Zimbabwean film producers defy economic challenges

Zimbabwe International Film and Festival Trust (ZIFFT) director Elton Mjanana last week said there had been an increase in the number of local films submitted for this year's film festival despite the economic challenges bedevilling the country. By Tafadzwa Kachiko

Twenty-eight of the 68 films submitted were local productions, he said.

"This is so impressive since the figure is far beyond (the) 16 submitted last year. This has never happened, thus, showing the growth of the industry despite hardships," he said.

"I say thumbs up to local filmmakers for working for good. Through this festival you would showcase the local talent on the international."

The films included the much-awaited Escape, directed by London-based film maker Agnieszka Piotrowska and local producer, Joe Njagu.

ZIFFT executive director Nigel Munyati said the road to the 18th edition of the film fiesta had not been easy, but their funders and local film lovers have made it bearable.

"It has been difficult. It is because of the support we get from you that we have made it. We are so proud of this," he said.

"We have trained over 300 filmmakers, over 35 producers and directors. Some are major personalities in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Hollywood. They have used film to showcase our culture and have given significance to it," he said.

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe director Elvas Mare said the council was proud of the local film fraternity, but said they needed massive funding as they combined all forms of art.

"We are very proud of ZIFFT. They have been consistent in face of these challenges. Film combines all art forms therefore it requires much funding," he said.

Outreach screenings will be held in Mufakose, Dzivaresekwa, Epworth and Chitungwiza.

The festival will end on October 8.

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