Distributing films in the age of digitalisation has not quite hit the apex of what it is capable of yet, but the indie filmmaker especially stands to gain. YouTube has been the most common form of marketing for quite some time. Studios have released big-budget trailers, while indie filmmakers have sought funding and interested eyes posting content through various YouTube channels.
Of course, the adverse affect is that quality has significantly declined, but that’s more a function of volume. YouTube users also crowdsource what is popular with a thumbs up, helping others to find new and interesting content without spending too much time digging for it.
Zimbabwe’s leading creative and cultural industries organisation Rooftop Promotions have caught up on the rapidly growing trend. Earlier this month, the organisation hosted its Stephen J Chifunyise International Theatre Festival on their digital platforms to a roaring success. This week Rooftop announced that “Chipo the Gift”, their 13 part television series which screens on ZBC TV every Wednesday, is being made available on YouTube for free and easy access following viewers request. Filmmaker and the show producer Daves Guzha said the move was their own way of contributing to society at a time when seemingly everything is at a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“In our own small way, during these surreal and challenging times of Covid 19 were families, societies are re-learning each other by virtue of the added time spent as a result of the lockdown, we believe “Chipo”, could be the tonic one needs as it might enhance dialogue amongst some of the perceived delicate issues in our society,” he said.
Chipo the Gift is a collaborative project between Rooftop Promotions and the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) which pushes for behaviour change and features champions who can inspire potential change-makers in the society. Directed by celebrated filmmaker Marian Kunonga and premised as an advocacy tool for women’s rights, the production’s storyline – authored by the distinguished writer Virginia Jekanyika – is derived from real-life experiences by way of legal cases from situations encountered by women across Zimbabwe.
The series tells the story of Chipo (played by Gamuchirai Mukwakwami), a pubescent village girl who had the vision to further her education but eventually finds herself betrayed by those she loves and looks up to. Such a demanding role is not only encapsulated by Chipo’s undeniable and innate charisma but is moulded and made to sticky emotionally through the stellar performances of young and vibrant creatives, the likes of Mercy Makumbe-Chirikure, Lovejoy Mwaoneka, Eunice Tava, Stewart Sakarombe, Anthony Tongani, Katsaya Ndoro and many others. In other exciting news, Rooftop Promotions have expressed their commitment to producing more content to boost the local entertainment industry. The organisation’s communications officer Passmore Ndlovu said that several entertainment programs are being worked on.
“We believe that it is at this moment where the public consumes more, therefore we see a responsibility to continue working and producing more content for entertainment,” Ndlovu said.
To date, Rooftop has produced many sitcoms, features and documentaries which aired on various platforms locally, regionally and internationally in the mould of “Waiters”, “Sinners?”, “The Letter”, “Face to Face”, “Vapoteri” just to mention a few.
Check out Chipo The Gift on YouTube.