AFTER last featuring in television soapies “Estate Blues” and “Studio 263” back in the early 2000s, veteran actor Stephen Chigorimbo vanished from the scene.
Last week, The Sunday Mail Society caught up with the actor, producer and director, who was back in Zimbabwe on personal business before returning to work in South Africa.
“I am based in Zimbabwe but working in South Africa. I spend a month either side, or sometimes longer, depending on prevailing workload. This has been my situation over the last six years,” said Chigorimbo.
“The reason is that South Africa has had film funds in place for years. The existing work permit situation allows that. The television stations based in South Africa have sizeable budgets comparatively. The fact that my children live and go to school in South Africa, and more so my grandchildren, is an added incentive.”
He said while home was best, his move down south had allowed him to finish several projects which he had for years struggled to complete in Zimbabwe.
“However, let me hasten to say that the digitisation move by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has created a new dispensation for Zimbabwe film-making. Hats off to the authorities overseeing it,” he added.
Speaking on the flourishing South African film industry, Chigorimbo said: “The reality is that the South African film industry is a domain of white people.
However, the funding schemes put in place by the government through Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Arts, Industrial Development Corporation South Africa, Lotto Fund, and Film Development Commission have empowered many film practitioners in Mzansi, especially at provincial level.
“Billions of rands are pumped into this sector hence there is a lot of activity with a number of new shows being produced, creating jobs for the actors and filmmakers, and this has resulted in more channels being created to accommodate the content.”
A number of Chigorimbo’s film projects are on the verge of release.
“Among the projects I have been working on are ‘Shaave’, a feature film we shot in Zimbabwe in 2011 and we only finished post-production now. We are now working on the distribution model, once that is sorted we plan to do a two-week screening at Theatre in the Park, more details will be availed in the near future.
“The other project we are working on is in post-production stage. It’s a television series called ‘Zimbabwe Lasting Memories’. It is told through the eyes of archives, gallery and museums. I am also working on an Olley Maruma film feature titled ‘The Big Time’, which is also in post-production stage.
“There are many others, which are still being developed such as ‘Freestate’, ‘Mzilagazi’, and a drama series titled ‘Shawasha Hills’ starting in October,” he revealed.
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