Trust Khosa, Assistant News Editor
VETERAN actor, producer and director Stephen Chigorimbo reckons it’s high time the supreme arts regulatory chiefs with the blessing of Government set up a film commission.
Chigombo, who turns 70 next year in April, says the film industry has long been neglected with no action being done to formalise the sector.
In an interview with H-Metro on the status quo of their sector, Chigorimbo who starred and directed big productions both locally and beyond our borders, said they had potential to contribute to national development.
“Just like other sectors such as agriculture where we have Command Agriculture, Agribank which is specifically meant to help the (agricultural) sector, we also need the Zimbabwe Film Commission to look into our affairs.
“Over the years, we have had other commissions like the Forestry Commission, Cold Storage Commission, Electricity Supply Commission and why not have a (Zimbabwe) Film Commission where the industry will be regulated and formalise the sector,” he said.
“We now want Government to assist us through the Ministry of Finance which should release fans to the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and then to our representatives who are the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.
“Our Ministry needs to fully represent us because our sector is as good as dead since we are in limbo.”
Chigorimbo, who was one of the assistant directors in the film “Cry Freedom” featuring Denzel Washington, said proper regulation was the missing link.
“With proper regulation where independent producers can submit their works to the commission and get something in return with the country also generating foreign currency.
“As it stands right, some of us we are just doing it for a passion but those who want to eke out living from it are the most affected because we don’t get any money here,” he said.
Chigorimbo, who has been working alongside Admire Maramba in Estate Blues for the past few weeks, said they were bring driven by passion.
“I have been working with Admire Maramba of Eastate Blues in the past weeks but we are not getting anything from the ZBC.
“My only fear is that there are some members of the cast who only do acting and we don’t have guaranteed income.
“For instance, the cost of shooting an episode is over a US$3000 per episode but we don’t get returns which calls for the regulation of the sector.
“In our cast we have students for various university who need the exposure but it’s sad that they are now getting returns for their exploits because our industry is neglected,” he said.
On how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their work, he explained:
“I can safely say that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a double sword for us because we could not shoot, produce or reproduce others scenes we intended to do during the period.
“It has been a big challenge to us because there were so many things that we could not do as producers, actors and directors since we needed to adhere to the restrictions.”
Chigorimbo is one of the prominent film-makers who have been lobbying for the film commission to cater for the welfare of their practitioners.
Like most of his peers, Chigorimbo want their sector to be treated like an industry and not a pastime activities for school leavers and jobless.