Zoe Chiriseri selected for African producers forum


The Chronicle

Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Reporter

FILMMAKER Zoe Ramushu nee Chiriseri continues to raise the country’s flag high after she was selected to be part of Africa’s top 15 producers forum.

Africa filmmaking agency, Realness Institute, selected 15 participants for its second Creative Producer Indaba, a lab for developing entrepreneurial, leadership, and creative skills among producers looking to work on the continent.

The scheme is being presented in partnership with European training body EAVE, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR)’s industry platform IFFR Pro, and Marrakech International Film Festival’s Atlas Workshops.

The 2022 lab will take place online from November 14-17 as part of the Atlas Workshops; then in person at IFFR in January and February 2023.

The programme includes workshops, discussions, case studies and one-on-one meetings with mentorship focused on the development of projects.

Speaking to Chronicle Showbiz, Zoe said she is geared up for the events. “We’ll be attending two film markets, one in Marrakech in November and another in Rotterdam at the end of January next year.

My project name is Pretty Hustle. It won the pitch at DFM Access 2021 and was the first and only episodic to be pitched at the main DFM Finance Forum.”

Pretty Hustle won at the Durban Film Mart last year with Zoe saying it is going to be pitched for more funding at Marrakech film market and Rotterdam film market.

“Such recognition to be identified as one of the best 15 producers in the land feels like validation that what seems brilliant in your head may actually turn into absolute magic on screen.

We’re still a few steps away from that, but I stand in faith,” said Zoe.

She said the concept came in an intriguing way and since then, she has never looked back.

“The concept for Pretty Hustle came to me while I was in the shower. I visualised almost the whole thing and once I was done showering, I wrote it down immediately.

I had such a clear vision of it and so it was exciting but also daunting to share and pitch it at its development stage.”

Mehret Mandefro, director of development and partnership at the Realness Institute said: “These producers represent a diverse range of voices and interests with solid or growing networks from Africa and beyond.

Zoe Ramushu and husband

Following our highly successful CPI last year, we’ve seen how these intense programmes can provide opportunities for filmmakers to move forward with their ideas and projects.”

Zoe has been doing wonders this year as her production Intelligent/Botlhale was showcased at the New York Africa Film Festival in May. Another production, To The Plate, was shortlisted for the BAFTA Student Film Awards last year.

Another, It Takes A Circus that she worked on alongside directors Gopika Ajan and Annick Laurent was a finalist for the 48th Student Academy Awards (Oscars). – @mthabisi_mthire

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