Auditions for upcoming Zimbabwean film opened
Leonard Ncube, Online Reporter
AUDITIONS for the upcoming Zimbabwean film featuring Zimbabwe-born Hollywood actor Tongayi Chirisa opened in Victoria Falls on Friday.
The film is set to be short in Victoria Falls and Harare this year. It is based on the life of Tobias Mupfuti, an incredible individual who owns the Victoria Falls Boxing Academy, and seeks to tell his story of hope and joy with the aim of telling the Zimbabwean story.
Tobias Mupfuti will be played by Chirisa who at every scene will be accompanied by a boy, aged between five and 13 in the lead role. The crew comprising Joe Njagu who is the producer of the film and Jessie Rowlands who is the writer and director conducted auditions for the supporting role of a nurse and doctor on Friday, with help from acting coach Eddie Sandifolo and Mupfuti at the newly built Victoria Falls Boxing Academy premises.
Saturday was the big day as the crew held auditions for the lead role of the boy (5 to 13 years) at Mosi-oa-Tunya High School where scores of prospective actors from various schools in Victoria Falls turned up.
The auditions were overwhelmed with scores of Victoria Falls youths turning up to try their luck. The search continues in Hwange today where pupils from 12 schools are set to try their luck for the lead role and in Binga on Wednesday for the same role.
Shangano Arts Festival director Petros Ndlovu is assisting in Hwange. Rowlands said the crew was elated by the excitement in Victoria Falls. “Friday was the first day of auditions for the film and we started in Victoria Falls, and it was a good day.
We had good turnout with a mixture of people with experience and without experience but with great desire to get involved,” she said. “So, we were looking at supporting roles of a doctor and a nurse, and at Mosi-oa-Tunya we focused on the lead role who is a young boy who will be acting with Tongayi Chirisa together in every scene in the film.
So, we are going to be providing acting coaching with Sandifolo. “We are going to Hwange on Monday where we are partnering with a number of schools and a local theatre group there and then we are going to Binga on Wednesday,” said Rowlands.
She said the auditions were highly competitive as Victoria Falls youth showed zeal to venture into acting, an untapped market in the country’s tourism capital. Once auditions are completed, those who will make it will undergo acting coaching workshops.
Rowlands, an accomplished Hollywood screenwriter cum director wrote the screenplay and is going to be the director, while Harare-based filmmaker Njagu, who is famed for the Netflix film Cook Off, will be the producer.
Together with Chirisa, they teamed up to bring this story to life. Chirisa visited Victoria Falls a few months ago to scope the environment and meet with Mupfuti. The story is expected to put Victoria Falls, Matabeleland North and Zimbabwe on the spotlight, grow and improve the small film community in Zimbabwe to become an industry that is professional and viable.
Chirisa has featured in several top films including the comedy Mr Bones, Crusoe, Sleepy Hollow, Antebellum and the AMC horror Mayfair Witches and this will be the first time he is doing a local film since breaking into Hollywood. Some of the prospective actors were excited to be part of the possible cast. -@ncubeleon