THE local film industry has great potential to significantly contribute to the country’s gross domestic product, but has been underfunded and incapacitated for decades.
Despite the challenges, Zimbabwean film producers have continued to do wonders both on the local and international stages.
In the latest development, two Zimbabwean film producers, Tapiwa Chipfupa and Kudakwashe Maradzika who is based in South Africa, are set to rub shoulders with international icons after being selected for the forthcoming Creative Producer Indaba (CPI).
Chipfupa is known for The Bag on My Back (2013), Taste of Rain (2012) and Ruvimbo’s Wedding (2017).
The duo will join 13 other film producers from across the globe for the third edition of the esteemed film industry professional development programme.
The indaba, conceived by Realness Institute under the leadership of South Africa-based (Cape Town) programme director Elias Ribeiro, has formed strategic alliances with noteworthy industry players such as EAVE, International Film Festival Rotterdam’s IFFR Pro and Atlas Workshops.
The programme is designed for 15 film producers, looking to hone their leadership and entrepreneurial abilities and build their creative skills.
Participants include producers from Africa with and without projects, producers from outside Africa with an interest in co-producing with Africa, African film professionals from other disciplines such as distribution, international sales, funding bodies, institutions, broadcasters and development executives with a stake in the African marketplace.
The indaba comprises plenary sessions and group work, unpacking successful case studies and having access to individual meetings with mentors and guest experts.
The focus will be on project development and planning, financing, legal, public relations and marketing, advocacy and lobbying, organisational development, network management and leadership.
Realness Institute has collaborated with the Brazilian foundation Projeto Paradiso to facilitate the participation of Brazilian producers with interests in producing African projects.
This year’s edition of the indaba will begin with an open assembly on November 6, after which the cohort will attend the famous Atlas Workshops, the dynamic industry programme of the Marrakech International Film Festival from November 25 to December 1 in Morocco where it will focus on legal and financial aspects of its work, as well as career development.
Later, they will attend the International Film Festival Rotterdam from January 25 to February 2, 2024 in Netherlands, where the programme will focus on marketing, sales and story development.
The indaba will culminate in a programme of online sessions from April 8 to 12 in 2024.
The selected African producers actively seeking international collaborators and financial backing to bring their creations to life are: Maradzika and Chipfupa, Misha Maseka (Zambia), Stefan Supplice (Morocco), Adja Mariam Soro (Côte d’Ivoire), Chloé Ortolé (Senegal), Dantagos Jimmy-Melani (Namibia), Godisamang Khunou and Nomusa Nkabinde (both from South Africa) as well as Dhia Jerbi (Tunisia).
Among the international producers are Anouk Shad (Austria), Marie Ka and Sherien Barsoum (Canada), Rhea Plangg (Switzerland) and Yolanda Barroso (Brazil), who join the CPI with an interest in investing and engaging with African film projects.
The filmmakers will be mentored by an ensemble of industry experts who include group leaders Mehret Mandefro and Diana Elbaum, story consultant and creative producer 2022 alumnus Tracey Lee Rainers.
As part of the programme the cohort will also be able to engage seasoned and highly experienced industry experts such as Femi Odugbemi, Sata Cissokho, Constanza Arena and Dayo Ogunyemi, and IFFR festival director Vanja Kaludjercic who will share their skills, insights and guidance.
“We are thrilled to welcome new collaborators on board, including the Canadian Film Fund, the Austrian Film Fund, Training Institute Focal, Jeune Création Francophone fund and the NFVF. Their support is a tremendous boost for the future sustainability of this vital programme,” says Ribeiro, co-founder and executive director at Realness Institute.
“The CPI offers unique opportunities to 10 African producers, with and without projects, as well as five international producers to bolster their leadership and entrepreneurial capabilities, refine their productive skills, and foster professional networks that span across both Africa and the international stage.”
Director of development and partnership at the Realness Institute Mandefro reiterated that training and connecting producers who can skilfully develop African stories and finance them for both the local and global markets was a critical intervention.
“EAVE is proud to partner again and contribute with our methodology for the third edition of indaba with an incredibly strong cohort of African and international producers who will enhance their entrepreneurial and producing skills and become part of a thriving professional support network through their participation,” EAVE chief executive officer Kristina Trapp said.
IFFR festival director Vanja Kaldudjercic is delighted that they can continue to develop the skills and creativity of producers.
“The indaba is a powerful example of the importance of lasting bonds in our industry, both between the exciting talent on the programme and our partners at Realness, EAVE, the Atlas Workshops and everyone else who makes this programme possible,” Kaldudjercic said.
The head of Atlas Workshops at Marrakech IFF, Hédi Zardi pointed out that their collaboration with the indaba was very inspiring as it actively participates in the dynamics that they create within the Atlas Workshops.
“The indaba helps us anchor our support for the African producers of tomorrow. Creativity can only rhyme with diversity,” Zardi said.