Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
BULAWAYO filmmakers have called for more masterclasses by MultiChoice Zimbabwe saying they help them understand and refine their skills.
Last Thursday and Friday, there was a masterclass by the MultiChoice Talent Factory for producers, directors and industry professionals responsible for extras and senior actors at a city hotel.
Conducting the masterclass was South Africa-based renowned television director Denny Miller who has worked on hit TV shows, The Herd, Isibaya, Backstage, Umlilo and Saints & Sinners among others. Another facilitator was Berry Lwando, MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy director for the Southern Africa region.
In attendance were the likes of Cont Mhlanga, Precious Makhulumo, Sizwakele Ndlovu, Admire Kudita, Patience Phiri, Raisedon Baya, Priscilla Sithole, Madlela Skhobokobo, Trey Ncube and Rasquesity Keaitse.
At the masterclass, the filmmakers were taught about documentary film-making, lighting, sound, directing, multi-camera work, production management and the business of film among other topics.
Commenting after the masterclass, the film practitioners were all in unison that more of these masterclasses were needed to keep them abreast with the latest trends in the industry in order for them to create content that can be shown on DStv platforms.
Giving feedback to the MultiChoice crew on the last day of the masterclass, Cont Mhlanga said: “These masterclasses are very important and what’s needed is for more of them to be done in the future and I think with this one you are on the right path.
“This masterclass makes it easy for people to understand that they don’t wake up and just write a script, but there’s a process which they need to adhere to.”
Trey Ncube, who produced and directed the Arthur C Evans Show that aired on DStv’s Zambezi Magic three years ago, said a once off masterclass would not help and encouraged MultiChoice to consider having more.
“This is a good start from MultiChoice, but I don’t think it’s enough. If they really want to grow the industry and raise the quality of productions, they need to be more consistent with this masterclass.
“I feel this is one of the things they need to articulate to us so that we can buy into the project and be able to grow with them and produce content that can be good enough to be shown on their platforms,” Ncube said.
Priscilla Sithole, a filmmaker who runs Ibhayisikopo Film Project, said: “The masterclass was good for us. We learnt a lot and networked and we hope with the networks, we can grow together.
“As a filmmaker, you have to be developing your craft every day. Even if you know most of the stuff, but you learn new things and new technologies like we did here.”
Rasquesity Keaitse, a local music video producer and photographer, said he learnt that quality supersedes quantity.
“The problem that we have in Zimbabwe is the standards of film and television production. So, these masterclasses which bring people like Denny who’s worked on huge productions in South Africa help us to know the technical requirements that are needed.
“That’s why you see that there are few Zimbabwean productions on the DStv platforms because they fail at quality control. Sometimes we think that it’s about having a quality camera or cameras, but it’s about quality control, something I learnt at the masterclass.”
Raisedon Baya suggested that the next masterclass be more trade specific.
“Although it was good as the information we got was very rich, I feel that next time, they should segment them (masterclasses). Here, they lumped everyone together, those who have gone to filmmaking school and those that are self-taught.
“Also, they should have one for technical, acting, directing and casting and so on,” said Baya.
Responding to the filmmakers’ concerns, Lwando said they will seriously consider having more masterclasses on specific topics in order to assist the filmmakers.
He also urged them to take their productions seriously if they are to be considered on channels such as Zambezi Magic.
“When producing your films, you mustn’t just produce something that’ll be good for Bulawayo. You must come up with a production that’ll be relevant to other markets like Zambia and Malawi (Zambezi Magic markets).”