Women in Film
Film Festival vibes
Attending a film festival is like walking into a candy store. You get all kinds of expression going through your soul. It is such great fun, inspiring, mind blowing, entertaining and educating. The experience can also be overwhelming because there is a lot to take in. Imagine interacting with filmmakers, distributors, and film lovers to discuss and exchange film experiences.
The 17th women’s International Images Film Festival (IIFF2018) ran under the theme " Reach Out". It was graced by actors, producers and directors from around the globe including Canadian award winning film maker Lulu Keatin, Qatar based Brazilian Filmmaker Luciana Ceccatto Farah and guest of honour South African filmmaker Mpho Ramathuthu.
The festival was in partnership with the Africa Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Multichoice, The Embassies of Sweden and Canada, Magamba Network, Dendairy and B2C.
I got the opportunity to talk to the inspiring Mpho Ramathuthu a dynamic woman who has made her mark in the film and television industry since 2007. Mpho was a crucial member of the Scriptwriting Institute for five years. She then joined the Script-to-Screen in indigenous languages from 2012-2015. She has written and published 2 novels in Tshivenda language. Mpho then became the Tshivenda Translator for the long- running Television drama “Muvhango” from 2011-2015. She was also a judge at the Sanlam Literature Youth Competition in 2013/4 and in 2016/7. She is the co-founder of The Griot Screenwriting Academy and she was part of the training program where she was mentoring and overseeing production of 10 Micro Budget Films in Kwa-Zulu Natal supported by the Durban Film Office in 2014/5.
She recently Co-Produced a Zulu Musical Feature Film called “She is King” that Premiered in December 2017and she is the founder and Producer of the “Breaking Borders Project”(African Women in Film Project) currently in production. In August 2018, Mpho was the guest of honour and officiates the International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF)in Zimbabwe followed by the screening of “she is King”. She also hosted talks and dialogue on Co- Production and the working together of Africans. She is selected as one of the current Adjudicators of the 4th edition of the Zambian Film and Television Awards (ZAFTAs) to take place on the 20th November 2018 in Zambia.
1- You were in Zimbabwe for the festival because of your work, what did you feel about the festival and what it had to offer a female filmmaker like you.
It was my first time attending the Festival and in Zimbabwe, both experiences were amazing. The festival provide women with opportunities to shine, network and dream big.
2- Do you feel women are being acknowledged at film festivals and the film industry in general ?
Yes, l feel there is a place for women in Festivals and in the Industry however we are just not creating enough opportunities for ourselves and also we do not work together enough. We have to come together and help each other get to the top and shine together.
3- You had a chance to talk to the audience after the screening of your movie, how was that experience?
OMG, the film was well received and the audince were entertained and they loved the film. There were even suggestions of creating the play since the film is about auditioning and getting a role in the play that is to celebtrate the life of Mkabayi Ka Jama (who was the Great King Shaka Zulu's aunt). The overall experience was overwhelming.
4- Have you been to other festivals with your movie and how has it been compared to being at IIFF?
Yes, in May 2018 the film also screened at the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) and i must say the audience at IIFF understood the film more and they were even sharing their own personal stories that relates to the film...i guess the film was just too close to home
5- What was most outstanding about being at IIFF?
I have to say the film selection. All the films i watched were great and they represented strong women, they carried strong and positive messages.
6- You got a chance to see other films how were they compared to yours?
All the films were great. I was truely inspired and i feel there should be more platforms like IIFF so we can keep sharing and insipring each other.
7- What film was the most inspiring to you and why?
A beautiful woman. I just can't get over it and it is told in such a way that you end up celebrating the power of a women that feeling sorry for her.
8- People who attended the film festival had something in common which is the passion for film, when did you discover you wanted to do more about your love for film?
I have been working in the Industry for 11 years now and i realise about 4 years ago that as Africans we have been making films but our films don't travel far and that we are not watching each others films enough. I created a project called "Breaking Borders Project" that is meant to bring Africans together, work togethet beyond borders and get to watch and appreciate who we are more. We are one people and have a lot in common that the borders and things that divide us.
9- What do you love about your work and how do you nurture your talent.
I love the fact that as filmmakers we are able to bring people together, inform and educate the masses with a single story. I nature my talent by reading and try as much as i can to know more about other people and where they come from.
10- What impact does your work have in the film industry?
I have an opportunity to learn and teach others about who l am, where l come from and most importantly show the World who we are as Africans.
11- What was the reason behind making the film She is Queen and how has it been received?
We wanted to celebrate one of our greatest Queen (Mkabayi ka Jama) and the role she played in building the Zulu Kingdom to what it is today and remind our young women today that descendants of Queens they should be proud and be great.
12- How is it when it comes to distributing your work?
It is not easy since we do not have enough platforms for this kind of films. I feel we still need more platforms to promote African content.
13- What is next after this film?
I am currently in production (shooting) the "Breaking Borders Project" and also developing my next feature films that will be a Co-Production with Nigeria.
14- What is the most important advice you could give a young and upcoming filmmaker?
Don't be afraid to tell your story the way it is...in your beauriful language and show the World how rich, beautiful and amaizing you are as an African. Take your time...it is always worth it in the end!
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