Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
AWARD-winning contemporary film, Cook Off, which made its debut appearance on Netflix last month, will be screening for the first time on ZBCtv next month, giving locals a rare opportunity to watch the movie.
The 2017 comedy film became sought after locally after it made its way onto the world’s leading Internet entertainment service, Netflix.
The film is a tale of a single mother, Anesu (played by Tendaishe Chitima) who is entered into a reality cooking show by her son. It gives a refreshing view of contemporary life in Harare told through the lens of a classic romantic comedy.
Produced by Joe Njagu, written and directed by Tomas Brickhill, the film which was shown at various international festivals, features some of Zimbabwe’s fine actors and artistes, among them rapper Tehn Diamond, veteran actors Jesesi Mungoshi and Chirikure Chirikure, Eddie Sandifolo and media personality Zihlo Ndhlovu.
Local movie lovers who could not watch the film on Netflix, iTunes Store, Amazon Prime Video and Google Play will now have the rare opportunity to watch it for free on August 11 and 14 on ZBC.
Njagu said the Cook Off team signed a deal for the two slots through Area 46 Productions and Joseph Bunga, the creator of the popular Battle of the Chefs show which inspired the film.
As part of the deal, ZBCtv will re-broadcast Seasons Two and Three of The Battle of Chefs as a build-up to the Cook Off screening.
“We’re so excited to bring Cook Off back home as the romantic comedy will have its television premiere on ZBC. The Nama award-winning film will be broadcast on TV for the first time on August 11 and repeated on August 14 in prime time slots on both days,” said Njagu in a statement.
“We know that many people in the country don’t have access to international streaming platforms and in some cases, the internet hence our decision to take it to ZBC as we really wanted to make sure that everyone watches our home grown film.”
Cook Off made its international premiere at the prestigious Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR) in 2018 and was screened at about 15 film festivals worldwide. It won several awards including Best Film and Best Actress at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival and Nama.
A number of local corporates including Tanganda Tea Company, ZimGold, Mr Sauce, Mama’s and FarmGold Brands, Go Gas and Lake Harvest are sponsoring the film’s TV broadcast.
Bunga said: “We thank our colleagues in the private sector for coming on board to help make this screening possible. We believe that when we work together, we can really start to create world-class content – there is a way forward for Zimbabwean productions.”
He said the warm, family-friendly film shows daily life in Zimbabwe’s capital, following the life of Anesu, a down-on-her-luck single mother from a Harare township who qualifies for the Battle of the Chefs TV cooking show but then finds herself battling against professional chefs.
Debutant actor Tendaishe ‘Tendie’ Chitima plays the leading role as Anesu. Hip-Hop artist Tehn, real name Tendai Ryan Nguni stars as fellow contestant Prince while Neria acting legend Jesesi Mungoshi is Anesu’s grandmother. Other actors are Eddie Sandifolo, Kudzai Sevenzo, Charmaine Mujeri, Michael Kudakwashe, Kevin Hanssen, Charlene Mangweni and poet Chirikure Chirikure.
Making cameo appearances are Shingai Shonhiwa, Sylent Nqo, Karen Paida, Memory Buzuzu, Sharon Magi Chideu from Bustop TV, Anne Nhira and The Battle of the Chefs host Zihlo.
UK based Zimbabwean singer/producer Ryan Koriya did the film’s score while the soundtrack features Ammara Brown, Tehn, Bulawayo’s Djembe Monks, Amy and the Calamites, Chikwata 263, Prayersoul and UK-based Zimbabwean metal band Kamikaze Test Pilots.