By Nkosana Dlamini

United States based maker, Munyaradzi Munyati says he is willing to offer his expertise amassed over many years abroad to help improve Zimbabwe’s film industry which still lags behind other countries in terms of advanced knowledge and access to competitive resources.

Speaking to ZimLive through phone from his base, Munyati also encouraged fellow Zimbabweans who have gathered their own wealth of expertise in different fields of the arts industry abroad to share their knowledge with their compatriots so as “to foster the next generation of film makers and creative”.

Now 26, the artiste left Zimbabwe for Hong Kong at the age of 17 and has toured different parts of the world, deepening his knowledge and understanding of film and media.

“I didn’t believe I was capable of working in the arts until I left Zimbabwe and learned about the many ways in which people can be artists today,” he says.

HORIZONTAL

Munyati now works at Vice Media and believes his success story helps bring attention to the fact that the arts in Zimbabwe needs investment from abroad.

As a Zimbabwean who has achieved success at the highest level of the trade, Munyati says he is ready to inspire his compatriots that they also can soar high in their beloved trade.

He says Zimbabwe has talent and hunger for success among artists but what stops a lot of film makers from achieving their dreams was access to resources.

Munyati says of his exploits in the arts, “I spent two years in Hong Kong where I went through the bulk of my technical camera learning.

HORIZONTAL

“I then spent a year in the Ecuadorian Amazon as a Media Fellow for Global Citizen Year, where I documented my experiences living in the Amazon making use of multimedia.

“My formal education in film and Media began at Middlebury College where I graduated Cum Laude with Honours in Film and Media Culture.

“Additionally, I spent time at the New York Film Academy where I completed the 8-week filmmaking certificate course.”

He added, “My first short film, ‘I Don’t Want to Be a Foreigner Forever’ is a political documentary that speaks to the issues surrounding the significant ‘brain drain’ experienced by Zimbabwe.

“This short film exemplifies my success in presenting the realities experienced by Zimbabweans in a manner that is engaging and informative while also staying true to the mission of sharing stories of Zimbabweans and from Zimbabwe, which is something that I always try to do in my work.

“Off the success of my short film, I was hired by Vice Media Group to join their Digital Video team as an associate producer.

“On this team, I play an active role in pitching ideas, and producing videos from start to finish before their delivery to Vice’s Digital Platform.

“Some noticeable videos I have worked on recently are: King of Coney Island – Bing Bong, How a Chemical Company Created a Ghost Town, Overlooked King Crab, Omakase & Suckling Pig, Cote Chef’s Night Out.”

Each of these videos has over 200k views and is performing well on the digital platform.

The video “King of Coney Island – Bing Bong” is the first video that Munyati pitched at Vice within my first month and is far outperforming the average video on Vice’s digital platform (Benchmark is 100k in the first day, this video was at 250k in the first day and has continued to rise and is steadily approaching 1 million views).

Adds Munyati, “As a Zimbabwean who grew up in Harare watching Vice News, I never imagined that one day I would see Zimbabweans in the producer role at such a large media company, let alone being the Zimbabwean who is producing!

“My goals regarding my work in Film and Media have always been with the desire to ensure that Zimbabweans are represented in world Media and while my current work is largely focused on sharing stories, my ultimate goal regarding film and media is to ensure that I can create a space in Zimbabwe where young Zimbabweans can get access to the equipment and education to become amongst the best filmmakers and journalist in the world.”

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