After making a smashing movie titled Cry Freedom as an assistant director, which featured internationally-acclaimed actor Denzel Washington, veteran actor, script writer and film director Stephen Chigorimbo is back on the big screen, this time with a “home-brewed” feature film titled Shaave.
By Abigail Matsikidze
Chigorimbo, who played the role of John Huni in the soap opera Studio 263, features in the new romantic thriller, which is set to hit the screens this festive season. The film also stars popular songstress Pauline Gundidza, Admire Maramba, Angelina Ngorima and Netsai Mavhunga.
Shaave is a romantic thriller about a woman who falls in love and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Chigorimbo plays the role of Mr Banda, a local businessman who runs a media company.
“Our film is a romantic thriller. It is a story based on the fact that the devil is not that ugly and scary monster we imagine and l assure you, the audiences will be thrilled by this film,” Chigorimbo told The Standard Style.
The film, whose shooting, started in 2011, will premiere on Christmas Day at Theatre in the Park in the Harare Gardens up until December 30.
Chigorimbo, now referred to as the father of the film industry in Zimbabwe, is an accomplished actor having been in the trenches since the late 1970s.
He has featured in movies like Forbidden Fruit, Odium, King Solomon’s Mines and Mandela.
When he is not on a stage or in front of the camera, he would be working behind the scenes as an executive producer, promoter or director.
“I have worked with many film companies around the world which includes Hollywood, France, UK, Germany, Egypt, South Korea, Australia, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa,” he said.
He described his career in the film industry as an inherited gift, having been raised in a family of artists. He said he grew up singing in the church choir, performing plays, drama and was involved in debate clubs.
Meanwhile, Chigorimbo said the film sector in Zimbabwe was dominated by a myriad of aspiring filmmakers with so many stories to tell, but who lacked monetary, technical and logistical support.
He said the industry has the potential to create employment and boost the tourism sector as well.
“If we create space for the film industry in this country, it will attract international film makers into the country.
Zimbabwe is well-equipped for film production with the likes of wildlife and natural features,” he said.
Film-making in Zimbabwe started during the colonial era when the Rhodesian government established the Colonial Film Unit at the beginning of the Second World War in 1939 as part of a propaganda initiative directed at colonies.
In the 1990s, Zimbabwe’s film production showed a great impact when the best-known films Neria and Flame produced by locals won international awards. However, South Africa and Nigeria seem to have taken over the film industry on the continent, thanks to the support they get from their governments and the corporate world.
“With a committed film commission in Zimbabwe, we would be able to pass history to generations. If we come up with productions like First Chimurenga, Mbuya Nehanda and more historical productions, we would be somewhere up there. Hollywood is currently working on a film related to the political shift that was prevailing in Zimbabwe last month,” Chigorimbo said.
He said film production was not only lacking funding, but filmmakers’ content was receiving low or no airplay since there is monopoly in broadcasting in the country.
Chigorimbo was born on April 6 1951. He studied insurance and worked as an insurance executive, but his career in the film industry started in 1974 when he featured in the film Whispering Death. He has also lectured at several film schools in Zimbabwe.