Award-winning music video director Vusa “Blaqs” Hlatshwayo says he wants to venture into film, but cannot pursue that if he doesn’t get a budget of not less than $500 000.
“The day I will do a fully-fledged film is when I get a budget of not less than $500 000. anything less than that I am not doing it,” Blaqs told The Standard Style in an exclusive interview in Bulawayo recently.
By Sindiso Dube
“I am not saying someone should give me that money, but I am building myself to that stage where I can attract such an investment or I can pay for myself.
“I have done many three to four-minute-long videos costing more than $7 000, so what more should I put together for a film project? I have to put up a good budget, I don’t want to compromise my quality. I have to set better standards than the ones I have done so far. I am going to get into film when the time is right because at the end it’s not about personal gains, but setting a higher standard.”
Blaqs urged local film makers to invest more effort and resources to do something memorable.
“Look at Neria and Yellow Card, these local films are still the biggest film productions we have known in Zimbabwe even after decades. Effort and resources were put into them, so if you want to shoot something memorable you need to invest,” he said.
“With resources you will have no limitations, film is a credible industry which needs money to be put in for good results and returns.”
Blaqs said he would be waiting for everyone to fail in the local film industry so that he comes in and shines.
“I am going to produce and direct the best film to come out of Zimbabwe soon. I am relying on these people [film makers] to lay the ground work to show the audience what they can do. I will come and better their efforts, I will show the audience that I am the best film maker, the film is already written, all that’s left is the budget — it’s about half of my life and half fiction,” he said.
However, Blaqs revealed that he was getting into acting.
“I will be featuring in a project directed by Joe Njangu. This will be the first time working under another director and I am excited about working with Joe,” he said.
“I called Njangu sometime and asked if he had new projects that would need actors and he quickly asked why it had taken me so long to get into acting.”
Meanwhile, when the National Arts Merit Awards [Nama] released the list of nominees in February, everyone expected to see the splendid videos that were directed by Blaqs to be among the outstanding videos contenders, but alas Nama had other thoughts.
The decision by Nama not to nominate Blaqs among outstanding videos contenders led to a public outcry. Blaqs is known for videos of songs such as Bhachura, Chekeche, Whatchu Say and Hey Wena.
“The videos I had with Ammarra Brown dominated the charts throughout the year, but we were left out. It goes down to my secret to success is my secret to my failure with the awards people. I am an outspoken artiste; I speak my mind out with no fear and no filters,” he said.
“There is a guy [name withheld] who approached me and told me that it would be difficult for you to enter and win the Namas because you offended one of the top Nama officials. It’s like this official who is an artiste as well came to me for a personal review of his song and I told him straight that his song was trash yet he was calling it a hit. I told him to talk to a certain producer to give him a hit song than this.”
However, Blaqs said he doesn’t work for someone to give him a pat on the back with an award.
“Awards are a sign of insecurity. Why should you wait for someone to tell you that you have done a good job? In Zimbabwe awards are always controversial, they are not about facts, but opinions. That’s why I don’t take them seriously,” he said.