Lets meet Zim’s first horror film producer…

Everyone who knew about the production is ready to watch. The actors are all geared to hear what people will say about they antics on screen.  The mention of being a fantasy horror film have said shivers to some, while the other half would love to see a local horror production. People are certainly geared to see the first Zim horror film.

Spending the day with the producers today i learnt a lot from them. I discovered the film industry was taking a shift. With such young and energetic individuals i know the film industry will never be the same again. We will stand match to match with Nollywood and the South African Film Industry. With the premier fast approaching they were all over the show in preparation of the big day.

Sartuday 10 May stands to be the day that will see us officially watch a local production that has a horror fantasy feel on it. On our build up we decided to feature a biography of one of the producers Mhle Nzima…

Born Mhlengiwethu Nzima on 9 July 1986, he was raised in Bulawayo, Plumtree, and Victoria Falls by working parents in a competitive all-boys environment with two overachieving brothers.

He fell in love with movies and cartoons for their heroes who always rose to the top against all odds and wished to create such a magical world for himself. When he wasn’t copying cartoons off a paused TV screen, he would be pestering his mother’s friends for their video cameras and forcing his brothers and cousins to act out his stories.

At age 13, he was enrolled into an all-boys boarding school where he was subjected to extreme bullying and abuse by his peers, who felt he wasn’t man enough. He used script/story writing and art as an escape to his worlds of heroes and fantasy, eventually catching the attention of other students who turned out to love his work and sparked good friendships with him, thus entertaining people became his passion.
With no film schools in Zimbabwe at the time, after high school, he was forced to settle for a Diploma in Mass Communication at BES (Business Environment Services), which was as close as he felt he could get. While on attachment at a local newspaper in 2008, he focused most of his stories and research on animation and film, soon finding out about ZIFF (Zimbabwe International Film Festival) and making it his goal to produce a film for submission the following year.

All he could afford was a cheap handy cam. No actors, crew, or appropriate resources. Desperate and determined, he drew a comic and filmed each panel with his own vocal narration and digitally produced music, editing on a borrowed computer. This 25 minute animatic became his first short film; the dramatic fantasy “Canvas of The Fallen” in 2009. Following its surprising praise by internationally renowned filmmakers like Nakai Matema and Tsitsi Dangarembga, he was recruited into JAAG (Joint Afrikan Animation Group) by Nqobizitha “Enqore” Mlilo.

Through the then budding group, he gained access to digital resources which enabled him to produce his first digitally animated 2d short film, “Silent Wishes”. This tragic-fantasy-drama earned him his first directorial award in 2010 and a 2011 NAMA (National Arts Merit Award) nomination for Outstanding screen Production (Film) sealing his reputation as a heavy and dramatic storyteller.

As his list of film festival screenings grew, his films bore witness to the birth of Sub-Saharan Africa’s first animation festival ZIMFAIA (Zimbabwe Festival of Afrikan Inspired Animation) in 2010 with then JAAG Chairman Solomon Maramba as the Director. With the extensive experience and motivation, 2011 saw him producing and directing 3 20-30 minute long animated films creatively tackling often side-lined and taboosocial issues, the highlight of which was “Written In Tears”; a real life account of his traumatic life in boarding school.

This film received widespread critical acclaim for its daring and visually stunning storytelling technique and was nominated for the Best Zimbabwean Film award at IIFF 2013 (International Images Film Festival for Women). It was further nominated for the much coveted Walter Muparutsa Prize and has since been requested by local and international production houses for feature length adaptation.

He also did illustrations for Fortune Tazvivinga’s 2014 NAMA winning children’s book “The River God: uNyaminyami”, and is writing and co-animating Zimbabwe’s up-coming first 2d animated feature “Tanganyika”, being produced by top 10 nominee of Google’s Africa Connected competition Nqobizitha Enqore Mlilo (Enqore Media Group/Nafuna TV) with several other personal projects in the works.

In 2014, he decided to realize his life-long dream of producing and directing a live action feature and met his co-producers who, as fate would have it, had the very same dream.