Zim film star shines in UK

HARARE - Award-winning actress and director Demetria Karonga says her long stay in the United Kingdom (UK) has ingrained in her a culture of professionalism in arts practice.

Karonga has been involved in several award-winning films during the 16 years she has been based in the European country.

Towards the end of last year she produced an award-winning film titled The In-Laws which zooms in on how interracial marriages in the UK have seen African culture and beliefs take a serious battering.

The best film won the Amasiko Heritage South Africa and was also the top film at the Zimbabwe Arts and Music Awards Zimma Awards UK.

“Working in the United Kingdom for the past 16 years where I have been exposed to unlimited resources has made me achieve a lot,” said Karonga.

“There is a culture of professionalism here (UK) that has helped me produce top films. There are solid structures and systems that support the film industry here.”

Karonga is convinced that the Zimbabwean film industry can match world’s best if the necessary resources are availed.

“There is a lot of talent in Zimbabwe. Many people are making films which the public may never get to hear of.

“There is need for a structure in the Zimbabwean film industry which enables people to get opportunities for training as script writers, directors or producers.

“Talent is there in Zimbabwe but it is not fully utilised due to lack of resources. I want to believe sponsors are there but they wouldn’t want to take the risk. They would rather wait and watch us develop first but development is not possible without the resources.

“I just hope the government coming into place after the forthcoming elections will seriously consider the arts as a key industry and make resources available,” said the award-winning director.

Karonga enjoys making films which tackle serious social issues as well as telling the Zimbabwean story.

“One of my favourite productions was Thorns which reflects on the lifestyle change that happens when people start living abroad.

“Some people end up getting married to obtain residence permits and it is not surprising that a number of such marriages fall apart,” said Karonga who is a trained nurse.

The multi-talented artiste, however, has to contend with balancing time between film production, nursing and raising her young family.

“It is not easy to juggle between doing a full time job and producing films at the same time. It is very tiring but if you have passion nothing is impossible.

“As a Zimbabwean filmmaker in the Diaspora I feel I have a responsibility to export and exhibit our culture to future generations of Zimbabwean children especially those born in the UK.

“It’s a labour of love really. No matter how much pressure I have from my day job my scripts always cry loud for attention and I attend to them. I’m blessed to have a family which understands my passion.

Karonga also relishes collaborating with other Zimbabwean filmmakers.

“I am working with Nakai Tsuro on Cultured which is screened every Thursday and Sarturday on ZBCTV now and will soon be showing on Klear TV Sky 232 UK.

“I have worked with Rufaro Kaseke on a two short films and was heavily involved in putting together the London premiere for The Gentleman directed by Joe Njagu,” she said.

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