JOURNALIST, filmmaker and former public prosecutor Olley Maruma’s role in the film industry was acknowledged last week when he received the Zimbabwe Film Service Award during the Zimbabwe International Film Festival that ended yesterday in Harare.

The festival that celebrated its 10th anniversary started on August 24.

Maruma, who has produced several documentaries, films and has a vast experience as both print and electronic journalist is also a writer whose book Coming Home was published this year.

Renowned actor and Pakare Paye Arts Centre manager Watson Chidzomba is this year’s Zimbabwe International Film Festival Calabash Award winner.

Chidzomba, who acted in ZimLife and Fragments among many other productions, was awarded for his brilliant work as director of the short film titled Zvemudundundu during the festival’s closing ceremony.

The film is about a young villager who thought his hobby was spending time in the bush hunting birds and enjoying outdoor living until his body started hunting, dreaming, thinking and getting excited about women.

The Best Documentary Award was won by a German movie titled Shoot Back that was shot on location in one of Kenya’s worst slums — Mthare District. It features four protagonists whose fathers have either died from Aids related illnesses or fallen victim to violence while for their mothers, life is a daily struggle to raise them and their siblings, feed and clothe them and pay their school fees.

The Lives of Others from Germany was chosen as the Best Picture Award and the Audience Choice Award for its great central truths about the courage and costs required in making moral choices during dangerous times.

Another Germany project Eels won the Best Animated Film Award while Dark Side from Spain received the Best Short Film Award.

An unknown Zimbabwean actress, Kudzai Chimbaira, won the best performance in the short film project for her role as Ruth in The Return which exposes society’s prejudices and the difficulties and discrimination she endures to get her life back together.

The best short film project went to Fish in the Flat or the Truck Driver that was written by Garikai Chawasarira and is about Skanyiso a long distance truck driver who is away from home for long periods forcing his wife to seek the company of a male neighbour.

Bollywood actor Nedumudi Venu landed the best actor award for his role in the Indian film Saira in which he acted so compellingly and convincingly in his portrayal of a man caught between tradition and modernity and secularism and fundamentalism. For her brilliant and convincing performance in the movie The Axe (Le Couperet), the Romanian Karin Viard is this year’s best actress while Steve Hudson and George Clooney received the Best Screenplay for Best Night and Good Luck.

The Spanish director Pedro Almodavar is the Best Director this year for his movie the Volver whose story is complicated but told with grace, wit and passion.

Source: The Herald, 03 September 2007