Casting agent, Bekezela Dube, who is based in South Africa, has said there is a lot of acting talent lying idle in the country as the local film industry is not performing well due to lack of funding and the needed platforms where the content can be shown.
In an interview from her base in South Africa, Dube who runs the fast-rising Becky Casting Agency, where she scouts for actors, said all that is needed is for at least one telenovela to be well funded then it will sell itself from there, thereby putting the country’s film industry on the map.
“Zimbabweans are very creative when it comes to acting. We just need funds to revive the film industry. For example, if funding can be availed for one blockbuster telenovela on our main television station, it’ll sell itself if it’s good enough,” said Dube who is popularly known as Becky.
The personality who hails from Matobo’s Dula Village is feeding a lot of films and telenovelas that are being produced in South Africa with untapped acting talent, something she hopes to see happening in Zimbabwe. So far, she has provided cast for numerous Mzansi Magic and SABC productions that include Muvhango, UBettina Wethu and The Station.
She said other than the lack of funding, Zimbabwe needs more platforms where content can be shown adding that there is need to work on improving the viability and effectiveness of the national broadcaster, ZBC.
Becky has been making news of late due to her involvement with local social media comedian, Madam Boss (real name Tarisai Cleopatra Chikocho-Munetsiwa) whom she is promoting in South Africa. Through her casting agency, Becky has so far, cast Madam Boss for two productions in the neighbouring country.
Quizzed about how she started working with Madam Boss, Becky said she saw her potential through her skits on social media.
“I saw her Netflix skit circulating on social media and researched about her. I realised that she had great talent which was only limited to Facebook and as a talent scouter, manager and casting director, I felt obliged to reach out to her especially because she was Zimbabwean.
“I sent her an email and message on Instagram, which she responded to fast. That’s when I introduced her to television acting,” said.
She said working with Madam Boss has been pleasant as she is acing her roles and relating well with those she is working with.
“So far, she’s doing very well. She’s amazing and humble. On set, she’s very professional and friendly which makes her more likable. Most people with such a huge following are very fussy and full of themselves, but Madam Boss is a true reflection of a Zimbabwean woman, very humble and respectful.”
Other than Madam Boss, Becky’s casting agency has also worked with musician and actor, Madlela Skhobokhobo whose character is very similar to Madam Boss’ as he is also very humble. Because of this involvement with locals, Becky said she has been receiving a lot of inquiries from actors back home who also want such opportunities.
Becky said her doors are open as her company that is registered in South Africa, is open to working with talent from across the world. To join the agency, Becky said one will be expected to pay a membership fee valid for one year.
Detailing how the agency works, she said: “Bekezela Dube is a casting director, meaning that I’m responsible, in most cases, for getting cast for various projects through auditioning actors and actresses. This however does not mean that I decide who to be cast for roles, but rather can only suggest to my superiors.
“Our first priority is given to South Africans in most cases because most soapies require South Africans because of language. However, we do a lot of adverts (commercials) for the entire world, this then means we cast worldwide, all races, ages and gender without discrimination.”
She made it clear that being open to all does not mean that they register everyone who dreams to act as they consider and represent talent only.
“We offer people with acting degrees free registration because they spent money and years learning how to act. It’s also easy for such individuals to get jobs when sent for auditions.
“For the rest, to register with Becky casting, you have to pay a fee for a one-year membership. This fee, however, doesn’t buy you an acting role, but rather adds you to our database which has over 5 000 people so that we can share with you our briefs for various projects.”
Other than South African productions, Becky said they also provide cast for Netflix feature films which require actors and actresses from all over the world.