When poachers laced salt pans in Hwange National Park with cyanide killing 300 elephants in 2013, the tragedy inspired filmmaker Sydney Taivavashe to dig deeper to fully understand the scope of the poaching problem in Zimbabwe. It was that story that led him to write Gonarezhou The Movie.
The captivating plot of Syndey’s first feature film, begins with a question. How do you survive in an isolated village with a small human population and a large wildlife population? For Zulu, an honorable rural man, survival is a constant battle. Although he dreams of becoming an acclaimed musician and taking care of his ailing mother; in reality, he is a broken-hearted drunk. Eventually, his anger towards life thrusts him into the arms of poachers who become his family. Together, they become a notorious and successful gang of poachers under the charge of a vicious tycoon. Zulu finds love amidst the mayhem, in the form of Thulo. He must navigate out of this highly charged environment to meet with his fate, good or bad.
Shot mainly in rural Masvingo, Gonarezhou The Movie is a truly collaborative project, powered by the ambition of it’s young Masvingo born director. It is brought to life by a cast of both renowned and fresh talent. National Arts Merit Award (NAMA) winner actor, Eddie Sandifolo plays the complex Zulu alongside Tendaiishe Chitima (also a NAMA winner) in the lead female role, Thulo. They are joined by performing artist Tamy Moyo, Tariro Washe, Tinashe Nhukarume, Charles Muzemba, Charlene Mangweni and Jackson Chivanga. The film brings the issue of wildlife conservation to the fore and raises important questions about culture, poverty and love.
Gonarezhou The Movie began its international film festival tour in February 2020. The film’s World Premiere was at the 28th Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles where it won the Best First Feature Narrative Award on the 23rd of February with the director and lead actors present in LA to receive the award. Other festivals on their tour include, the London Independent Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Calgary International Film Festival, Flickers Rhode Island Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Environmental Film Festival Australia, Durban Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival.
Speaking recently on Capitalk 100.FM, producer Tariro Washe said they have big aspirations for their film and would like to have it showcased on platforms like Nextflix which would be a huge boost for the Zimbabwean film industry as a whole. With a Zimbabwean premiere on the cards in the near future, she encouraged local audiences to support the film and hoped that it will ignite conversations around conversation and what role we can all play.
Copyright : Ndeipi Magazine Issue 117