Rumbidzai Mbewe, Sunday Life Correspondent
WITH only one cinema running in the city of Kings and Queens, players in the film industry are pushing for more filming facilities that will revive the sector.
During an artiste’s meeting that was held at the recently opened Bluez Cafe last week, Chris Mapuranga from Bulawayo Film Club said with only one cinema still running in the city, strong television and internet competition, there were no audiences left for cinema.
“Nowadays people are always glued to their television sets watching all sorts of films that they like and they do not see the need to go out for any film screenings. If they are not watching television they are busy on the internet searching for something to watch or downloading something that they can watch later at the comfort of their homes,” he said.
Mapuranga also pointed out that young filmmakers have resorted to making films and posting them on YouTube for people to identify with their productions.
“These young women and men do not have the much needed physical spaces for them to screen their productions. It is our wish that they also take these films to the communities that they come from,” he said.
He said there was need for training workshops and mentoring for young film makers so that they are equipped with knowledge in as far as the film production is concerned.
“We need more of these initiations so that our industry is flooded with film makers that know what they are doing and pulling a crowd will not be difficult if they are producing good quality films that will compete with what they watch on television and the internet,” he said.
However, Mapuranga noted that there have been attempts made to improve the industry, but costs were prohibitive.
Commenting on the recently opened Bluez Café, an arts hub for Bulawayo, Thomeki Dube of Black Umfolosi said, “It is quite a strategic place for the arts, and comes at the right time, when such spaces are needed the most.”
Musician Nkue Nkala said, “We need something like this in Bulawayo; we don’t have that space.”
Nobuntu’s Duduzile Sibanda said “Imbube is in the same boat, we would love to have such a space for what we do.”
Among other issues, artistes expressed the need for rehearsal spaces, and appropriate venues for genre-specific events, use of sound and lighting equipment, artiste-friendly platforms for exposure, arts training for marketing, business management and arts administration, spaces and programmes for mentoring, sharing collaborating, meeting clients, links between artistes, promoters, service providers, professionalisation to ensure quality control and attract new audiences. The Bluez Café is an initiative of Nhimbe Trust.