BY TENDAI SAUTA
Secretary of the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, Thokozile Chitepo challenged film makers and their supporting industries to come together and create innovative and universal film products to support the Zimbabwean economy.
Officially launching UNESCO’s African Film Industry Report on behalf of Minister Kirsty Coventry at a well-attended event at the Diamond Lecture Theater at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) last Tuesday, Chitepo said: “The report is a revelation as it reveals a number of issues such as the potential revenue and jobs that can be generated by this sector if we all take the film sector seriously. While the sector currently represents $5 billion in revenue and employs five million people on the continent, the report estimates that the film and audiovisual industry in Africa could create 20 million jobs and generate $20 billion in revenue per year. year.
Chitepo added that: “The report also provides a roadmap to help African states develop and implement appropriate policies to develop the industry in a sustainable manner. It provides a comprehensive analysis of challenges and opportunities, as well as strategic recommendations for the growth of the film and audiovisual industry in Africa.
“I must underscore the fact that Zimbabwe values the film industry so much that it gives voice to cultural heritage stories about Zimbabweans through its creations. It is for this reason that the National Arts, Culture Policy and heritage, the National Strategy for Culture and Creative Industries, including the National Development Strategy (2021-2025) prioritizes arts and culture as essential elements and servants of building nation.
Chitepo also thanked Unesco for providing a report whose data reveals the challenges and opportunities of the film industry, which will allow governments to act quickly in areas that require particular attention.
Fainos Mangena, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UZ, said the Unesco report on the African film industry was intended to provide a platform for stakeholders to reflect on the current situation. and its ability to move forward, share experiences and views on the development of the film industry, provide a platform for stakeholders to present their priorities on policy reviews in line with their visions and follow up on issues discussed.
In his welcome address, UZ Vice-Chancellor Paul Mapfumo said the film was a critical tool in delivering technology innovations, job creation and evidence-based implementations through research images that provide traceable truth about growth. To this end, UZ now has a vibrant Creative Media and Communications Department that offers degree programs in film and television integrated with other arts and business subjects.
Mapfumo said creativity in the film industry has transformed the industry by producing quality products for export, while creating good partnerships and links.
Film curators must be able to generate ideas, market them and market them.
“Art is about creativity and creating new horizons of imagination,” he said.
Francesco Gomez, who read a speech on behalf of Regional Director and UNESCO Representative Lidia Arthur Brito, said UNESCO believed that no development could be truly sustainable without a human-centred approach.
Unesco is therefore committed to supporting the film industry at local and corporate level.
“Over the years, Unesco has worked with Member States to strengthen the mechanisms for collecting statistical information in the cultural field by supporting the effective and relevant collection of data on the cultural sector. This data helps inform policy developments around the world as well as track the evolution of culture as a business.
“The report on the African film industry that we are launching today is the product of these mechanisms for collecting statistical information. For the first time, a comprehensive mapping of the film and audiovisual industry in 54 states on the African continent is available, including quantitative and qualitative data and an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses at continental and regional levels,” said Gomez.
speaking through the Zoom Award-winning messaging platform filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembwa has encouraged a slow but determined formalization of the sector.
Dangarembwa said formalizing is detailing what is allowed and what is not. It is to regulate quantity and quality.
The film industry is a source of individual and national income because a well-funded film employs many people, which has necessitated the formalization of the sector and the formulation of appropriate policies.
One of the panelists named Vimbayi also said that because the film sector has socio-economic potential, there is a need to formalize it in order to integrate it seamlessly into mainstream economies.
Film actress Amanda Ranganawa said: “The Unesco report has shown us that the film industry has a lot to offer our country and the African continent in terms of income generation and job creation. However, these are things that we have always known as filmmakers.
“So the biggest insight I’ve had is the effort put in place to show how valuable the industry is and the challenges it faces. I believe those challenges can best be addressed by investing in the Zimbabwean film industry.
“It is very important for the industry to obtain as much financial support as possible in order to generate the billions predicted in the Unesco report.”
Music Crossroads Director, Melody Zambuko, said the Unesco African Film Industry Report should be incorporated into Zimbabwe’s National Music Strategy 2022-2027.
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