Africa Film WebMeeting

Message from: owner-african-cinema-conference@XC.Org (
About: African film industry....News

Wed, 16 Oct 1996 13:54:46 -0400

Originally from: <owner-african-cinema-conference@XC.Org>
Originally dated: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 13:54:46 -0400

From: owner-zimnet
Subject: African film industry....News
Date: Tuesday, 08 October, 1996 12:20PM


Adapted from Mail and Guardian,Vol 12, N0 40.
Peace unto yee all and good debating


African film reels into view

.....Host nation, Zimbabwe scooped six awards-between Flame, the tale
of women volunteers during Chimurenga and their most recent product,
Everyone's Child, about two children orphaned by AIDS. Flame picked
the best director (Ingrid Sinclair), best actress (Marian Kanonga) and
the OAU prize-recognising a film with a theme that is consistently
African. Everyone's Child won for its script (Tsitsi Dangarembga),
cinematography (Patrick Lindsell) and music (a compilation of popular
of popular Zimbabwean hits). The best film award however went to South
Africa's Cry the Beloved Country (the best documentary director went
to South African Marc Radomsky for Ghetto Flowers), with Cry's Vusi
Kunene taking the best actor award.

Flame was critisized for being too politically correct. Everyone's
Child and another new Zim feature, I am the Future, also received flak
for being boringly issue based.

.....Zimbabwe, for example, had a recent features boom-all because of
donor funding...

To quote Chris Kabwato of Media for Development Trust: "We cannot build
commercial cinema because of the nature of the themes prescribed by
donors who are quite different from our dreams...We all know how the
Zimbabwean film marker has become an overnight expert in whatever issue
donors place in vogue. Last year it was gender, this year its
environment, next year it could be vegetarianism and the next violence
to domestic animals...."

The fact is most African film makers rely on charities to make their
own movies. And the attraction of an issue-based story is that makes
for easy distribution through theatres and more importantly, on video
and into universities and community centres.

Everyone's Child was produced by Media for Development Trust as part
of the Children Under Stress project. It began as community based
training package aimed at empowering communities to care for children
living in hardships......

An alternative source of finance is to be found in co-production......
Flame benefited from this scheme..... Everyone seemed to agree that
lack of finance was the major drawback for African players in the

Everyone except South African producer Jeremy Nathan: "Money is not
the problem because it is there. The stories are the problem. We have
to produce interesting stories that attract the viewers."

..Zimbabwe government is presently preparing a policy document to help
boost the local industry. ....Stephen Chipfunsiye warned delegates:
"When we talk about the film sector, it's a political issue and
government will need to know what the political agenda of the film

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