ZIFFT initiatives good for industry

HARARE - After years of stunted growth, it is encouraging to note that Zimbabwe’s film industry is now looking very promising.

Elsewhere in this paper, we carry a story revealing plans by the Zimbabwe International Film Festival Trust (ZIFFT) to hold monthly mini-festivals at which Zimbabwean-made films will be showcased and interspersed with critical discussions and workshops on key issues affecting local film industry.

These monthly mini-festivals, if well-managed, will surely provide a good platform to show that Zimbabweans have the ability to produce movies that match the standards of those being made elsewhere in the world.

Zimbabwean movie-makers, who have often cited the absence of such a platform as a major hindrance to the sector’s development, should exploit this new initiative for their own good and that of our far-from-developed film industry.

In another initiative that could create positive spin-offs in Zimbabwe’s film industry, ZIFFT plans to set up mobile cinemas that will be taken to all major cities in the country.

The mobile cinemas will obviously help to build larger audiences of the movies being made by local film-makers.

All these positive developments in the local film sector are taking place following the successful holding of the 15th Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF) last month in Harare after a year’s absence.

The last edition of the festival graced by award-winning South African actor Vusi Kunene and world-famous Burkina Faso film director Idrissa Ouedraogo was described by many as the best festival ever.

The ZIFFT must be applauded for not only turning around the fortunes of the festival which had become moribund but for also coming up with projects that will eventually make the local film industry compete on the same footing with their more developed counterparts on the continent and beyond.

Given the discernible progress experienced in the local film sector under the watch of the ZIFFT, it is not surprising that the donor community has chipped in with much-needed funds being used to bankroll over four projects currently running.

More importantly, donors like HIVOS have provided the money used by ZIFFT to acquire a permanent office.
It is remarkable that ZIFFT has managed to secure funding despite the well-documented donor fatigue that has led to the collapse of many local non-governmental organisations.

Film-makers and Zimbabwean movie fans alike are obviously hoping that ZIFFT will continue to use the funds provided by their partners in an accountable way to attract even more financial and material assistance that will go a long way in taking Zimbabwe’s film industry to the next level.

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