A whole nation filled with creatives and stories untold, burdened by the lack of an open-minded television broadcaster due to the existence of one broadcaster which is state-owned and muzzles expression. Concepts and pilots piling up in makeshift studios and dreams shattered ending in the selling of equipment acquired after a long struggle. The non-existence of a distribution channel that gives value to the content creators and cushions them from production costs. Red tape!
Multichoice Africa hosted the Content Summit today which was described by Multichoice Zimbabwe’s PR manager Liz Dziva as,
“A local content summit and that is being hosted by Multichoice Africa with the aim of encouraging local producers to create films and television programmes that of a high standard, with the potential to attract viewers not just from Zimbabwe, but across the continent.”
It sounds like a very good initiative right? ‘Encourage’ being the keyword in her statement. However, we need to examine everything with a finer comb. According to Stephen Chigorimbo a veteran in the Zimbabwean film sector who attended the summit, content creators have been producing television content way before Zambia and Kenya but those particular two countries are being given special care by Multichoice despite the huge consumer base DSTV has enjoyed in Zimbabwe for the longest.
A question of quality might be raised as the reason why Zimbabwean producers have not enjoyed a good number of slots of their content on the DSTV channels. Despite, the deplorable condition of content from our Zambian counterparts when Zambezi Magic was launched by Multichoice, it was flighted and Zimbabwean content was frowned upon and not given a platform. Is it because of the political situation we were in or maybe we are not a priority region?
Zimbabwean filmmakers have very good concepts and scripts they would love to share with the world, however, capacity might be a huge issue right now. It’s essential to know that the lack of content distribution channels has reduced a crop of bright minds to wedding videographers because they can not manage to acquire the necessary equipment for huge productions. As such, stimulation is needed to boost the growth of the sector.
The government has been uninterested for a while and its most likely that the film sector is not one of the major economic drivers their are focusing on right now. Who will help capacitate the industry? Who will foot the bill of acquiring the equipment that content distributors like Multichoice and Kwese recommend for quality production? Is our content really that bad? So many questions and yet the stories remain on dusty shelves!