Two years ago the dynamic partnership of UK-based Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska and Zimbabwean Joe Njagu produced the controversial and highly rated play Lovers in Time, shown at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA). Following the success of this experience Lovers in Time was adapted for film in an experimental documentary that has gone on to be recognised internationally, winning an award at a film festival in India and being nominated in the Best Film category last year at the Out of Africa Festival in Kenya.
Piotrowska and Njagu went on to form a collaboration they have called Thinking Films, producing four shorts in the last year and with two new projects in the pipeline. One of these projects is the feature film Escape, which is set to launch at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF) in August this year. Escape is an original script by Piotrowska, which she is co-producing with Njagu, who will edit and direct photography of the feature.
The cast consists of seasoned actors as well as eager new-comers to the film scene. Some of those appearing in the film include Selmor Mtukudzi (who has recently been nominated in the Outstanding Female Artist category for NAMA), Nothando Nobengula, Eddie Sandifolo and Munya Chidzonga (who is also working behind the camera as line producer). This African film noir follows the story of a young man who travels to Zimbabwe from London following the death of his mother. Though his journey begins as a search for his father and other relatives, Charles (played by José Marques) comes to find that there is much to discover about himself along the way. A story that interrogates themes of love, loss, identity and race, Escape seeks to provoke discussion and captivate viewers.
Highly pleased with the trajectory of the film so far, Piotrowska, who is currently on research leave from the University of Bedfordshire, declares that she is “delighted that the collaboration is progressing so successfully” and that she feels “privileged to work in Zimbabwe with such enthusiastic and energetic individuals.”
Photo: The cast of ‘Escape’ during a read through of the script.