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don't understand what an inventive spirit is: Interview with Carl
February 24, 2010
Inside / Out with Carl Ncube
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J Ncube has used his talent for creativity in diverse projects.
As an animator he wrote and directed Nyami-Nyami, the first animated
film to be shown in the history of the Zimbabwe International Film
Festival. He is also responsible for the introduction of motion
graphics to ZTV.
did you pick animation as a film genre?
It was a mistake in two parts. I was studying to be a nurse in England
and in between working at part time jobs, like security and hotels
or whatever and I randomly bought a book on flash animation. I was
already an artist anyway so I thought the coincidence was pretty
cool. When I came back to Zimbabwe someone heard that I did cartoons
and they hired me as an animator. I started by doing a couple of
animations for television, spinning logos and graphics, and then
started making my own little cartoons.
in your opinion is the state of animation in Zimbabwe?
I think we're getting ready for a bit of a boom. Interest
is certainly there. The facilities are there, and the technology
is working in our favour. The nice thing about animation is that
it's unorthodox, so we don't have to sit in large committee
rooms for the industry to get organised. I'm pretty excited
because our numbers are growing. A lot of kids in school want to
think Zimbabwean animators need to collaborate?
People just need to swallow their pride a little and come together.
A lot of people have their own animation projects that they want
to do. I think collectively they need to pick a project and work
it together. I think the industry will move a step further if they
stories inspire you?
I like demystifying stuff that people choose not to talk about.
I'm very keen on tokoloshes, Nyami Nyamis and all of these
goblins and things. I want to find out what secret society is lurking
behind Victoria Falls; what civilisation hid a treasure in the middle
of the Conical Tower . . . those kinds of things interest me. I
enjoy comedy and taking a satirical look at things. I want something
that identifies with who I am as a Zimbabwean.
a lot of artists, musicians and filmmakers. Yet there aren't
very many Zimbabwean stories out there. Where do you think the problem
We are suffering from cultural extinction, which comes from the
fact that our content isn't available online. For as long
as the Internet has more sites that are British or American in content,
we are less likely to convert our own content into that medium because
we don't see how it will work for us. Zimbabweans are failing
to see that it is our responsibility to get our stories online.
was a law a few years ago that mandated 100% local content in our
mainstream media; did it foster enough quality content?
What people misunderstand is that quality has to come from somewhere.
I think that we should have just been allowed to produce the content,
as bad as it was, then we can start tweaking it and making it better.
If we didn't have a starting point we wouldn't know
what to do. The problem with Zimbabwe is that we don't understand
what an inventive spirit is. Even with the advancement in technologies,
we don't understand how to build on stuff.
think our culture is static and doesn't allow for free expression?
Yes. It's always considered a taboo when you do something
contrary to the norm. We've got so many things that people
don't want to change because they're stuck in an old
fashioned way of thinking. That's how our culture is built.
Do something different and you will get burnt; there'll be
a public outcry. And the media are the ones who perpetuate that
even more by pushing the notion that things must remain the same.
What the media don't understand is that their role is to bring
do you think is the state of the creative industry in Zimbabwe?
I think the creative industry took a major blow when we allowed
companies to tell ‘creatives' how to do their job. Another
area is the whole NGO angle; everyone is doing things and playing
to the NGOs. That affects creativity completely if every story you
tell has something to do with AIDS. But meanwhile you've got
twenty thousand other stories that exist. I mean we understand that
NGOs have a particular story that they want to bring across, but
should that be at the expense of art? Is there no way that it can
be done more creatively?
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