POPULAR television actor Lazarus Boora is to star in a feature film called "Gringo - Chikwambo Chiya Chadzoka", which is an adaptation of his 1990s sitcom "Gringo".
The 90-minute long film was written by Enock Chihombori and directed by famous television actor Ben Mahaka, who made a name for himself as Tom Mbambo in the popular ZBC-TV soapie Studio 263.
Mahaka also directed the Nama award-winning film "Bitter Pill".
The shooting of the movie started at the weekend and retains most of the cast that featured in the original Gringo television series.
These include Gringo's equally humourous sidekick Mbudziyadhura (real name Blessing Chimhowa), Gweshegweshe (William Matenga), who starred as Gringo's no-nonsense employer, while Tapiwa Mavindidze, who acted as VJ in Studio 263, makes a maiden appearance in the film as John, the young man who falls prey to Gringo's wily machinations.
The film centres on a young man - John - who is head over heels with a beautiful young woman called Mary (played by Evangelista Mwatse) whom he wants to marry.
His dreams of marrying her are, however, dashed after he approaches a traditional healer and inadvertently falls into the trap of the devious Gringo.
Producer of the movie Lillian Chidavaenzi said the film was set for release between March and April.
She said they decided to adapt the comedy into a movie to capture a wider audience.
"Most of us have seen it (Gringo) on television but now we have decided to take it to the big screen mainly to provide entertainment and reach out to a wider audience," she said.
Lillian, however, cited piracy as one of the major challenges affecting the film industry, and called upon the powers that be to put in place stiff penalties against perpetrators of this shameful act.
"We are challenging all stakeholders to come up with ideas to bring piracy to an end because once this movie is released, some people might end up pirating it.
"Piracy is affecting our industry; there is no policy that protects us from the illegal practice which is akin to rape or cattle rustling. There has been some lobbying for a policy to cushion us so that we reap from our productions," Lillian said.
Most of the cast and crew of the movie were present at the unveiling of the new production at a Harare hotel last week.
Lazarus Boora - who is the main character in the movie - said he was raring to go and give movie buffs value for their money with his rib-cracking pranks.
"I cannot say much expect that all that I am waiting for is for the cameras to start rolling," he said.
Gweshegweshe also echoed the same sentiments saying they were dedicated to taking the local acting industry to another level but challenged authorities especially the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity to also encompass the film industry in their endeavours.
"They are pushing much on the music side leaving out the film industry. They should come up with an Act that also encompasses the acting industry," he said.
"Gringo" is one of the best dramas to be screened on ZBC-TV.
It first hit the screens in 1998 with its first series simply titled "Gringo", followed by the sequel "NdiGringo Chete".
"Gringo Mari Iripi" followed up in 2003 before a DVD compilation was released by Zimbabwe Music Corporation (ZMC) in 2007 with support from the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe.
Then the production went into owing to financial challenges until new partners in the form of Alternatives Incorporated Media Services, Nextpage Concepts and Ben Mahaka came on board.