By Farai Maposa
Veteran film producer and actor Stephen Chigorimbo better known as John Huni for the role he played in
soapie Studio 263 has lamented the lack of support from various sectors saying stalling the growth of the film industry in the country.
Speaking to Radio VOP, Stephen Chigorimbo deplored the lack of support of the film industry from the government and the private sector and said the answer now lies with the setting of a commission.
“Zimbabwe has great potential in making its film industry a very big one just like Hollywood but the lack of a film commission which can coordinate funding and resources for it to reach dizzy heights is missing,” said Chigorimbo.
The popular film producer and actor said what makes Zimbabwe’s potential achievable is the array of talent it has exported to even big movie industry like Hollywood.
“Look at the immense talent that Zimbabwe possesses, look at Arnold Chirisa who has made it to Hollywood one of the biggest movie industry in the world.
“There is no doubt that our film industry can grow,” argued ‘Huni’.
Arnold Chirisa is remembered most for his role as Detective Trevor Davies in Zimbabwe’s first ever Soap Opera, Studio 263.Other Zimbabweans who have made have made it in Hollywood are Benu Mabhena who starred in the movie Blood Diamond that featured Hollywood royalty, Leonardo DiCaprio and Danai Gurira who was in The Walking Dead.
Chigorimbo also applauded the cash-strapped public broadcaster ZBC for bringing back the initiative where it pays for content be it dramas, films and other productions saying that it will go a long way in making the country’s film industry to take off.
“The ZBC recently held a meeting with film producers, script writers and other stakeholders in the sector where they said they will be unveiling funding of programmes like documentaries, films and series among other things
“This is a plus because that what was lacking of our public broadcaster,” acknowledged Chigorimbo.
The veteran film producer and actor also spoke glowingly of the festivals saying they go a long way in uplifting the film industry.
“The various festivals like the Harare International Film Festivals (HIFA), Zimbabwe International Film Festival(ZIFFE),International Images Film Festival for Women are essential platforms where the country can sell their films,” quipped Chigorimbo.
Stephen Chigorimbo was born 5th April 1951 in Chegutu. He studied and worked in insurance after school. He began film making in 1974 after landing a part alongside Christopher Lee (Dracula). He quickly found himself behind the camera and rose through the ranks and professional training as Actor, Assistant Director, and Coordinator. Script writer, Director, Producer of over 100 documentaries, feature films and television.
He was the first assistant director in the movie ‘Cry Freedom’(1987) that starred Denzel Washington.
Chigorimbo was also part of the cast of King Solomon’s Mines alongside popular actress Sharon Stone.