EIGHT years ago, award-winning filmmaker Shem Zemura failed in his bid to join the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), a development that has left him disgruntled and desperate.
While the failure to enter the ZRP understandably discouraged Shem, her older brother Nick, who had lent her a suit for the interview, was pleased with the outcome.
“He would have been a policeman, but thank God he’s not. When he failed the police interview, I was over the moon because I saw great potential in him as an artist,” he said. said Nick.
He told the Daily News on Sunday that he was delighted that his faith in his younger brother’s talent had proven right.
At just 33 years old, Shem already boasts of a few National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) as well as several acclaimed movies and drama series, including the telenovela ‘Tangled’ which has already garnered a huge following on the recently launched 3Ktv, accessible on channel 293 on Dstv.
The passionate filmmaker is also known for his directorial role in productions such as Death and other Complications (2018), Kushata KweMoyo (2018), TV series Muzita RaBaba (2016), TV movie The Fall Of Esau (2017) and Departed . (2017).
“He’s become a perfectionist when it comes to video editing and directing,” said the US-based elder Zemura.
Nick was impressed with Shem’s obsession with quality.
“When Tangled aired on 3Ktv, I wasn’t even worried because I know my brother’s abilities. He’s a good playwright but his only problem is that he’s too much of a perfectionist. He’s not interested in producing half-baked goods and because of that he sometimes spends too much time on projects,” he said.
Tangled is a telenovela about the seemingly not-so-perfect lives of two best friends. Their lives are turned upside down to the point of being murdered when a boyfriend’s overprotective mother threatens him to choose between career and love.
The telenovela airs Monday through Thursday at 7:00 p.m. on 3Ktv (DStv channel 293).
“We work like brothers – me, Shem and Mike – on all of our productions. It is difficult to separate us,” he told the Daily News on Sunday.
Growing up in the Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe district of Mashonaland East, Shem, who comes from an art-loving family, has always had an interest in traditional dance and drama. At Machekera Primary School located in the village of Chimaga, where he was raised, Shem made a name for himself by performing in plays and in the traditional dance team.
But it was at Johannesburg High School, Albert Street School, a refugee institution run by the Central Methodist Church, that Shem’s directing career began. Shem directed and starred in a play which was staged at the Hillbrow Theatre.
Shem’s career as a filmmaker really took off in 2014 when he returned to Zimbabwe to join his brothers Nick and Michael who were in film.
The trio founded the production company Mirazvo Productions. It was then that he made the film My Lady, which tells the story of a man who falls in love with a university student who prostitutes herself to pay for her studies. The film was nominated for three Nama Awards.
In 2016, Shem and his two brothers started a television comedy called Muchaneta.
“Muchaneta was a big hit and marked a new era in the television industry. ZAMPS ranked it as the most-watched TV show of 2016, beating prime-time news. It was nominated for various awards. Later that year we launched a new TV series, Muzita RaBaba, which Nick directed in 2016, Michael in 2017 and I in 2018,” he recalled.
Muzita RaBaba featured some of Zimbabwe’s biggest music stars in the form of Ammara Brown and Mudiwa Hood. The cast also included the inimitable Hope Masike.
“It was a major success, winning awards such as: Nama Best Production 2017, ZIFFT Best Actress 2017, IIFF Best Actress 2017, Nama Best Production 2018 and Nama Best Actress 2018.
“In 2018, we successfully made two films, Kushata Kwemoyo and Death And Other Complications. Both were nominated for Nama Awards in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
“Kushata KweMoyo won two awards: best feature film and best actor. The film is currently nominated for three awards, including Best Production, Best Actress and Best Editor, at the Lake Pan-African International Film Festival being held this month in Kenya,” he said. .
Even the sky is not the limit for Shem who became one of the independent producers of the brand new 3Ktv.
“I have always been passionate about telling African stories to the world. I believe my future role in the industry is to help establish a better creative, legal and political environment for the future generation of filmmakers in Zimbabwe, so that they can better tell our stories and reach the world.
“I would like to create a bridge across all borders in Africa and across the world so that Zimbabwean content can shine and be visible, through the production of high quality cross-border collaborations and we must invest in our arts despite all the difficulties economic”. obstacles,” he said.