LOCAL film Gonarezhou has been nominated for the Best First Feature Narrative award at the 28th edition of the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) which kicked off last Thursday and will end on February 23 in Los Angeles, California.
Award-winning filmmaker and the brains behind the production, Sydney Taivavashe, said he was delighted by the nomination.
Sydney Taivavashe (left) and Eddie Sandifolo during the production of Gonarezhou
Taivavashe recently told this paper that he was over the moon after receiving news of the nomination, which places him alongside international giants of fiction movies.
“The nomination feels good as it is proof that our production is capable of competing with other films at an international level. The festival is the biggest for blacks in America and that nomination is a win for us. We continue to put Zimbabwe on the map,” he said.
The filmmaker said although that was his fifth feature film, it was special to him.
“I started writing this story in 2013 and all these years we have been working towards the realisation of this project. We have faced many challenges but we have kept faith and I am happy with the product we have,” he said.
Taivavashe said the production, which had its world premiere in Los Angeles last Sunday, with a second screening set for tomorrow, featured prominent Zimbabwean actors Eddie Sandifolo and Tendai Chitima as well as musician Tamy Moyo.
“The movie is a Masvingo feature film which raises awareness on poaching and human trafficking.
It started production in November 2018 and wrapped up in August 2019. It traces the life of an underprivileged man as he falls into the hands of a notorious gang of poachers who lure him to be involved with the promise of riches,” he said.
Taivavashe said he hoped the film would help raise awareness that fighting poaching was not a white or government-only campaign but for everyone.
“The way we made the film will allow people to look at wildlife differently. It will also highlight issues of girls who might be vulnerable to human trafficking. It shows the nature of the illegal activities that take place,” he said.
Taivavashe and Sandifolo flew to Los Angeles on Monday.
A joint venture involving Nelne Pictures, Meso Maviri and Jubilee Arts, the production was recorded and produced by Wentworth Art World, Audly Studios, Ceeklear Music, Nelned Pictures Studios and Ngano Studios.
The Pan African Film Festival is a non-profit making organisation that promotes cultural understanding among Africans through exhibiting art and film.
Taivavashe produced his debut short film titled The Terrific Nights in 2006. His first feature film, Through the Night, was nominated for the Outstanding Feature Film award at the 2014 Nama.
In 2017, Sydney won a Nama award for directing Seiko, a silent short film before partnering Great Zimbabwe University to produce the feature film Solo naMutsai, portraying the experience of students who come from poor backgrounds and are at the university in the same year.