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Zimbabwean Film Industry Essay

The film industry in any given country has an influence on the growth of the economy. However, the slow growth of the film Industry in Zimbabwe can be greatly attributed to the advancement of technology. In order for the indigenous film industry in Zimbabwe to produce quality films worthy of a global audience, there are a number of educational technological and commercial concerns that need to be addressed. I shall attempt to discuss the challenges that African, specifically looking at Zimbabwe filmmaker are facing in their attempt to boost the film industry. Among these challenges include: lack of funding, lack of technology, lack of well equipped training facilities, censorship, equipment shortage and many others that will be outlined and explained.

Background of the study Unease has been raised world over about the dwindling rate of the film industry in African societies. Considering the historical development of the film industry from a global perspective, much of the film marketing literature fails to contextualize the current film market in Zimbabwe, Africa and beyond. The film industry is just over one hundred years old, and, for the majority of its existence, has been dominated by the Hollywood majors. Despite sporadic success for non –Hollywood films within their home countries as well as overseas, like Nigerian (Nollywood ) or Indian (Hollywood) movies, US Hollywood paradigm tend to dominate the international box office. Ellis (2004; 32).

If we are to trace the development of the Hollywood industry and the problems posed by this increasing domination for the European film industry, one can note that despite early beliefs that this domination could be redressed, the European and Hollywood film industries are constant in battle. Similarly, despite strong domestic performances by India, Nigeria and Europe and to a lesser degree, Korean film and most Asian films, America still dominates the global box office. While the number of films produced respectively in India, Nigeria and beyond is greater than in USA, for instance Nollywood is the second largest film producing industry in the world. F. Kerrigan (2010) is of the view that, numbers of films produced does nor correlates to the level of international exposure or revenue earned. The reasons behind this disparity have long been the source of investigation and many explanations have been proposed.

Film is not merchandise…indeed precisely because film is not merchandise we can compete with America…. In the cinema, Geist (spirit) can balance the monetary supremacy of the competition…Buscombe (1977). Some of the key factors that have been overlooked however, include the commercial element, marketing and distribution, structural considerations and a lack of a strong international film entrance hall thus most European filmmakers are at least acknowledging that they must make money, whereas it’s still an assumption that Africans are central and restricted to traditional themes. Kindmen (2000:2).

Given a situation in Zimbabwe where the economy has dollarized since 2009, these factors have been disregarded and as such there has emerged a stunted growth in the Film Industry. Consequently, it follows therefore this research is determined to explore the facts on the ground that leads to a stunted growth of the Film Industry in Africa, in as much as they are recognized in their ability of producing large quantities for instance Nigeria ‘Nollywood’ film industry, but paying particular attention to Zimbabwe from both the colonial and post colonial periods.

Significance/ Justification The research seeks to fill the knowledge gap in the extent to which the Zimbabwean Film industry has been unable to cope and produce much in a dollarized economy. The research precisely takes shape of establishing a factual review or knowledge base on the impact and dominance of the Hollywood Film industry, particularly the negative effect created in the context of or areas of production, funding, marketing and distribution. However in Zimbabwe in spite of a dollarized economy the film industry has failed to produce a number of movies and posing such a question requires an in-depth study of the film industry to identify the problem.

One of the factors hindering the growth of film industry in Africa is lack of financial resources or limited funding. Movie making as noted by Ogbor (1999) is capital intensive. Shooting a good film requires large sums of money, which can span to $60 million in developed countries to pay for transport, crew, props, equipment hiring and other factors involved in production of film. In African countries this money is not readily available to the filmmaker. What makes the situation worse as noted by Augustine-Ufua Enahora (1989) is that film is a risk business which does not guarantee revenue.

Statement of the problem The film industry in any given country has an influence on the growth of economy. Kerrigan (2010). However, the slow growth of the film Industry in Zimbabwe can be greatly attributed to the advancement of technology. In order for the indigenous film industry in Zimbabwe to produce quality films worthy of a global audience, there are a number of educational technological and commercial concerns that need to be addressed.

Objectives

By the end of this study the researcher must be able to; •Establish the factors leading to the underdeveloped expansion of the Zimbabwean film Industry in a dollarized economy •Investigate and explore the nature of the film industries and its impact on the economy. •Establish whether or not technology, financial and commercial concerns are central to this crisis.

Research questions •What has caused the decline in Zimbabwe’s film industry production? •Examining why and how competing economic and cultural objectives are negotiated in the Film Industry? •Which institutions or policy interventions in the film industry are central in eliminating the crisis? •What recommendations can be applied to solve the film production in Zimbabwe?

Limitations

The researcher is likely going to face difficulties in acquiring a relevant and unbiased analysis of Mighty Movies. The researcher is going to acquire informative archive articles from other Film sources apart from Mighty Movies like the WIFOZ or ZIFF; thereby the articulation may vary although expressing the very same line of film production. The researcher might as well face difficulties in setting up appointments for interviews with the various interviewees as they may probably be busy in some instances or moreover, other natural inconveniences.

The interviewees may also be prone to lying or desist from filling up information in questionnaires that can portray the Zimbabwean Film Industry in a favourable light. It follows therefore that secondary data may be used as an optional source for information. The researcher is going to face difficulties in acquiring financial backup to facilitate the interviewees for a contusive environment to partake the research as well as funds to travel periodically to the different Film Institutions in the country and other necessary places to source out every element of the required information.


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