Content creators urged to up their game

CONTENT creators should take advantage of the massive opportunities that are emerging in the broadcasting sector following the Government’s decision to liberalise the airwaves.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said this during the launch of the inaugural 2021 Varsity Film Expo at the National University of Science and Technology(Nust) yesterday.

The University of Zimbabwe, Midlands State University, Lupane State University, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Great Zimbabwe University, Solusi University and Nust are participating at the expo, which ends tomorrow.

President Mnangagwa officially launched the expo and promised that all talented Zimbabweans will be rewarded for innovations under his administration.

In a break from the past, the Government last year licensed six television stations including the Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN). The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) also licensed community and campus radio stations.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the licensing of television and radio stations should be a challenge for producers to provide content that reflects the Zimbabwean culture.
“I am deeply delighted that our universities have demonstrated an incredible productive capacity for the film industry,” she said.

“As you all know, for 40 years Zimbabwe had known only one television station but through your astute leadership Your Excellency, we licensed six free-to-air TV licenses.
“We licensed 14 community radio stations and we did not leave out universities because of the importance of our students,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

“All these licensed television and radio stations are waiting for content and as Zimbabweans, we have the talent. We have the expertise and as such we do not want to feed our youths with foreign content.
“The nation is hungry for local content, it is thirsty for diversity. It has a high appetite for local film productions that it can relate to and identify with.
“The time to feed the nation with films that tell our own story is now.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said the 2021 Varsity Film Expo is also in sync with National Development Strategy 1 and a step towards attaining Vision 2030.
“The successful launch of the inaugural annual Varsity Film Expo that we have just witnessed dovetails with the broadcasting digitisation programme underway, along with other developmental initiatives set by the Second Republic such as the devolution agenda, heritage-based education 5.0 and a digital-driven economy,” she said.

“It is critical that we move from analogue to digital, we don’t want to lose our young generation. The young generation are attracted to their gadgets and as such we should be able to utilise information to educate the youth about the history of our country so that the children know where we came from, where we are and where we are going,” she said.
“There is no future without knowing your past and present.”

“Through film, produced and directed by our own citizens, we will boost tourism, advance our economic interests, and market our diverse culture to the rest of the world and also defend our state against hostile narratives in the global arena,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“I don’t doubt that we can favourably compete and be counted among the top emerging cinema markets in Africa.
“The creative artistic genius that was on display today must be harnessed to achieve those ends.
“Our film industry is capable of creating jobs and contributing towards the goals of the National Development Strategy-1 and the overarching Vision 2030.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said it was important to bring filmmakers, academics, students, policymakers and the business community together in developing national discourse.
She said the participation of President Mnangagwa in the inaugural Varsity Film Expo was in line with his vision of leaving no one behind as far as development matters are concerned.
Speaking during the same event, Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, said the expo was addressing the needs of Zimbabweans.
“The Variety Film Expo 2021 is part of the journey of a free people, a journey in our implementation of Heritage Based Education 5.0 that You, Your Excellency, designed and directed,” he said.
“Through Heritage based Education 5.0 we are developing national capabilities, one by one, in line with Your Excellency’s stone upon stone philosophy-in line with your guiding development doctrine — nyika inovakwa nevene vayo (a nation is built by its citizens),” said Prof Murwira.

He said his ministry was in the process of addressing gaps that were identified by the national critical skills audit, which unearthed that applied arts and humanities clusters were dominated by analogue technology and cannot compete at a global market.

“The Film Expo responds to the recommendations for focused prioritised training of creative arts and world class exhibitions and development of skills as well as innovative capacity for enhanced entrepreneurial and commercial skills for artists and other service providers in the applied arts and humanities cluster,” he said.

“This shall enable the artists/creators and other service providers in the cluster to add value to their products,” said Minister Murwira.

He said through film and television Zimbabwe can liberate herself and follow the path of modernisation and industrialisation. — @nqotshili



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