By Faith N Tori
She has broken many odds against gender and stereotype by becoming an ambassador in the Zimbabwean film industry representing women. Monalisa Mupambashe has been involved in the arts, culture and entertainment industry for the past 15 years .Her work has not gone unnoticed in radio, television, film writing, production coordination and line production.
Between 2006-2008 she trained for script writing at Soul City health Institute and in 2008 was trained as a radio presenter by Feba tv where she also went on to train in Tv and Film production. She went on to attained a BA in Communications Sciences from UNISA in 2017 and was later enrolled by Fremantle Media Uk for Got Talent X Factor . Amakhosikazi Media’s Faith Tori got an opportunity to find out more about her professional journey in this exclusive one on one interview..
FT : Walk me through how your journey in filming started , who inspired you and what motivated you to get into this line of work.
MM : Growing up my first love was acting, if at school there was anything to do with drama, year end concerts you would definitely find me amongst the cast. This then propelled me to want to study drama and that’s how I ended up studying drama at the University of Pretoria. End of 2002 I had an opportunity of directing a theatre play titled “On Solid Ground. This play was part of a programme that Tsitsi Dangerembga was producing & directing for TV. After that event Tsitsi asked me if I had ever considered to venture into film/television because the way I had directed the play, I had paid attention to the camera positions and directed the play for TV. Immediately she offered me an opportunity that would change my life completely in 2003,which was to work on her feature film “Kare ka”. In that same year I got an opportunity to work at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival (ZIFF) and I also started working with Nakai Matema in the Short Film Projects. From these two experiences I knew that I wanted to persue a career in film not in front of the camera but behind the scenes and working in production.
My story can never be complete without mentioning various women that have inspired and contributed to my growth in the Zimbabwean Industry Tsitsi Dangerembgwa, Jackie Cahi Rumbi Katedza, Nakai Matema and Dorothy Meck.
FT:What kind of experience do you have producing live broadcasts ,films and recording or non-broadcast programming for public entertainment or education? May you share examples?
MM : While in South Africa I got exposed to reality TV and some of my highlights would be working on 5 seasons of SA’s Got Talent , starting off as a Production Manager & eventually being a Series Producer of the show. I also Line Produced on The Voice Nigeria Season 1 and The Voice South Africa Season 2.
FT: From your experience, what is the key to developing a good team:
MM : Team work, in film or television we don’t operate in silos but work as a team to ensure that the production is complete.
FT : what is the key to success when communicating with your public:
MM : Its always important to know your target audience .
FT :Tell me how you organize, plan and prioritize your work.
MM :: Whenever I start on any production the first thing I always tackle first day is the production schedule. The schedule for me forms the basis of the production and that becomes the guide for the entire production. From there each day I put together my Things to do list and weekly I have a weekly status meetings with everyone on the production.
FT : Which big companies have you worked for or with and what were your roles;
MM: For 7 years I worked for Rapid Blue in these roles:
AMPN –I was the Line Producer for The Voice South Africa ,The Voice Nigeria
JLP Television –I was a director and producer ,worked in bringing out the Blue Wave Africa ,Global Fund –Her Campaign and Beat T v (Inserts).
The Tv Smiths-Series Producer - Raising Babies 101
Christ Tv –Producer for Permican Gospel Awards
Rapid Blue-Line Producer for I’m a celebrity get me out of here(Angola-Pilot)
Rapid Blue-Series and Line Producer –SA Got Talent
Rapid Blue –SA Tourism Commercials
FT: How do you view Zimbabwe filming industry compared to other countries?
MM: : As an Industry we have so much potential, with the support from the various stake holders the film industry can contribute significantly to the economy of the country.
FT: Do you have any persons you have mentored or you want to mentor.
MM: : I’m a product of mentorship and I value this, so whenever I can get an opportunity to do I’m fulfilled that’s my way of giving back. So I have mentored a couple of people both In the Zimbabwe & SA industry.
FT: Walk me through how you collaborate with film and sound editors during the post-production process as films are edited and soundtracks are added:
MM :I’ll use an example of an episode that’s being produced for TV, we usually would take 3 – 4 days in offline editing depending on the duration of the episode. We then dedicate a day to Online, and we then go into final mixing & we record a voice over. Once the final mix is ready we get the audio and marry it to the picture.
FT: As one of the outstanding film producers in Zimbabwe ,what can you advise other upcoming female film makers:
MM : If you take your craft seriously people will take you seriously. Be professional in your approach to everything. Always ask if you’re not sure about something, we never stop learning. Find spaces & people that inspire you. Self- development is key and empower yourself.
FT: How do you choose settings and locations for films and determine how scenes will be shot in these settings.
MM : Various factors contribute but I always try to ensure that we get locations as they are depicted in the script. I also look at distances between locations, time is money so I try to ensure that all locations are in the same suburb.
FT: How do you select plays or scripts for production and determine how material should be interpreted and performed.
MM : I look at the storyline & intent of the production. Who is the target audience? Which platforms will the final programme be flighted on? Whats the Budget
Monalisa Mupambawashe can be reached on