own personal experiences in Zimbabwe.

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Source - Sunday Mail