Cletus Mushanawani in Chimanimani
The government is investing in infrastructure and equipment in the film industry to lessen the cost of producing films as the country migrates from analogue to digital media. In an interview after touring the refurbished Gwindingwi transmission equipment in Chimanimani, yesterday, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services George Charamba, said the revamping of the country’s film industry was a matter of urgency because of the immense benefits that come from film production.
He said the digitalisation programme was set to create about 6,000 jobs by the end of 2016, with the figures expected to go up to hundreds of thousands as the years progress.
“By the time we close 2016, I’m very positive that the film industry will be employing about 6,000 people. This is a big industry with a lot of benefits across many facets of the economy. We should take a leaf from Nigeria where its film industry is now racking in billions of dollars. We’ll not only be producing content for our local market, but Sadc, Africa, the Third World and the world at large,” he said.
Charamba said there was a lot of eagerness among producers to have their content marketed.
“It’s our duty to provide the necessary infrastructure and equipment to ensure that content is readily available for all our channels to be created from the digitalisation programme. This will also lower the expenses of producing films in the country and ensure that there’s enough content for the market, both local and international.
“As I speak, we’ve people in Dubai who left on Monday to buy cameras and lighting equipment as well as other accessories. We want to have an excess of 30 to 35 camera units that’ll be distributed across the country. There’ll be enough resources for productions in different parts of the country.
“We need to have folly studios which disseminate sound. I met a guy from Botswana who told me that people aren’t only watching films with their eyes, but they’re also using their ears, hence the need of clear sound,” he said.
Charamba said the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services would be working with a number of ministries in producing films and these include Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, the Sports Ministry, Ministry dealing with Culture, Arts, as well as Tourism and Hospitality Ministry.
“Our culture and identity is under attack and this dates back to the 1890s. This is the time we should assert our voices and culture through the locally produced films. Zimbabwe should’ve its own image. How do we know this is Harare when we don’t know a single typifying feature about the city? There should be something that typifies us as Zimbabweans.
“Look at South Africa, the face of a South African girl is a Zulu child with beads, but what typifies a Zimbabwean? We need a typical Zimbabwean face.
“We want to tell the real Zimbabwe story because we don’t even use our flags and designs when producing our films. All the various genres should show the true Zimbabwean identity. The dramas, music, dances, sculptures our fashion and fabric should tell the world who Zimbabweans are,” he said.
Charamba said: “That ministry is the incubator of the arts industry. Most talents are identified at an early stage, and this is usually in primary school. So, this means we’re wedded together with this important ministry.
“The same applies to tertiary education because all universities are hot beds of creativity. Every art one can think of is found at the campus and we should tap on that.”
Charamba said through working with the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, they would be selling the beauty of the country to the outside world.
“We also have a role to market Zimbabwe’s flora and fauna. We’ve so many stories to tell about our fauna, but the media at times is not capturing it. In the environs of Harare, there’s a wildlife story that can capture the world’s imagination, but no-one picked it up.
“Two male rhinos fought over mating rights and one of them was defeated. However, the defeated rhino was so jealous and it took advantage of the mating of the two other rhinos to attack the victor. The victor was crippled in the process and we’re just counting its days on this earth, something which would have made interesting viewing if it was captured,” he said.
He added: “There’s another interesting story in Victoria Falls where a local was gored by a rampaging buffalo. He ran for dear life with intestines in his hands and thanks to the medical expertise in the country, he survived to tell his story.”