Children Under Stress:
Media for Development Trust's New Feature Film
Media for Development Trust's latest feature film, as yet unnamed, tells the
story of Tamari and her brother Itai, whose world crumbles when their
both die tragically from AIDS. The two teenagers and their younger brother
sister - scared, vulnerable, alone - are tossed into a strange world of
responsibility. For the children this is a story of fear and survival. For
people around them it must become a question of compassion. But how can you
transform their complacency into action? Only the collective will of the
adults, spurred by the tenacity of the children, can bridge the gulf of
their two worlds.
By the turn of the century there will be close on a million children in
Zimbabwe orphaned by AIDS, a horrifying statistic that will be repeated
throughout the continent. MFD's latest film was designed by producers Jonny
Persey, John Riber and Ben Zulu, to empower communities to care effectively
for these children. The half a million US dollar budget was committed by the
British Overseas Development Administration, PLAN International,
and various other interested organisations.
Based on a story by award winning novelist Shimmer Chinodya and directed by
leading writer and director, Tsitsi Dangarembga, the film was shot between
October and December 1995 on location in Zimbabwe. Tsitsi Dangarembga
from five years at the Berlin Film Academy to direct her first feature film,
so becoming the first black woman to do so in Zimbabwe. The film was
shot by camera-man Patrick Lindsell and is being edited by Louise Riber.
Meanwhile Tamari is played by the talented Nomsa Mlambo, making her screen
debut, while veteran actors Walter Muparutsa, Simon Shumba, and Elijah
Madzikatire play supporting roles. The film also stars Miss Zimbabwe 1994,
Angeline Musasiwa and pop singer, Leonard Zhakata. Another less celebrated
but equally well known group of actors comprise Harare street kids,
work-shopped especially for the film.
During April and May a rough cut will be pre-tested with audiences
Africa and on the basis of the reception then, a fine cut will be edited in
time for release in September in Zimbabwe. A pan-African release is
planned for December.