Saturday, 2 February 2013
It is a little known fact that I started my professional writing career as a screenwriter back in Zimbabwe. I did my training first at Vision Valley Film, Video & Television Institute, which was going to be the country's major film school but came crashing down as soon as it launched. I also did a Screenwriter's Course at Edgar Langeveldt's Nexus Talent Agency, where the tutor was Karl Dorn of the And To My Nephew Moses fame. Then I did a couple of specialized courses: Writing Comedy for Television & Radio with the African Script Development Fund and Writing for Short Film with the Zimbabwe International Film Festival. A few months after this last course, I was in the UK.
I have emerged as a novelist and short-story writer, but screenplays are still my specialty. I have written for a few international clients, the first of these being a Nigerian film maker who was going to make a movie about a couple struggling to conceive. Since I launched Oriit Films Ltd, I tend to not do spec work. I charge industry rates for my services, and have little patience with those who entertain the daft notion that just because they have never heard of me, they can get me to work for free or "deferred payment", which is always the same thing anyway.
Last month, an old friend, Angeline Dimingo, got in touch with me and suggested adapting my short story, Chishamiso for the screen. So, I wrote the script. Dimingo has bagged the delicious Dalma Chiwereva (Lobola) to play Chishamiso and Melgin Tafirenyika (I Will Marry Myself)as Declan. Production will be by Dimingo's Tariro Productions in Zimbabwe. Oriit Films Ltd, my company will take over for the international distribution and sales aspect.
As a Zimbabwean writer living in the UK, I am very excited about this project. Artistes such as Chiwereva and Tafirenyika were unknown when I was still in that country, and so to have them giving screen life to my work offers me the opportunity to continue to remain on Zimbabwe's cultural landscape even if I am not geographically there. And of course the fact that I will seek to have the short movie shown to audiences in England and the west will elevate these two actors' profiles internationally.
My best wishes to everyone who is taking part.