Film-makers brawl over Nama

HARARE - The choice of the ZBC-TV series Muzita Rababa as the winner of the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) Outstanding Screen Production (full length film) category has triggered an ugly spat between Nama judge Ben Mahaka and Wenera director Eddie Ndhlovu.

Muzita Rababa was declared the winner in a category that also featured Escape co-directed by Joe Njagu and Agnieszka Piotrowska as well as Mwanasikana2 directed by Nakai Tsuro.

While Tsuro conceded defeat, Njagu was not so gracious. The Escape co-director questioned why Muzita Rababa had won in Facebook post that he later deleted, prompting Mahaka to respond on his Facebook page.

The former Studio 263 actor claimed that the producers of the winning film - Mirazvo Productions- had submitted Muzita Rababa for Nama as a feature film.

“So there's a huge discussion going on about Muzita rababa, the 65-minute feature film that won Outstanding Full Length Film because people who have watched the TV series that it spawned, but haven't watched the film that was submitted to Nama feel that it should be defined as a TV series.

“Maybe because if Muzita Rababa hadn't been in that category, other films would have won. … but you know when axes start to grind our culture is to jump into the fray no matter how uninformed we are about the underlying facts. So lots of people are busy denigrating NAMA without watching the competing films…. Let's watch the films and have an informed discussion,” said Mahaka.

Njagu did not respond leaving Wenera director Ndhlovu to bat in his corner.

“Nama sucks period. Who the judges? Aren't they filmmakers? ZIFF & Nama are the same but one thing you all should know is that people like myself, Joe Njagu we have been fighting the revolution of independent filmmaking.

“I wasn't surprised when Escape didn't win. I watched all films so at the end of the day it tells me how the judges think. This is not going to stop us to produce game changing productions because personally unlike most of you i don't make films for filmmakers but for the audience,” the Wenera director wrote.

In response Mahaka questioned why Njagu and Ndhlovu had not raised their objections before winner had been announced.

“The adjudication committee shouldn't judge Eddie Ndhlovu because he wants to judge himself? Filmmakers should have raised these issues publicly before submitting themselves to a process and then only crying foul when they have lost.

“I have been where you are Eddie Ndhlovu, riding high on soap opera recognition and everyone I met telling me how awesome I was. It's an echo chamber that can lead to myopia. You are doing great work but there's still room for growth. We are all continuously growing,” said the ex-Studio 263 actor.

The emotional debate then sucked in another film maker called Anopa Makaka asked Ndhlovu to identify some “game-changing” films that have been made in Zimbabwe in recent years.

“My film Sores of Emmanuel was the first locally-produced independent film to open in local cinemas and went to beat Avatar on the local cinemas. Sores of Emmanuel opened doors to Indies that include Lobola, The Gentleman, Gringo ..,” said the Wenera director.

But Makaka immediately derided the quality of Sores of Emmanuel.

“I watched Sores of Emmanuel and I can assure you I still haven’t recovered from the trauma. The late Walter Muparutsa had actually warned me not to watch it for the poop that it was. But then again that was just his opinion and now my opinion,” he said, prompting Ndhlovu to hit back by ridiculing Makaka’s 2006 film titled “Evil in Our Midst.”

“I have watched your (Makaka’s) film Evil in something hahaha nxa gara pasi iwe hausi filmmaker iwe hahahha.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.