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Film, theatre practitioners yearn for better 2021

BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO NO doubt, each year comes with its ups and downs.As the curtain comes down on the year in a few days, a glimpse of the film and theatre sectors indicates that, just like other sections of the creative industry, they could not dodge the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While 2020 has been tough, not only due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the issue of poor funding has, however, continued to dominate conversations at different forums. The production and premiere of some films was affected by lack of funding thereby limiting the industry’s growth. Filmmakers and theatre practitioners who spoke to NewsDay Life & Style, described 2020 as a difficult year. However, some said they would not throw in the towel as they hope for better prospects in 2021. When death rob creative talent The year 2020 was characterised by high profile deaths that robbed the two sectors of its talents. Among those who lost their lives are popular actor Lazarus “Gringo” Boora (pictured), actresses Yengiwe “Nambiji” Ngwenya, Patience Chivhami, Samantha Kapora, Sibonisiwe “Bonnie” Sithole, Hillary Mambo and Charles “Doesmatter” Jackson. Sadly the death of Gringo affected the production of a television series, Gringo Troublemaker Two, Gringo naDaison and Chihwerure. Seasoned actor William “Gweshe Gweshe” Matenga, who worked with Gringo since the 1980s said Gringo’s character was irreplaceable. On another sad note, actress Rumbidzai Machunga allegedly lost $2 580 in April in a job scam as she was seeking employment outside the film industry. She said she was duped by a fraudster by the moniker Muchemwa who claimed to be working at Chicken Inn. Of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions Apart from deaths, the outbreak of COVID-19 that resulted in lockdown restrictions as part of the measures to curb the spread of the virus also stalled activities in the film and theatre sectors. Although, the lockdowns initially choked artists from showcasing their works at the cinemas and theatres, playhouses like Jasen Mphepo Little Theatre and Theatre in The Park adapted to the “new normal” of doing business as they went virtual to showcase some productions on different digital platforms. Jasen Mphepo Theatre co-ordinator Caroline Magenga said: “As the COVID-19 restrictions created a demand for online content, we transformed to ignite conversations on topical issues and “quench” theatre lovers’ thirsty by going virtual so as to adapt to conditions that had been caused by the imposed lockdown.” “Going virtual has, however, not been easy though as most people had trouble accessing the online content. Theatre thrives on physical gathering and COVID-19 made it impossible to gather, this year was indeed tough.” Some of the events that were conducted virtually are European film festival, Human rights festival and the Mitambo Arts and Theatre festival. “On the other hand, the lockdown also made it difficult for many productions to be completed due to travel restrictions and this affected the livelihoods of the actors. “Among the affected productions include fil

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