“Erotic” Zim film to shun conservative countries

HARARE - The directors of the local film Escape which was banned at the ongoing Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) over its erotic scenes, say they will now shun festivals in “conservative countries.”

Escape, the first Zimbabwean film to premiere at ZIFF in the last six years, was banned by the Zanzibari censors a few minutes before screening over an erotic scene involving actress-cum-musician Selmor Mtukudzi and Jose Marques.

Agnieszka Piotrowska, who co-directed the controversial film with Joe Njagu, took the movie to ZIFF.

“I think this (the banning) was a most unfortunate and bizarre event. It's a very competitive festival so it is good to have been invited. It's the first time in six years that a Zimbabwean film has been selected.

“We will go to other festivals of course but perhaps not in the Muslim world. Already people have invited us to several events,” Piotrowska told the Daily News from Zanzibar.

The British filmmaker believes they got the raw end of the stick from ZIFF organisers.

“The issue is that a festival has a responsibility to a filmmaker too. It’s not good when a basic trust is broken between a festival and a filmmaker,” she said, adding that ZIFF should have advised them in advance about the censorship issues.

“I think we should have been told clearly there are issues with censorship before arriving here.”

Escape, which recently received a Gold Award for its screenplay at the Neo Noir festival in Los Angeles in the Unites States of America, is about a mixed race man brought up in London finds out that his father was Zimbabwean. The man goes to Zimbabwe where he gets entangled with two women.

The main players in the high-powered Escape cast included Selmor Mtukudzi, Nothando Nobengula, Jose Marques, Charmaine Mujeri, Eddie Sandifolo, Munya Chidzonga and Harare International Festival of Arts general manager Maria Wilson.

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