Unsung movie star enjoys awards glory


The herald

Tafadzwa Zimoyo
Senior artistic reporter
Unknown filmmaker, producer and actress Zoe Ramushu is basking in fame after her two productions “To The Plate” and “It Takes A Circus” were nominated for prestigious international awards.

Zoe produced “To The Plate” and co-directed and produced “It Takes A Circus” with directors Gopika Ajan and Annick Laurent.

“To The Plate” was shortlisted for a student BAFTA, while “It Takes A Circus” is shortlisted for the 48th Student Academy Awards (Oscars).

The talented South Africa-based filmmaker and producer will be the first Zimbabwean woman to be selected for this honor and if she wins, she will become the first local to win such awards.

In an interview with The Herald Arts, Zoe said it was a great honor that her works were nominated for Oscars and BAFTAs.

“I’m just excited,” she said. “The Student Oscars and BAFTAs are massive career change platforms and I am incredibly humble and grateful to God for this recognition.

“Zimbabwe has a great amount of talent and I think when one of us does it creates opportunities for all of us.”

Zoe, who has featured in various commercials in South Africa featuring international brands such as KFC, Grandpa and Soul Candi, said she took a hiatus to focus on production and directing.

“I remember a while ago I went with a friend to a casting in college,” she said.

“The casting director asked me if I was auditioning and I said no, but she insisted that if I was interested in playing the part, I should try auditioning.

“So I said yes, she stopped the auditions and took me to her office to register. That’s how I got my first role. In 2017, I then took a break from acting to focus on production and directing I resumed my acting career earlier this year by appearing in the upcoming South African film, “Bohlale”.

“I returned from New York at this time last year and am currently based in Cape Town. Most film work is remote until you get into production. I currently have work projects in Johannesburg, Kwazulu-Natal and New York. I’ll be going there once we start shooting.

Asked how best Zimbabwe could improve the film industry, Zoe responded; “Give people opportunities and funding. Funding and platforms are the key to improving the film industry in Zimbabwe.

“I run my own production company, Chiriseri Studios, and a production company is like any other business. You need money to create the product (movie or TV show), then you need a place to sell the product (broadcasters or streamers).

“We need more local channels, but also to engage with international broadcasters, whose time and energy I spend attending markets such as Cannes, Berlinale, Durban, The Gotham in New York and more. ‘others.

“I believe that building these relationships abroad will cultivate an appetite for Zimbabwean talent, not just for my projects.”

Zoe applauded the efforts of some local filmmakers who put content online. “Once you already have an audience for your movie or show, it’s easier to generate increased interest by uploading it.

“Due to the current situation, the best platform to market your work is through virtual platforms. “

Zoe said she takes inspiration from her parents.

“My parents are my role models. My late father the apostle Charles Chiriseri, and my mother, the apostle Petunia Chiriseri. I like their integrity in their work.

Zoe cited consistency from other producers as a major challenge in the film business.

“Consistent work is always the key,” she said.

“I think building communities can solve this problem very well because there is shared information and collaboration that creates more work. I am a strong supporter of strategic partnerships.

Zoe is producing a feature film with MNet and other funders, and said she looks forward to working in Zimbabwe as well.

“My very first production that I shot in Zimbabwe in 2015, I was behind the camera in that production.

“It was a cooking reality show called ‘My Perfect Date.’ I’m really interested in working on another production in Zimbabwe so that all of my local film family can contact me.

Zoe is a member of the Cannes Producers Network, The Gotham (formerly IFP) and has seen success in various markets, including her series “Pretty Hustle”, which was selected as the first and only episodic project to be presented at the Financial Forum of DFM.

She chairs the South Africa Department of Arts and Culture committee and is a member of the Reuters Institute 2021 at the University of Oxford.

So far, his work has been recognized on global platforms such as the Berlinale, Cannes, Morocco Film Festivals and has been featured in Glamor and Variety magazines. Zoe studied law and English and holds an MA and MA from Wits University and Columbia University in New York, respectively.

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