Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN anti-poaching film Gonarezhou has proved its mettle in Hollywood, where it come out tops in the Best First Feature Narrative category at this year’s edition of the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) held in Los Angeles, USA.
The festival saw the première of the highly anticipated production, with screenings on 17 and 21 February during the festival which was established in 1992 for the promotion of cultural understanding among peoples of African descent.
Directed by Sydney Taivavashe, Gonarezhou was produced with assistance from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority. Taivavashe also made the shortlist in the Best Director category, as he was chosen as the cream of the crop in a field that had over 250 directors from all over the African diaspora.
In a statement, Taivavashe expressed his joy at the success enjoyed by the production.
“It’s a really exciting time to see our production which we made with limited resources and just believing we are creating something that’s good and for that production to actually come out in LA, the home of film making. We are in Hollywood, in LA and have won an award. It’s major for us; it’s major for Zimbabwe film industry and it’s going to make people believe, now when we start knocking on their doors to believe that now we are something. This appreciation shows we mean business, we are onto something big and we need everyone to support as we start building Zimbabwe’s film industry,” the director said.
PAFF has premièred and hosted special screenings of top black films including Black Panther (US), Think Like a Man (US), Vaya (South Africa/Nigeria), The CEO (Nigeria), Free Angela and All Political Prisoners (US), Love and Basketball (US), 93 Days (Nigeria), Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (US), Triangle: Coming to America (Ethiopia), Burning Sands (US) among others.
Gonarezhou boasts of an all-star cast which includes singer Tamy Moyo, President Mnangagwa’s daughter Tariro Mnangagwa, Eddie Sandifolo, Tendaiishe Chitima, Tinashe Nhukarume, Charles Mzemba, Jackson Chavhanga, Courage Murambadare and Tawanda Mazvanya.
The film tracks the life of Zulu, an honourable rural man, for who survival is a constant battle living in a village with a large animal population.