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Zimbabwe’s Film Industry Thriving despite Difficult Circumstances

There is a general perception that there is no film industry to talk about in Zimbabwe. This argument is mostly based on comparisons with other well-resourced film economies, such as Hollywood, or even South Africa’s. There are, nevertheless, efforts at the grassroots, of various informally constituted cottage industries producing video-film products. These include video-films shot in as little as a week, on very low to zero budgets and by remarkably lean crews (who may also feature as the acting talent). Recent video-films like Kushata Kwemoyo, Escape, Chinhoyi 7 and lately, the Netflix hit Cook Off, all made during the so-called Zimbabwean crisis (stretching from around 2000 to date) showcase the filmmaking talent and cinematographic capabilities abundant in the country. It’s what once led film scholar Frank Ukadike, in his book Black African Cinema, to remark that Zimbabwe was Africa’s Hollywood.