ZimExcellence

Joe Njagu : Leap Of Faith (2)

September 29, 2021 CULTURELLE Episode 22
ZimExcellence
Joe Njagu : Leap Of Faith (2)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Joe Njagu is a Zimbabwean filmmaker who directed his debut feature film Lobola in 2010, which paved the way for a new chapter of independent film-making in Zimbabwe. His next feature film, The Gentleman, won him Best Foreign Language Director at the America International Film Festival and Best Film at the NAMA awards in 2012. He has directed several other feature films, including Something Nice from London, Escape, Tete B and The Letter. Joe has also produced the multi award winning film Cook Off - the first Zimbabwean film to be acquired by Netflix. Joe is a YALI alumni and a Mandela Washington Fellow, the flagship program of President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative. In 2014, he was listed among the top 35 under 35 in Media in Africa by the non-profit Young Professionals in International Affairs. Joe was recently awarded with a NAMA legend award in 2021, He runs Joe Njagu films based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Website: www.joenjagufilms.com 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joenjagu

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joenjagu

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/joenjagu

IMDB :
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4755154/ 

Resources mentioned: 

FilmContact.com
PlayAfrika
Side By Side (2012) documentary 

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Joe: Ben Mahaka called, he says “Call me back.” And there's a number. So I'm left holding it and going, whoa. And my dad is like, hey iwe (you) ndiBen Mahaka upi? (which Ben Mahaka is this?) [laughter]

Vongai: That's like, I guess having like Tom Cruise call you or something?

Joe: Yes or Denzel.

Vongai: Yes and you’re like

Both: Denzel called? Joe: and he says call him back? So you know, those days when parents used to lock the landline. And if you want to make a call, if it's really important, they would unlock it for you.

Vongai: Yeah that was at my at my grandmother's house.

Joe: My dad would lock it. 

So my dad goes, let me go get the keys from the bedroom. So I'm just standing there. I'm holding this little note, right. And he comes, he unlocks the phone. And he’s like Call him, Call him. [laughter]

Vongai: He’s going to watch you on the phone. Like Dad give me some space.

Joe: He was there. So dialed. Like, can I speak to Ben and he, Ben answered. He's like, Hey, Joe. Let's meet on Tuesday. I did it. I really like this. Let's see what we can do. And I cut the phone. And my dad’s like you were talking to him? And I’m like yeah. And he’s like what did he want? Like, he wants to turn my script into a movie. He’s like, what does that mean? So that was like his first time showing interest in this whole zvemadrama drama as he called it. So he sits there, I'm explaining to him. And he's like, Oh, really? I’m like yeah, y’know. So that became my fifth production to be made. It was a film called Bitter Pill, which Ben, he starred in and he directed. Tatenda starred as well and produced, you know, and I could say, I think that's, that began my career to be honest, because like, from then never looked back and, and production was done. And then the icing on the cake it then Ben Ben then pushed it and sold it to, to DSTV, to M-Net. There it was showing on M-Net and I remember, every time every time. So I recorded it off a VHS off, M-Net, right, and with the logo and all that showing the film, and every time someone would come to the house, I'd just play it and then pause where my name comes on the screen. Where you’re like see, see, you see what that says.

Vongai: That’s so dope that's like selling the film to like an AT&T or like to Sky. For the international comparison.

Joe: Yes, yes exactly and it's like your first production, you know? So it's almost like, Oh, wow. You know. And so from there, I don't think I've looked back at all then teamed up with Rufaro Kaseke who is based in the UK now. So he's sort of like became, we became like a tag team, you know, like he was producer, I was writer/director. We then. I remember at the time, I was reading a lot, I was so fascinated by Hollywood, I still am. I feel like that's like the holy grail of filmmaking. So I was reading, I can’t remember what the name of the book was, but it was explaining a lot about the star system and how to sell out, selling points and film.

Vongai: The studio system, yeah.

Joe: Yeah, but then I'm reading about that in an in an environment where there are no studios that doesn't exist yet, right? We're working on this short film, called Lobola, the one we actually turned into the feature film. So we're working on this short film, it was like six minutes with Rufaro. Rufaro’s producing it and making it and then we make it. And we were, we were part of the Jabula Church, media team. And then people were showing you the church, people are loving it. And people are going, turn it into a film, turn it into a film. And I'm like, I'm saying to Rufaro because we thought we were coming. I'd been assessing whether I should leave for good, or stay. Right. And the staying part was so hard because there's no industry, there was no industry to talk about, right? And assessing where we were coming from as an industry. Like the way I saw it was it was almost like a like a sleeping giant, where we had something going on back then. Then it just sort of like, not died slept, right. So it was like dormant in a way. But where we were coming from is not what I wanted. Because I felt like the era that we call the Zimbabwean industry boom, it was not really an industry. It wasn't commercial, right? So it wasn't sustainable. Because it was almost like films were being made. filmmaking was actually just being used as a tool to pass on information. You know, there's a scare on HIV, inheritance laws da-da-da, let's spread the message to the masses. So they’re throwing money, let's make Yellowcard. Let's make Everyone's Child. Let's make Neria. Right? So a lot of the people that were part of that system, right, had been conditioned into that kind of filmmaking. Where they were waiting for the next donor to pump up money and then make something. And this was something I realized, right, where I was like, you know, what, if I'm not going to be part of the waiting game, right, and wait. My thinking was not even on that whole messaging type of filmmaking. Rufaro would call me Michael Bay then. He’s like, ha you, you and your Michael Bay gwan. [laughter] 

Vongai: It's okay, I want to watch something blow up.

Joe: Yeah. I was thinking commercially, and I was thinking, how are we going to do it? So I remember having a conversation with Rufaro and saying to him, dude, let's just follow this Hollywood model, right? For for this production, right. And let's start by finding a star, like, the Hollywood uses a star system. So who are we gonna use as a star to push this on. And I remember at the time, we had chosen Leroy Gopal who was in South Africa at the time. He was in YellowCard the lead in YellowCard. And I remember we even had a conversation on the phone, and we spoke. But then it became to a scheduling issue where he wasn't available the time we wanted to shoot and he was only available after like, eight months. And we were like, should we wait eight months? Or should we find another star to ride on? So this is when Big Brother just come on. Big Brother Africa, the TV series. And Munya had just come back. Munya Chidzonga from Big Brother 3. And he was a hit you know, but Rufaro didn't know who he was because Rufaro didn’t watch reality. So when I suggested him to Rufaro, Rufaro’s like who's that? I'm like, No dude he’s big. And I'm trying to convince Rufaro to say No, Munya this. We tracked down Munya and then we book a meeting. The day we're meeting, right? We discover that Manya is actually is actually finished his acting degree from AFDA. He's actually a filmmaker. And then we were just thinking of using him as a star card. Right? That sort of like that moment gave birth to the three of us – me, Rufaro and Munya. So we became like this force, like, you know, what, we sharing the same vision, same dream. And I think we went on to make like four films together. You know, after that, it became like this whole roller coaster of activities, but like following up things to say okay, the one thing we were we that that that me and we're following was. Me and Rufaro we were always hungry for the next level to say, okay, we've done this, what's the next level? How can we propel to the next level? Like, okay, fine with with, with like, we when we did Lobola and The Gentleman were like, okay, let's see how we can actually explore other markets. How we can explore. And I've always been interested, like in the Zim diaspora, you know, and I remember we pushed like, 2011 I think that was our first push, when we pushed and we were having these premieres in London for the films right. And, and the response, you know, was, it was so encouraging to see. Like okay, dude, there's a market out there. Because we knew that it's not just all about Zimbabwe. And when we did Lobola, and then we pushed it locally, commercially. And it was so successful, I think we pushed about 100,000 DVDs in a space of two months, you know, and we're like dude this can actually happen. Because for us, it was like, film has to make sense. You have to sell one film to be able to make the next film so that it's sustainable. That's sort of like the push that we were trying to get on. So that's sort of like been the journey of from  film to film to film to film. That we've been on since I think this is like my 16th year in film. Yeah, crazy.

Vongai: Wow. That is so dope dot org. Yeah there's something to be said about. There's this misconception. I think especially now with like Cook Off being on Netflix. People just assume that you just like, make a movie, like, let's make a movie, and it's gonna make money. Yeah, but like, that's not how it works. People need to understand there are so many movies that don't make a lot of money

Joe: Yeah millions and millions or films.

Vongai: Yeah, like losing so much money. And and you know, you don't recoup back. And then there are also movies that are really good that just never get made that never get greenlit or like being. I talked to Gideon about this. And I say, being a writer is possibly more difficult than, you know, the life of an actor, because there's so much rejection and people telling you rework this idea, it won't work for this market. And this mark, there's this funny video that I don't know if you saw it, it was on Twitter, where this lady said, Hi, I'm going to teach you how to get your TV show greenlit in three simple steps. But like the joke wasn't, it wasn't three simple steps. And then like, it involved like and now you have to wait for the producers to come back, because they like to take long vacations, or like and now it has to be tested by Bryce in this Midwestern town. If Bryce doesn't like it, like you have to start again. It was hilarious.

Joe: And especially being a filmmaker here, right? We had the privilege of going out for like training Europe, America. And the challenge with that, and then coming back home in wanting to create here. I'm sure a lot of people that train out and then come back find the same challenge where it's like, you gave the good example saying all steps to get your TV or your show greenlit find a producer, a producer is going to pitch the studio and we would be taught all this right? But then you come in this environment and then you're like, Okay, where's the studio? Where is the producer? So it doesn't feel he what is the studio, giving all this knowledge, which doesn't apply in your environment. So that's something that's forced me to start wearing so many caps, you know, where I was like, either I leave, like, I remember me and my partner Rufaro. We were talking about this. We had this moment where he decided to leave. He’s like, dude, I know, we've pushed, but it's like, let's leave. Let's go. And we were actually having this conversation. We had already left. I remember we were in London then, right. And he's like, and we had not planned this, right, we'd gone there for a premiere, we're pushing and we were doing these film workshops and all that. And he was sitting in the hotel room. And he says to me, dude, let's not go back. Right? Like what do you mean? He said, let’s not go back. Like let's stay. He’s like dude what's there like we're just fighting and fighting to create stuff. But here there are systems, we can be set. And he almost convinced me like but it's it was in a way where I felt like the two of us had different visions, right, where I saw it from a bigger picture angle where I saw this is an opportunity where you can be a fish, a shark in a fishbowl or you can be a kapenta in a big ocean. Right? Right. And coming home to. Like I see the Zimbabwean film industry as almost like an uncut rough diamond, you know, that's just waiting to be sharpened. And then the number of stories that we have here in Zim man, like we haven’t even started, we haven’t even scratched the surface right, with the stories? And Rufaro decided to stay right. And it's just something I respected and he's still there now. He’s now a film academic. If he gets to listen to this. But yeah he is finishing off his PhD in film, you know. So he's a film academic, I’m a field practitioner, and we were laughing it off the other day. I'm like, dude, you know, being a professor in film, the next thing you’ll be starting your own critic company or film critiquing, and yeah, but he's enjoying it, and I'm happy for him. But it's almost been nice to watch ourselves succeed on two different poles, but in the same industry, you know, and that journey right like that hunger I keep talking about, like you mentioned with Cook Off, right? It's almost like when CookOff happened, right, I just come back from this fellowship from that YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship, and we had the opportunity to even meet the president, then Barack Obama, you know. He kept hammering to us, right. The way Africa is perceived is our fault as filmmakers. Right?

Vongai: Yeah. It’s true, it’s true.

Joe: And I remember, like, I remember him saying, “Everyone do you have a phone? Take out your phone. Go on Google, type Africa. Click on images. Boom, what do you see? Do you see any technology? Do you see any car? Do you see any building? Do you see any? None of that there? Do you see animals?” So that image and he even joked and said like people America is a superpower because because Hollywood in itself. It's propaganda. It's a tool. Film is being used as a big tool. But commercially, right? So. So that challenge in itself, like, I was back in Zim and on this zeal of like, I want to push for the positive narrative of Africa. It's my job and there was this satisfaction to it of finding myself because I'm sure you would attest to this. Where us as artists, you're trying to find your voice you're trying to find, okay, what am I about? And I felt that moment, I'd found what I'm about, I want to positively change the African narrative, using myself as a filmmaker, and Tom, Thomas Brickhill, who's the writer and director of CookOff. He had been writing this script for a while, and he had been sending me drafts like, oh, here's a script. What do you think? And I was sending him notes and all that? And, and then, by the time I got here, that was the time when he wanted to start making it and, and he was on his own. Like, he had no team, nothing. And he was pushing on his own and I’d just consult, he’d be calling me, asking me questions. And then this one day just calls me up. He's like, oh, let's meet up for a drink. So we go, we're sitting there. And he's like, dude, I'm calling your bluff. Right? So we've got these local Zimbabwean film groups where I'm always trying to push for collaboration of like, Guys, can we collaborate? Like let's stop just inviting each other to premieres? And then asking me what I think about your film. It's already done. So you're inviting me at the end? And then asking me what I think. But you could have sent me the script. And I could have said something, you know, what's, it gonna change? It's done already. Right? So so he’s like, I'm calling your bluff. Collaboration, collaboration, you keep talking about it? Let's do, let's collaborate on this. Right. And it and it was a project that came where I felt like it's a positive narrative. You know, it's like, it's like a different perspective to the usual Zimbabwe, Mugabe, politics that people were used to.

Vongai: Yeaaah

Joe: You know, so so that was the beauty of that project where, because I believe, I feel like, I'm on I'm on, I'm on a path that guided like, I believe in God, right. And I believe God has a path for me. And he will throw people in your path, you know, where, like, is not going to come down and be like, Oh, I'm helping you like this. But no.

Vongai: I always say follow the clues. Keep your eyes open and follow the clues.

Joe: And it also the thing about clues is that. I call them opportunities, it's like, grabbing that opportunity of a lifetime, in the lifetime of the opportunity because the lifetime can pass. Where you like, would think of it later and be like, oh, that could have been my chance. So I don't want to do that. I don't want to I don't want to wander next week to like, so I follow Him every clue as you call it. Like, if I feel at home, this could be and they usually all pay off, you know, where you're like, oh, okay, so this is the direction you want me to go? Let's go. Let's see what's there. Yeah.

Vongai: And sometimes it's not immediate that sometimes you realize years later that if you hadn’t followed the clue then the domino effect to this point wouldn’t have happened.

Joe: Exactly, exactly yeah.

Vongai: Well, what is your hope for the film industry in Zimbabwe? And how do you think that we can encourage our community to be a bit more supportive of our endeavors and the creation of art? Aside from financial.

Joe: Haha I hate that point. It's a very good question. For me, first and foremost, I don't even like calling us an industry here. You know. I see I see it as a film community that's trying to become an industry, you know. And I feel like if we all sort of look at it like that, and then it would, in a way put us in a mode of understanding that we're still building still creating an industry rather than because you have players here that feel like it’s an industry and they'll make something and think like, it's the best thing since sliced bread. And you’re thinking not really. We're still going, we're still building, we’re still learning. And just the eagerness to collaborate of even amongst us as players in the sector to understand that film is a collaborative process. So here in Zimbabwe, it a lot of one man banding, you know, where, where people feel like it's a competition that I have to compete and make something better than Joe. But I feel like that's like the wrong way of looking at it. And a lot of the times like, I'll tell you a funny story. So this one time, we had just finished a shoot, and I think I'd like a week to kill sounds like Oh, let me see if I can engage the community, find out who's shooting. And I saw some guys that were shooting on Facebook, right. And I knew the director and the producer. So I hit them up. Hey, ‘Vongai’, I see you guys are working on a project, where are you shooting? Can I pop in? And you know what they said to me? And they were like, No, you are our competition, so you can’t come to our set.

Vongai: [gasps] Aaaah!

Joe: And I'm like, I'm your competition? What are we competing for? I'm not in any competition. I didn't know I was in a competition. And and what was said about it like was then they invited me to, to this premiere for that film that they were shooting, right. And I remember sitting there with one of my good friends Eric Witzgall who is part of the guys at MMX. And we're sitting in there, and then Eric is going, “Why didn't they come to us? I would have given them stuff”. Because the sound was horrible, almost like camera sound and then after the screening, so they're coming to me like, oh, what did you think? And bluntly, I just said the sound was horrible, right? And he looks at me. And I'm like, if I'd come to your set on that day, you were shooting I've got so much sound gear that's even sitting in the office right now, I could have given you some stuff to use for sound. And this would have been better, rather than asking me what do I think at your premiere. So it's that whole element of people. Every, every project, right. It's unique, it's new. I'm not gonna copy your project your project, people need to understand that we can, Alone, you're not going to go far but if ‘Hanzi chare chimwe hachitswanyu inda’ in Shona.You know, if we come together, we can push further. So for me, before we can even try and get the community and all the other people to come in believe in us or our sisters. I feel like isusu ourselves. We need to lead by example first, then the other people will follow.

Vongai: Yes because one person's light doesn't take away from your light.

Joe: Exactly.

Vongai: We shine brighter together y’all.

Joe: Yeah, exactly.

Vongai: How have you been able to keep going? When times are hard and you feel like giving up? And how are you able to sustain when you don't have a project to work on? Or like you don't have the capital to then work on a project? Joe: Mm hmm. That's, that's interesting. So there’s this-

Vongai: We need some practical stuff for the listeners.

Joe: Yeah. So as an artist, right, that's like one of the hardest careers to survive as an artist because, like, it can take time to pay off, right? And I've learned, I've learned that, like I was saying to you, this is like my 16th year as a filmmaker. And this is all I do. I don't go to work. I don't work for anyone some where. I don't have piece jobs, you know, that I do on the side? All I do is like wake up, eat, breathe film, right? So one thing I learned, actually is, as an artist, you have to find something that you do, either on the side, too. I call it to pay for the time for you to dream, right. Like so for me, I've been fortunate enough that that other that side hustle is still within the industry because I'm a freelance DP (director of photography). So it's like I get a lot of work. I guess hired gun as a DP, as a director, you know. So I made efforts to, to learn trades, because I'm a director, writer, but now I can wear a producer hat. I studied cinematography, as a way to say you know what, this is something that cause you don't always get jobs to produce, but I can get jobs to DP. So that's what pays the bills for me, to be honest.The jobs that I'm hired for is a DP. And fortunate enough, like, over time, we've been lucky, where we get a lot of these outside jobs. Like, I shoot a lot of stuff for CNN for BBC, for Apple, you know. So that's the stuff that pays for my time to dream. So you can do a bunch of jobs, and then get enough money to say, Okay, I'm good for the whole year, I'll be fine. I can dream.

Vongai: And do you have any resources that you'd like to share for people who may be super excited about getting into filmmaking? Or the community here in Zimbabwe, or just the industry outside of Zimbabwe? But they're not sure where to start? Where, aside from like, doing the thing? Like, what would you encourage them to go to? Are there any books, websites, podcasts, whatever, or like even communities here in Zimbabwe, they can check out.

Joe: I think, I think right now, it's actually very different from when we started dreaming and wanting to be filmmakers. Right now, I think like, if you have an excuse, then you shouldn't even try to be because.

Vongai: You don't want it enough.

Joe: Exactly. Because like if, like, I've been watching, I watch these masterclasses a lot. Like, they’re online. Well, some of them you pay, some of them are free. But right now with YouTube, you could be a production designer, like you can learn all you want to know about production design, about cinematography, about directing. So with the way the internet has sprouted, now, there is no excuse, like no excuse. It’s different from when we started, I would read a lot of books. Like physical books, right. But now, you could just be listening to a podcast.

Vongai: this one.

Joe: [laughs] Yes. So I encourage people to, to find out as much as they can about whatever trade they're interested in. But the big challenge when you're starting out in film is that you have not a lot of people just be like, I'm on a being film. But then you're like, Okay, what do you want to do in film? Because so the big challenge is finding out which department, which specialization do I want to to fall under? So the best thing I would say is to, to learn as much as you can about the different departments and then find out okay, where do I fit in, which do I want, because everyone wants to be the director, everyone wants to be the producer, you know, but for you to get to that level, you pretty much have to come from the bottom, like you have to know what goes on for you to run a production to be a producer, you have to know each and every department from level to level.

Vongai: Yeah be the production assistant.

Joe: Work your way up.

Vongai: That way when you're on the set, you know, how things are working. And who to go to for different things.

Joe: I always love to tell the story of all the time I was staying in Cape Town and making coffee. Like we're on this production where I would make 45 cups of coffee and tea. And I would have to remember, like they just told me once like, oh, one sugar, no tea, no milk etc. And I remember this one time, I messed up the DP’s coffee. And he was this big white Afrikaaner dude. So he grabbed, I give him his coffee, he takes it, he drinks it. And he throws the cup at the wall. And he's like, who made the shit.

Vongai: And this is the stuff that I don't endorse in the industry. That is abuse.

Joe: [laughs] I was so scared. And I remember the AD just came and like [whispers] Go make another cup of coffee. And I walked away. And that's like learning the ropes. It’s like appreciating the craft appreciating all the stages. And now we pretty much have a disadvantage. I like to call it a disadvantage where it's kind of, you know, like with the emerging of like. So like cameras are now cheap. It's not like back in the day where you can’t just get a camera to shoot the film. Now you can get a DSLR, you can shoot with your phone. So there's not much gatekeeping if I can call it that, where anyone can just wake up and be like, Oh, I'm a film director or I'm a film producer.

Vongai: Yeah web series were the beginning of like new media and people thought Netflix was a webseries.

Joe: Exactly. So the true art form of filmmaking we're losing it where people don't respect their craft anymore. You know, and there's only a few people that like. It's like here like when I'm working on a project. A lot of people say, they actually say “Oh Joe is Hollywood” right? But I'm like what do you mean I'm Hollywood? It’s how it’s done. [laughter] I always laugh it off. “The way you do it, is Hollywood”. Like I had some guy come we were shooting a scene at Chikurubwi. He’s like “all these people, what are they doing” ah you’re Hollywood. Me we just shoot the two, three of us. But it's like-

Vongai: [laugh] guerilla filmmaking.

Joe: Because there's a difference between thinking you're breaking a rule, if you don't know it, you're just ignorant. Like, you have to know something, how it's done first, then you can say, Okay, I can do it like this and break it, because I already know the rule. So so I'm a big believer, like, I call myself a student of the game, I'm still learning. And I will continue to learn.

Vongai: Yes forever learning. I'm the same way as a performer as well. So if there was like one YouTube channel, or one book or one website, or whatever resource that you would say, this is the one to go to, it is a must checkout. Or even a documents.

Joe: So for years I've been on Film Contact, I don't know if you know it.

Vongai: No I don’t

Joe: For years. FilmContact.com. So they like post what's happening, like, classes, workshops, and all that. And it's really, really helpful. One of my best documentaries you mentioned, as a filmmaker is Side by Side. I don’t know if you've seen it.

Vongai: Have not.

Joe: It's amazing. It's, it's almost like on the death of film. It's like film versus digital. And then it is narrated by Keanu Reeves. And it's got all these big directors talking about the emergence of like, how digital is taking over film and the effects of that on the industry. And it's really amazing. Like, that's something I would recommend people to watch and get like, it's almost like a free insight into the world of film.

Vongai: That’s dope. Everyone, go check out FilmConnect, even if you're not in the industry. If you're curious, check it out. And check out that documentary Side by Side. Okay, Joe, are you ready for our lightning round?

Joe: Let's do it.

Vongai: First question. Zodiac sign,

Joe: Libra.

Vongai: Aha, I'm a Capricorn. Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Joe: Both?

Vongai: Okay. What was your favorite movie from this past year or award season?

Joe: This past year? [thinking]

Vongai: Yeah. My favorite movie of 2020 was Tigertail directed by Alan Yang. And I always mention this to people and not enough people have seen it. And I'm like, You don't understand. It's so good.

Joe: I have not seen that one.

Vongai: Gotta check it out.

Joe: I watch. I watch a lot. I'm trying to think what did I enjoy. 

Vongai: Oh, I watch a lot we could compete.

Joe: I'll get back to you on that.

Vongai: Okay, do you have like a favorite holiday? And by that I mean like Christmas. Halloween? Valentine's Day is not a real holiday. But you know.

Joe: New Year.

Vongai: Sweet. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Joe:  Oh my god, read people's minds.

Vongai: Awesome. Mine is telepathy. But then I came up with a new one with Munya Chanetsa. I'm trying to remember what it was. Oh, it was like if a song was playing, I would instantly know what it was. Especially because songs are sampled so much that I have moments where I'm listening to a song like I was listening to a song from like Motown. I forget what it was called.

Joe: Like a Shazam brain.

Vongai: Yeah, but like I heard something. And I was like, humming the thing because I was like, I've heard this and something and I realized I'd heard it in like Kelly Rowland's Crown. Like I hear samples all the time. And I'm like, this was sampled from this song, which was sampled from another song anyway. I'd love that to be my superpower. Okay, do you have a favorite superhero? Or like, universe. DC, Marvel all the things? I’m a Marvel girl. I've actually been rewatching the film.

Joe: I think, yeah, I'm Marvel. My son is DC. We always fight over that. Yeah.

Vongai: Have you managed to see Loki by the way?

Joe:  The series? My son has finished it. But I've started.

Vongai: It left a hole a hole in my heart.

Joe: Really?

Vongai: Yeah, the finale, like the last couple of minutes of the finale left me shook because it changes everything. So I was like, let me start all the movies again in timeline order. So I have all the facts straight. Gamechanging. Do you have a favorite film or TV director that you're like, Yo, I love these dude's films? I could watch them again and again. Mine’s Scorsese

Joe: Clint Eastwood. I was actually watching The Mule in the morning with Bradley Cooper, so you haven't seen that amazing. It's nice. I didn't even know it was a Netflix. Because I'd been looking for it. I'm scrolling. I'm like, Oh, it's there. Yeah. That's nice.

Vongai: Okay, I'm gonna check it out what once once we're done with this. So my mom apparently met Clint Eastwood. Because she used to work for national parks, and she was she apparently she used to get calls when people would location scout for movies in Zimbabwe, which I didn't know what the thing was a thing. And yeah, my mom was telling me all the time, like, excuse me, we had an industry. And so she said she met Clint Eastwood and I forget what the movie was that they were working on. But then she got my uncle who since passed. He was an extra in the movie, so I guess he was first actor in our family.

Joe: It was shot here in Zim?

Vongai: Yeah, they were at Victoria Falls.

Joe: Oh, wow.

Vongai: Yeah, what when I look it up, I'll text it to you.

Joe: I think I’ve heard about it. Because I know. I don't know if you know Stephen Chigorimbo, he’s an actor.

Vongai: Yes. He played the dad in Studio 263.  LEGEND

Joe: John Huni in Studio 263. He keeps talking. The film you’re talking about isn't it something lion? With the Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in it?

Vongai: I forget this up.

Joe: That could be the film.

Vongai: Yeah. Can we bring more production back to Zimbabwe? Like there are lots of like Hollywood projects filming in South Africa. Just come next door we’re cheaper. We have the scenery.

Joe: Okay soon. It’s all in time.

Vongai: Okay, soon soon. Favorite Zimbabwe musician.

Joe: My favorite Zimbabwean musician. It could be a band, right?

Vongai: Yes.

Joe: Mokoomba.

Vongai: Cool. And we listened to them earlier. So Joe put me on and I'm learning. Apparently, they performed at the Apollo and I'm a Harlem girl. So I now know. Your favorite Zimbabwean childhood snack?

Joe: Mmm corn curls.

Vongai: No say what you were gonna say about the band?

Joe: They've actually they've actually opened for Nas.

Vongai: See, he's putting us on.

Joe: They should be should be on ZimExcellence.

Vongai: Ama figure, I’ll have to do some digging. Okay, so your fav Zim childhood snack is Corn Curls. Are you ready for the most controversial question of them all?

Joe: Wow. Bring it on.

Vongai: Mazoe orange vs Mazoe green.

Joe: Okay, so I'm gonna say something very controversial. Again as an answer. So mazoe orange used to be the best drink in the world until I don't know who they are company forced them to change the formula, the recipe or something. And now it's wack. So green will win. [laughter]

Vongai: Hanzi cream soda.

Joe: Cream soda wins.

Vongai: Okay. The next is a power statement which you fill out it starts. I am Zim excellence because blank.

Joe: I am Zimexcellence because I'm positively pushing narratives that excel Zimbabwe.

Vongai:  Love it. Love it. If you could nominate someone for the award of ZimExcellence, who would it be.

Joe: And the award for ZimExcellence goes to my boy Tongayi Chirisa.

Vongai: You are the second person to nominate him, which means he has to come now. Joe: He has to.

Vongai: He has to come. He’s been nominated by you and Sibongile and I want him on. And he's dope. Tongayi Chirisa, you've officially been nominated for the award of ZimExcellence, by Joe Njagu…and this is your second time being nominated.

Joe: Yeah and now he has to come.

Vongai: Yeah, you gotta pick up a girl's text messages when you have time, because he's booked and busy. So if you could nominate someone to come on this show, although you've kind of answered that.

Joe: Mokoomba should come on this show.

Vongai: I have to do some homework

Joe: I’ll hook you up with the manager to arrange.

Vongai: dope.org I live for this. Yeah, we gon sort it out I'm gonna go on. The podcast is gonna go on a mini hiatus. And I'm gonna make sure I have all my ducks in a row. And I have all my recommendations lined up. But we’re gonna this done. Joe, absolute pleasure. As we wrap up, I would love it if you could share a message with our listeners, as well as letting them know where they can continue to follow your journey. Oh, and also, if there's a place where we can stream or rent your movies. And if they're going to be available on Apple, Amazon, all of the things like you know to rent, we tryna to put some coins your way, you know, put money back into this Zim community. Take it away, Joe. 

Joe: Well, first, I'd like to thank each and every person that have taken the time to listen to me and one Vongai, you know, thank you so much. Respect. And to follow up on what I'm doing, I have a website, www.joenjagufilms.com. I'm on social media, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter as Joe Njagu on all of them. Our works, you can find our work, you can watch some of our films on Netflix. Can buy or rent on iTunes and Apple. And also we have PlayAfrika, which is our own run by Nico Abote from Canada. He’s a Zimbabwean, he’s another one pushing for ZimExcellence you know. So, yeah, and thank you so much for the support that you guys have been giving us throughout. Really appreciate it. Please keep supporting us. And love guys. 

Vongai: Joe, absolute pleasure. Thank you so much. We're gonna make sure that all of the social media links, the resources mentioned, websites, all the good stuff is down in the show notes. Thank you. Thank you for your time. I love your energy. We are on the same wavelength. I'd love to have you back again when the time aligns. And yeah, just have the best day. 

Changing Perceptions Through Film
Joe's Hope For Zimbabwean Film
Film Biz Resources
Words of Encouragement