Zimbabwe: Foreign Clients Fleecing Local Artistes - Filmmaker

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12 August 2019

Local artistes have raised concern over foreign clients who are fleecing them by undervaluing their products and services.

Renowned playwright and filmmaker Patience Tawengwa narrates her ordeal. "I was once asked by one foreign gentleman to document a project he was working on in the country after he had come across my work. They were eager for our team to start filming the next day, but I told him we had to first agree on a budget. They sent me a brief about the project and I prepared a quote for them and e-mailed it.

"In less than an hour I got a response from the prospective client saying my prices were too high and besides he had obtained two other quotations from other Zimbabwean producers," she said.

Tawengwa said one quote from a local filmmaker had suggested a US$150 flat fee to carry out a four- to five-day shoot, which would include drone photography, while another quotation suggested an exchange of services, which would see the local producer getting a website after shooting and editing.

"I was quick to send the prospective client an e-mail telling him there was no way I could ever produce anything of value for such an amount and it would probably be best if he chose one of the other producers," she said.

"Incidentally I knew someone who was working with this prospective client on another facet of their project which had nothing to do with media. They were paying full market value for every other service they needed in order to successfully execute their project, but when it came to filming and documenting the process all it took was ourselves to undervalue what we do. "

Tawengwa said the local art industry lacks structures and guidelines that safeguards artistes. "The greatest threat to the commercialisation and development of the Zimbabwean arts industry is the desperation of the local artistes. Our industry lacks structures and standards so this makes it easy for situations such as the above mentioned to continue happening,"

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