Zimbabwe drama industry is in a crisis and is failing to attract the market locally and internationally. The industry is facing a lots of problems like a more selective audience, competition from Hollywood, the internet, low quality DVD’s, low resolution downloads and financial concerns.
What has Zimbabwe done to solve these challenges? It is quite interesting that the government has introduced the 75% local content policy with the aim of increasing local publicity and opportunity but no considerate objection has been raised on declining of our own poor productions. This is obviously low cost business strategy adopted by our main channel (ZBC).
Some critics would even argue that Snobbery and ‘lazy contempt’ is killing the drama flavor in Zimbabwe. When looking at Zimbabwe’s classic dramas like Wenera Muchaneta, Vharazipi, Tete namuroora, Pfumbvu Paruzevha we are in danger of losing something of real value in culture, style and laughter. A great and original television art form is dying not because there is no talent but because of poor presentation
Why the movie industry isn’t progressing is a need for ‘quick money’. You can’t make money without making incredible art.You have to be an artiste to make it in the industry. Money is a by-product of creativity. It should come as a direct product of what we do. If we only think of the money, we are going to be poor as artistes and that’s what is happening in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwean dramas are characterized by badly written scripts which lack depth and cryptic information such that the majority fail to grasp the movies concept. Film critics have traced this to the lack of a reading culture among scriptwriters, directors and actors. Some of these movies are an excellent idea that needs to be sharpened so that it captures a wide audience for example WENERA brings out dominant smart and but they are not humorous. The drama is interesting but not active it doesn’t evoke any lifetime experience.
The problem is that people want to be famous and gain cheap popularity, and that has led to a stagnant position it is currently in. The industry deliberately denies opportunity to professional actors saying they are too organized and boring. They cannot pay qualified actors so the industry is filled with unpaid natural talents who produce sub standard movies. they believe that acting with dirty, tattered and torn clothes in a dirty environment brings out originality.
The talent base in Zimbabwe used to be stunning with great actors making inroads into Hollywood industry the likes of Tawanda Manyimo, Tongai Chirisa, and Peace Nzirawa who acted in Roots, Kunta Kinte.
Tirirparwendo is a typical traditional drama where the African cultural and social values are brought out. The drama is acted in a sophisticated, comic, humorous and stylish manner. The rivalry in traditional politics, polygamy and social inequalities, religion and love is all brought out in ways that arouse a keen interest. It creates a life time experience in the viewers mind such that the audience become part of the movie.
For Zimbabwe’s movie industry to survive it must mirror and give what should be. As actors we have to ask ourselves what kind of culture we are communicating through our works. Dramas are for entertainment so there should be an attempt at realism and writing well-rounded scripts with popular male and female leads and amped-up melodrama.
There are new technologies which some filmmakers are not familiar and that is where should improve and invest in for quality content.