Leonard Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
ZIMBABWE-born Hollywood actor Tongayi Arnold Chirisa, who was in Victoria Falls since last Thursday, is working on a film whose aim is to tell the Zimbabwean story.
The setting will be Victoria Falls, the cast will be from the resort city and the storyline will be local, thereby putting not only Victoria Falls on the world map, but Zimbabwe as a whole.
Chirisa, who has featured in several top films including the comedy Mr Bones and the AMC horror Mayfair Witches, said this will be the first time he is doing a local film since breaking into Hollywood.
The actor said the film is based on the life story of Victoria Falls boxing promoter and founder of Victoria Falls Boxing Academy, Tobias Mupfuti. The film will chronicle the sportsman’s life experiences with the goal of giving hope, love and faith to disadvantaged youths.
Chirisa arrived in Victora Falls last Thursday and checked in at the luxurious Mbano Manor Hotel before visiting various spots in the city.
He did a gorge walk as well as helicopter flight among other activities.
He is accompanied by filmmaker Joe Njagu, who is famed for the Netflix film Cook Off, and is the producer of the upcoming Victoria Falls film.
The duo departed from Victoria Falls to Harare yesterday afternoon.
In an interview, Chirisa said his visit was both work and leisure.
“I am here with script writer and director Jessy Rollins and Joe Njagu, who is a film creator from Harare, and we are here on a special assignment trying to see what we can do in terms of brining an exciting story based on an incredible individual here by the name of Tobias who owns the boxing academy.
“We are trying to tell his story that will probably bring hope and joy to the world around and hopefully bring the film world to Victoria Falls,” said the Harare-bred actor.
He said in film, people are always encouraged to tell their own stories.
He said the project will be wholly local, but with collaboration from Hollywood for perfection.
Chirisa said Victoria Falls is a beautiful natural wonder with wildlife and the film will capture this intrinsic part of beauty as no movie can be shown in the destination without showing the picture of Victoria Falls.
“This one is about hope, resilience finding faith, love and forgiveness even through the most adverse experiences he (Mupfuti) went through. We want to tell the Zimbabwe story from our point of view and it will be one of many inspirational stories to tell.
“We are trying to champion Zimbabwe film and bring Zimbabweans to the forefront. We have been in the backyard for a long time and it’s time for the world to hear our stories. It will be a collaborative effort with internationals to come in and help locals,” added Chirisa.
He said the visit was a preproduction assignment to scout for venues and potential cast and crew and visiting places where Mupfuti life events took place.
Mupfuti said the idea of a film came up when he met England-based Rollins in Victoria Falls during a boxing tournament.
“We started chatting and she told me she was a scrip writer and producer and I shared my story. When she went back to London she hooked up with Tongai and he is here today to add value to our story. The whole story is about encouraging disadvantaged kids who are facing hardships and also to add value to each other as a community.
“We want to use boxing to groom kids and take them out of the streets to give them shelter and healthy life skills, so we are trying to do this film so people learn something,” said Mupfuti.— @ncubeleon