‘Freestate’ producers seek funding for feature film

Jonathan Mbiriyamveka Entertainment Reporter
Producers of the 12-minute film titled “Freestate” are seeking to raise money to turn  it into a feature film which they say will match international standards. “Freestate”, which was the opener for this year’s International Images Film Festival for Women, is set to be screened today at the Alliance Française Old Mutual Theatre starting at 5.30pm.

The short film is based on a special relationship between a single woman and a married driver.
“We want to use the short film to raise funds for the upcoming feature film and we are delighted that the film opened this year’s IIFF because rarely do short films get screened at cinemas.

“This will also provide an opportunity for the international feature film to emerge from Zimbabwe,” director Martha Fergusson said.
She said although there was talent in Zimbabwe, the film industry lacked the experts who matched international standards.

“For one to come up with a film that matches the international standards one of the things you need is not just the money, but the expertise to be able to put a film that will appeal to the outside world.

“It is not just good enough to have money because there is a level of sophistication that you need to put into the film which should appeal to a wider audience outside Zimbabwe,” she said.

Fergusson, who is based in France, is an international film actress and director who co-produced the performance part of the film “Hifa: The Harare International Festival of the Arts” for the British Council during her stay in Zimbabwe between 2010 and 2012.

Also featured in “Freestate” are Steven Chigorimbo, Kevin Hanssen and John Dennison.
According to Chigorimbo, a veteran local actor, there was need for Zimbabweans to rise to the occasion when making films.

“One of the important issues to look at when making a film is the consumption. Here we are not talking of Zimbabwe as the market, but it is just a small fraction of the bigger market which is the outside world.

“And to be able to appeal to that market you have to make a film which the world would love to watch. Basically, it is the market which says what it wants, not the other way round,” he said.

Chigorimbo, who plays John – a married driver who never imagined that his “madam” would ever consider falling in love with him – is surprised when it happens because he never saw her as a “woman” just his “boss”.

“Freestate” was adapted from “Space to Fall”, a short story by South African writer Mellisa Webster and produced by Daves Guzha while award-winning writer and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga was involved in the screenplay adaptation of the gripping love story.

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