Africa Film WebMeeting

Message from: Steve Smith (african-cinema-conference@XC.Org)
About: Flame: Director's statement

Thursday, March 21, 1996 3:32AM

Originally from: SteveSmith@XC.Org (Steve Smith)
Originally dated: Thursday, March 21, 1996 3:32AM

The following is a statement by director Ingrid Sinclair about her
newly-completed film Flame, which concerns women's role in the
Zimbabwean war for independence. Flame will be making its
South African premiere at the Cape Town International Film Festival
(May 31-June 23), right after Cannes.

[Soon I'll have a very negative statement from an editorial from a Zimbabwe
newspaper - as soon as I get it typed in, but a very interesting piece that
is quite a counterpoint to this. - Steve Smith]

I want to realize and remember what a fighting woman does, what that fight
does to her and how people look at her afterwards. I'm a fighting woman
myself. I grew up in a time when women were encouraged to be very
independent and I learnt that to change roles causes many conflicts,
both internal and external.

In 1975 thousands of men, women and school children secretly left
Rhodesia to join the Freedom Fighters at their bases in neighbouring
Mozambique and Zambia. For the women in the armies, the war gave them
undreamt of personal liberty. In training, action, political education,
they were treated just like the men - a far cry from their lives in the
village. At the same time, however, many were expected to be
"comfort women" for their seniors.

Women are tough. They survived that conflict after a fashion, but they
weren't prepared for what happened when they came back home.
Society was at first afraid and masked that fear by scorn. Later, they were

Fighting women are my heroes - I admire their strength, their knowledge,
their physical abilities, and yet they hide their past. I want to remember


FLAME is the most ambitious film project to come out of independent
Zimbabwe. This judgment relates to the scale of the production,
the attention to the script and the time taken to research and write it
(five years), the rigorous selection of actors and the complexity of
special effects required by the script.

FLAME was shot on location in Zimbabwe with an entirely Zimbabwean
cast and is the first feature film to be set during the country's liberation

war. It is also the first Zimbabwean feature film to be directed by a
woman, and one of the few world-wide to deal directly with the
topic of women in combat.

This feature film is a coproduction between Zimbabwe, Namibia and
France and has had significant assistance from the European
Development Fund and the French Foreign Ministry through Fond
Sud. It was also endorsed by the Southern African Development
Community's cultural sector. The financing of FLAME was a highly
complex venture involving investment from a total of ten countries.

Additionally, the Zimbabwean government, through the Ministries of
Information and Defence, provided crucial support by facilitating
locations and the supply of important props, vehicles and trained
personnel as extras.

FLAME is the result of unprecedented regional cooperation, not
only in terms of finance but also in terms of crew and postproduction.
Zimbabwe's most experienced technicians formed the bulk of the
crew which was further complemented by prominent Mozambican
Director of Photography Joao "Funcho" Costa and an
award-winning Tunisian sound engineer Faouzi Thabet
(SILENCE OF THE PALACES). Reinforcing the Black & White
Film Company's commitment to training, about 10 trainees were
taken on, two of them from Namibia and the balance from Zimbabwe.
The well-established French editor Elisabeth Moulinier joined
the team for postproduction, the final stages of which were carried
out in South Africa.

FLAME has become the first feature film from Zimbabwe to be accepted
for the International Cannes Film Festival in May in the prestigious
"Directors Fortnight category.

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