UK-based filmmaker gives back by helping local industry grow

19 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
UK-based filmmaker gives back by helping local industry grow Jessie Allen

The Herald

Ivan Zhakata

Arts Correspondent

UNITED Kingdom-based Zimbabwean film maker Jessie Allen is helping to develop and grow the film industry in Zimbabwe through sponsoring aspiring filmmakers.

Jessie who established JAC Film School in 2020 is taking people who have the zeal and talent for film-making but without resources and helping them to fulfil their dreams.

JAC Film School is a vessel for teaching visual story-telling to Zimbabwean creatives and they are currently looking for a second cohort of writers after having successfully sponsored the first batch last year.

Allen said the programme is free and provides a bursary to remove barriers to participation as the course is online.

“I have teamed up with WIN-Zimbabwe (Writers International Network Zimbabwe) and so far four writers have completed the course with two having directed and completed their film and one is in post-production while the fourth film will be filmed shortly,” she said.

“At present we are focusing on ages from 18 and above, interested participants are invited to submit a script of less than 10 pages on any topic and genre. This can be a comedy, science fiction, thriller and so forth.

“These are then assessed and reviewed by the JAC team to select five scripts. Feedback is given to each entry submitted. Last year we had over 50 entries. The quality of writing was very encouraging.”

Allen said the idea behind the school was to create a network of talent in the Zimbabwean film industry.

She said their students get mentorship from established film producers on the practical aspects of making their films.

“Our student in Mutare was mentored by Igi Matope and we had valuable input from Joe Njagu, equipment and technical support as well as acting talent from Zimbabwe Film and Television School of Southern Africa (ZIFTESSA).

“There is an opportunity to build up an ecosystem of support and development for the industry to grow. My hope is to ensure filmmakers can make a living from their creativity.

‘‘At the moment I am providing funding for the school myself but I hope to attract other investors to get involved in developing future talent,” she said.

Allen studied short film-making and factual development and production at the National Film and Television School in London.  “I have always been passionate about the arts. I was head girl at Girls’ High School where I promoted drama and poetry.

‘‘I was a member of the Young Writers’ Association and will forever be thankful for the help and support I received. JAC Film School is my way of giving back,” she said.

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